Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 puts large slimes and even bigger bosses under your control. In this interview with Taichi Inuzuka we talk about the different kinds of monsters you can catch and train as a scout and what could help boost the popularity of tag mode in the West.
Dragon Quest games are known for having light hearted stories. How do you create a story that’s engaging enough to get players curious enough to continue, but not make it feel urgent or serious at the same time?
Taichi Inuzuka, Producer: All of the stories are created under the supervision of Yuji Horii, so in the end, it’s just a matter of his instincts, but I think the trick is that he always thinks about the story from the perspective of the player.
Giant monsters like Bjorn are a neat addition to Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2. What inspired you to add these to the game?
We decided that giant monsters would definitely be more impressive, so the first thing we decided on was to include giant monsters. We knew we had something right then and there.
We decided to add player vs. player online battles because of the strong demand for them from DQMJ1 players and because adding them would enable players to enjoy the game longer. The thing that made adding this feature difficult was the amount of time we had to spend checking it during development. Checking communication features during development is rough.
What combination of monsters do you like to play with online? Have you seen any neat battle strategies from team members?
I’m actually not that good at battles. I know all the stats, but that knowledge seems to rob me of creativity. The same is true of the other team members. In the end, we’re no match for the players.
With over 300 different monsters it must have been tough to make all of the monsters feel unique and useful. But, in Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 even enemies that look the same say the Mimic and Cannibox have different abilities. How did you approach this challenge?
Dealing with so many monsters is indeed tough, but putting unique qualities into their data is actually not that difficult. Akira Toriyama’s designs are so good that we know how we should configure a monster’s data just by looking at it.
Since Dragon Quest IX made the popularity of tag mode explode in Japan, how do you think you can achieve the same success for that style of gameplay in North America and Europe?
It certainly won’t be easy in expansive countries. Japan is small, so it’s easy for circumstances to arise in which a number of people pass by each other, but that’s not the case in bigger countries. The situation would change if a country had DS Stations serving as tag mode relays all over the place.