In addition to the talk about having made a part of Dragon Quest III on PS4, Square Enix shared more about Dragon Quest XI, including their tough decision to not include voice acting. [Thanks, Ryokutya2089.]
The decision on what to do with voicing was a big debate over at Square Enix, with staff opinion splits between both sides. In the end, they decided to preserve Dragon Quest’s style up until now, and opted for no voice acting.
While it might seem like a foreign concept for those of us in the West that got Dragon Quest VIII voiced in its PS2 release, the original game wasn’t voiced in the Japanese version, and Japan only got the voiced game in the 3DS remake. Having a silent protagonist and a non-voiced cast is actually the norm in Japan, but it looks like Square Enix struggled between going with a more modern approach or sticking with tradition.
If they went with the voice acting option, Square Enix says that it would’ve taken a lot longer to record all the voices, and that would’ve also meant that the script would’ve needed to be completed earlier. Additionally, it would’ve made things difficult to make any changes later on in the development.
Series creator Yuji Horii also had a focus on wanting to see through the story until the very end. He also did a lot of fine-tuning details of the script until the very very end. With the significance of this in mind, they decided to not include any voice acting into Dragon Quest XI.
The interview also mentions some talk from Horii about the protagonist’s emotional display. Since the protagonist is basically the player, Horii made the instruction to avoid showing expressions such as “anger” as much as possible. When the protagonist actually does get mad, you’ll see it in his body language and also in the movement of his eyes.
Other notes from the interview reveals that you’ll get to remove the protagonist from the party. There’s also a little something waiting for players who connect online after beating the game. While it isn’t any kind of online play, it may have a little surprise for the fans.
Dragon Quest XI releases in Japan on July 29, 2017 for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo 3DS. The game is also in development for Nintendo Switch.