Dragon Quest XI has features you’d often see in open-world games with its vast fields, camping, and mounts. The game’s designer, writer, and series creator Yuji Horii said in an interview that Square Enix originally considered making Dragon Quest XI an open-world game, kind of like
During the interview, Yuji Horii talked about the idea of Dragon Quest XI started from his desire to make a Dragon Quest game that told a time-themed story, and something that can make the players feel the 30 years of the Dragon Quest series’ history.
Yuji Horii: “Well, at first we thought about taking on the very first challenge [for the Dragon Quest series] of an open-world title.”
Huh! An open-world game. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild saw great success with the very same challenge, but to think that Dragon Quest had the same idea.
Yuji Horii: Ahh, the new Zelda game was fun. Of the games I’ve been hooked to in recent years, it would be that and Candy Crush Saga [laughs].
However, after thinking about it as a turning point that is the 30th anniversary for Dragon Quest, we decided that because the stories we make are linear to a degree, we could deviate to an extent with a taste of some open-world gameplay.
While open-world games offer plenty of freedom, they are a double-edged sword. It may be difficult for some players to know what they need to do next. And I also I believe that it is difficult to create a flow for a big story in a world that lets you go just about anywhere from the start.
As expected of the man who enlightened Japanese gamers with a kind RPG told with a linear story. Before Dragon Quest was an era with games such as Wizardry and Ultima, RPGs that were difficult for beginners to jump into.
Yuji Horii: Yes, when I first made Dragon Quest, I thought about making an RPG that uses a story as a rail, a ‘rail that provides assurance so that you can take as many detours as you want.’
I’ve been playing RPGs since the earlier years, and I’ve always thought ‘what a fun system!’ on one hand but unfortunately ‘we’re not provided with the game’s objective, so it must be difficult for new players…’ on the other. So that’s when I thought ‘how about making a story that is told on a single rail.’ That would end up becoming the very first Dragon Quest.
But you know, that rail is ‘just there’ because that’s where it belongs. If you feel like going away from it, then it is okay to go away from it. If you ever think ‘I wonder what’s over there?’ then feel free to distance yourself from the rail as much as you’d like.
Dragon Quest XI is available in Japan for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo 3DS. The game releases in the West in 2018. A release has yet to be announced for the Nintendo Switch version.