Why Square Enix Used Unity For Dragon Quest VIII On Smartphones

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Square Enix previously talked about their mobile port of Dragon Quest VIII and how it uses the popular Unity engine, which the Japanese have recently been utilizing for various projects. Square Enix talked more about the game at the recent Unite Japan 2014 event.


Data conversion and user interface were among some of the hurdles Square Enix faced when they decided to port Dragon Quest VIII to smartphones, but one of the biggest issues involved programming language. According to technical director Keisuke Hata, most console games used programming languages of C and C++, while Unity on the other hand, uses C# and JavaScript, so it was crucial to know whether they could convert the coding with little difficulty.


While they did run into a few problems, in the end, they were able to work things out and decided to go with Unity. One of the main reasons for this was because of Unity being a cross-platform game engine.


“If we were to side with either one of iOS or Android, then we’d only have about half the players,” said Hata, as he explained that smartphone games should always be compatible to both operating systems.


Hata also mentions that when games require a certain amount of storage and performance, especially when they’re ports of a console game, things can get trickier. According to Hata, they had to reduce the amount of data to make it possible, which they did by lowering it down to 1.3gb for Dragon Quest VIII. Things did work out for the game, but the installation of it is another story, as it requires twice the amount of space on a smartphone device.


This was one of the biggest challenges for them to work out for the mobile port of the game.


While many may think that with today’s smartphone technology, it shouldn’t be a problem to convert PlayStation 2 era games to mobile devices, Square Enix emphasized with Dragon Quest VIII’s port that it’s not always as simple as it may seem.


So, is Unity an ideal game engine for developers to port older games to smartphone devices? Hata says that it depends on the type of game you’re looking at.

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Gamer, avid hockey fan, and firm believer in the heart of the cards.