Stellar reviews alone are not enough.
In Japan, Dragon Quest is a franchise like no other. When a new main entry in the series is released, it is a guarantee that millions of copies sell on the first day, as even people who don’t play video games play Dragon Quest. The phenomenon of Dragon Quest in Japan is a legend that even many Western gamers are familiar with, and that legend continues to live on to this day with last year’s Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age.
Dragon Quest XI finally saw a release on PS4 and Steam in North America and Europe this month. But if Western fans want to enjoy future iterations as well, the game needs to sell.
The past has indeed showed us that there is no guarantee a main entry in the Dragon Quest series will leave its home territory. While the first four games did see a North American release, 5 and 6 were Japan exclusives until the DS remakes finally made these classics available worldwide. In Europe, 8 and 9 are the only numbered Dragon Quest titles that got a release on their original systems.The MMORPG Dragon Quest X is still going strong in Japan 7 years after release, but was never released in the West.
Dragon Quest XI has been receiving stellar reviews in the West, including an 8.8 score on Tech. Square Enix has not announced sales figures outside of Japan at the time of writing. In Japan, the game’s PS4 and 3DS editions sold over 2 million copies combined within the first two days of release.
Esra Krabbe is an editor at Tech Japan. He dreams that someday Dragon Quest will become just as big in the West.