It’s been nearly 8 years since Dragon Quest X’s release on the Wii in 2012 and at the time of this writing, it still has not been released in English here in the west, Europe, or any other English speaking country.
The biggest question we’ve been asking for the past 8 years is: Will it ever come out in English?
In order to understand why DQX hasn’t been released yet, we have to go back all the way to the original Dragon Warrior releases on the NES and what the RPG market in the USA was like in the 80’s-90’s. Even though all 4 of the original Dragon Quest Famicom games came out here in the USA as Dragon Warrior, they sold well, but weren’t exactly doing big numbers like Mario and Zelda. As a kid, I thought the RPG market was huge since I was huge fan of the genre, but it wasn’t until I started using the internet in my teen years that I realized RPGs didn’t really become big here until the release of Final Fantasy VII in 1997. Even producers at Sqaure-Enix were wondering why Final Fantasy VI sold millions in Japan and barely 6 figures in the USA.
We never got Dragon Warrior V and VI on the Super Nintendo, but we were able to get the Gameboy ports of Dragon Warrior I-III and the Monsters games here thanks to Eidos (now owned by Square-Enix). The games sold well, but couldn’t compare to the massive juggernaut of Final Fantasy. In 2005, we finally got Dragon Quest VIII, the first game to finally be titled “Dragon Quest” in the USA after the TSR Dragon Quest trademark ran out. We were able to get the DS ports of IV, V, VI, IX, Rocket Slime (Slime Mori Mori 2) and much more since then.
Now that we have up to 11 titles in the main series….. where is X?
Despite all the multiple Dragon Quest games that have come out since DQVIII in 2005, the series still hasn’t really hit it’s stride here in the west. Especially with competition like Final Fantasy, Persona, and many more RPG series. Enix (before the Square-Soft merger) has always had trouble marketing the series here properly in the USA due to the lack of interest in the RPG market in the 80’s-90’s. Nintendo took care of all the publishing and marketing for DQXIS and both of the Builders games on the switch rather than Square-Enix themselves. Does this mean Square-Enix doesn’t care about the DQ franchise? Or have they put more of their marketing money into the Final Fantasy VII Remake? Back when Reggie Fis-Aime was the President of Nintendo of America, he was one of the major reasons why we got the DQ DS remakes here in the USA since he has always been a major DQ fan. It seems like Nintendo knows how to market the DQ series in the USA far better than Square-Enix.
MMORPG’s are an incredibly hard sell here in the USA. Most people are usually reluctant to pay a monthly fee to play anything. I remember when Everquest and Final Fantasy XI were new, I was a poor college student and didn’t have the money to pay a monthly fee which is the reason why Guild Wars appealed to me more. I know a ton of my friends got into World of Warcraft back in the day, but it never really appealed to me even though I’m a massive fan of the first 3 Warcraft games. Now that I’m a working adult, my time is severely limited to play games and back then, I didn’t want to dedicate all my time to playing one game until DQX changed my mind. Sadly, I was the demographic of most gamers here in the USA: Play whatever’s new and move onto the next game.
Also, from what I heard, the Final Fantasy XIV debacle (before it was re-branded as A Realm Reborn) was one of the reasons why Square-Enix was so hesitant to bring DQX here in the west. The first iteration of FFXIV was an absolute disaster when it was released in 2010 (2 years before DQX’s release) and it kinda made sense why the top brass at Square-Enix was too afraid to release an MMORPG here in the west after that debacle.
However, Final Fantasy XIV rebounded quite heavily after it’s “A Realm Reborn” re-branding. Could the same happen for DQX now?
For years, the producers at Square-Enix have been interested in bringing an “offline” version of DQX to the west. After playing it for over 300+ hours, I definitely say it can work, but they would have to do major tweaking to make it a single player only experience. I know the sales of DQXIS have been great, so I have no doubt that an offline DQX can sell well so English speaking fans can finally fill in that gap in their collection. *BUT*, fans will realize *very* quickly and complain that they won’t be able to play with their friends like people playing the Japanese version. I have to admit that playing with others is the *best* part of DQX and if an offline version would be released, it would just be another DQ game. That’s not a bad thing since the stories of DQX are amazing in their own right and will definitely tug at your heartstrings. With DQXII and other projects in development, along with the age of DQX, it may not make sense for Square-Enix to allocate their resources in tweaking DQX to be an offline experience if they aren’t going to make a huge return on it. Like I said before, even though DQXIS sold well here in the USA (thanks to Nintendo’s marketing), the series is still nowhere near as popular as it should be.
In order to make an offline DQX work, many of the special events would have to be locked away in the game data and accessible on certain days (Easter, Fishing, Halloween, etc events). The landscape would be barren with only monsters and no other players wandering around. Certain bosses would have to be tweaked (group superboss fights) or removed entirely. PvP battles in the colosseum and group battles would also have to be removed. My biggest fear with an offline version would probably be the tweaking or the outright removal of the bazaar system which I use to find weapons, items, and crafting materials with ease rather than spending hours on the field looking for them. I heavily depend on the bazaar to make money as I feel it’s the quickest and most efficient way to earn money in the game. Housing could still work in some capacity in an offline version, but it would be kinda awkward not having any neighbors in your area. Removing the online web store would also suck as I used it to buy my car for driving, furniture for my house, and many other things. The DQX web store isn’t exactly a requirement for the game, but it’s nice to spend some real money on things for my house and more. The entire DQX economy would have to be changed in an offline version and certain things would have to be removed to make it work. Fans have been attempting to make English fan patches for years, but the game is always constantly changing with each update and expansion that it’s near impossible to do so. Dragon Quest fans are some of the most passionate gamers on the planet and many English players like me have taken the leap into playing the game, even if it’s not in our language.
The majority of DQX Japanese and USA players have been incredibly nice and polite to me (although I’m sure there are a few bad eggs). If the full online DQX experience is brought here to the USA, then we’re gonna have to deal with the USA player base which I’ve heard mixed things about from other games like Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft. I still have haunting memories of the guy who called me “nooblet” in Guild Wars and I remember going into certain towns and seeing people talk in ghetto speak with their caps lock on. I know *not* all players are like that, but the USA player base for MMORPGs can be a bit more aggressive than others.
In my opinion, I think Nintendo should handle the release of an English DQX as they’ve done a great job marketing DQXIS and both of the Builders games on the Switch, making DQX a Nintendo Exclusive for a year or so. If the base game sells well, then they can start releasing the expansions one by one every year, bringing in new life to the series after people have completed all of them in Japan. It could even tide English speaking players over until the eventual release of DQXII.
Should DQX be released as an on or offline version? Should we be satisfied with an offline only version?
While DQX is still a DQ game at it’s core that you can play with others, it’s *far* more than that. It’s an experience, a lifestyle, and part of *yourself* that you can share with other players. Just like DQIX, DQX lets you fully customize your character, but with even more options to make it a near perfect DQ avatar of yourself. Your own personality shines through your character and gameplay style in DQX as you have the freedom to do the main story, side quests, events, and so much more you can only experience with other players. I’ve made so many great friends and had so many wonderful experiences playing DQX with others, so I don’t think English players should be denied all that.
So, no. I don’t want an offline only version. I want the game to come out in English with all of the privileges that Japanese version has. The most powerful part of DQX is that it’s an experience you can truly share with others. As of now, Square-Enix says DQX may come out in English if there’s enough demand. Well, I think there’s plenty of demand among the DQ community. Many of us who don’t even know a lick of Japanese have imported the game just to have it in our collections. I’m sure we’ll all be glad to re-purchase it again if an English version comes out.
Like I said before in a previous post, never say never as Phantasy Star 2 Online, also released in 2012 has now come out in the USA, 8 years after it’s initial release and for FREE. Maybe we can get the same DQX trial here in English of the first 2 parts and pay for the rest? I’ll gladly pay full price even if the first part is only released here at first and the expansions coming later. Even though I already put over 300 hours in the Japanese version of DQX, I will gladly do that all over again in English. The only thing we *can* do right now is tell Square-Enix we *want* this game in English and to continue buying every DQ game that comes out. Sales for DQXIS have been great, so encourage your friends to buy it so we get more DQ games!
Dragon Quest X is an amazing experience that needs to be shared with others and when it finally comes out in English, you bet I’ll be starting over again and playing with the rest of you.