The Dragon Quest VII remake for 3DS is out now in Japan, so it seemed only right for Nintendo President Satoru Iwata to interview a few of the people involved with the making of the game in his Iwata Asks series.
In the interview, helpfully translated by Siliconera, the series creator Yuuji Horii spoke about how Dragon Quest VII first came about. The game was first released in 2000 on the PlayStation and it represented the first time the series had made the leap from cartridge to disc. This of course meant the developers were given a lot more space to work with, and Horii was becoming buried under all the ideas given to him by staff at the studio.
In the end Horii decided that instead of packing the game with the same typical Dragon Quest style gameplay, he would instead do things differently. He revealed that at the time he had thought players had grown tired of the old formula and decided to draw upon MYST, a point and click adventure released in 1993, adding more puzzle-solving sections to the new game.
MYST had the player spending plenty of hours exploring their environments, and so too did Dragon Quest VII. This exploration was rewarded with hard-to-find items that would be scattered across the land.
Noriyoshi Fujimoto, producer of the 3DS remake, says this version of Dragon Quest VII is “easy to understand, unambiguous, and comforting”.
Getting lost in the original game was all part of the fun, however the team pointed out the audience has changed a little since then, and therefore minor tweaks needed to be made. Shintarou Majima of ArtePiazza, the developer, felt that the current audience would stop playing as soon as something looked boring or tiresome, leading to the team deciding upon a different approach.
This different approach is subtle, with the same ‘getting lost’ fun still apparent in the game. In addition, however, the developer has added a guide to give the player direction as they play; for example the game records all your progress and should your mind wander it’ll even remind you where to go. This modification will enable newer players to get to grips with the game more easily, while fans of the original will still be able to lose themselves in the vast worlds.
Sachiko Sugimura, of Artepiazza, believes that Dragon Quest VII is well suited for a portable system like the 3DS because the extensive plot is written like a series of short stories. She feels that because of this the player can enjoy playing the game in short bursts of time as they see fit.
The team also delved into how StreetPass would be incorporated into the title. Immigrant Town is a town that changes depending on which recruited characters live there; in the original game immigrants could be traded between memory cards — remember those? — but for the 3DS version it’s done automatically using StreetPass. This should lead to your town being an ever-changing village of new recruits.
The job system has been tweaked as well; in the 3DS version you can change jobs should you choose to, but you can only do one job. This has been done to stop players being able to carry skills over from previous jobs, essentially removing all point of choosing a role in the first place. Fujimoto said that this modification had resulted from the many comments from people who had played the original game.
This seemed to be the theme of everything the developer has done with Dragon Quest VII on the 3DS. Feedback has been taken from the original game and has been carefully looked at; it appears that most of the changes have come about thanks to feedback gained from players of the original title.
There's no news yet on a release outside of Japan, but you can be sure we'll keep you posted.
Have you played Dragon Quest VII before, or would the 3DS remake be a new experience for you? Are you hoping to get hold of this one? Let us know in the comments below.