News Article

Matters Of Import: A Peek Into The Tragically Unobtainable World Of Dragon Quest X

Posted by Kerry Brunskill

Taking the quest online

In an utterly baffling move, Dragon Quest X — the most recent game in the iconic RPG series — is not only import-only but also IP blocked, meaning the game will refuse to work for all legitimate users trying to play from outside Japan. Luckily, there are ways to get your foreign internet connection to disguise itself with a funny moustache and glasses and fool the servers, but they’re almost always either expensive or unreliable. Those times when the stars align — Square Enix doesn't ask you to change your password due to “suspicious activity” and you don’t find yourself disconnected when you sneeze — reveal tantalising glimpses of a game that really does deserve a worldwide release.

You start by picking a pair of siblings and customising them from a set of typical appearance options, then your adventure begins…offline. This initial section not only sets up the story but works as a handy tutorial area, allowing new players to get the hang of the controls and basic gameplay functions without hardcore players running around and slaughtering all the local wildlife before you've even seen your first Slime. The first sister or brother becomes your offline character, with the second used for online play.

Battles work surprisingly well – enemies are seen roaming around and will chase you if they’re aggressive, with battles starting proper once they make contact with you. Other enemies around you then become translucent and do not attack or engage unless you either win or run away, which is a nice way of giving you some personal battle space without whisking you away from everyone else. Fighting is semi-real time; much like Final Fantasy’s classic Active Time Battle system, if the ATB gauge was hidden from view. Your offline character is a jack-of-all-trades while your online character has to pick a specialisation from several RPG stereotypes – priests, thieves, warriors and so on.

Your online character also has a rather unique intro, too – no matter what course of action you take, the first thing they do in the exciting new world they find themselves in is die! Well, kinda die – what actually happens is that their human spirit finds itself in the body of someone who looks exactly like the exotic online character you create once you've completed the first part of the offline quest. The options here are very much the same as before, the main difference being that you need to choose a character from one of the five races in this new land: Ogre, Puklipo, Weddie, Elf and Dwarf. Each has their own natural preferences to fighting or magical arts, but there are no hard race/class restrictions.

The remarkable thing is that even in an MMO setting this is very much Dragon Quest as usual, and with the majority of players communicating using the pre-set chat list it could almost feel like the next regular outing if it wasn't for that pesky subscription fee.

There are often games that deserve translation that never receive it, and the reason is often down to the cost and effort required to localise the game versus the potential rewards. MMOs are even more expensive than these regular titles, requiring dedicated in-game moderators and a whole host of retained staff to do everything from server updates to bug fixes and new quest design…but this is Square Enix were talking about, the company that announced last year that Final Fantasy XI was its most profitable Final Fantasy ever. Keeping this game so aggressively Japan-only is frustrating, and we can only hope that common sense prevails in the future and the title makes the leap to the west in some form or another.

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User Comments (81)



Philip_J_Reed said:

arrrggghh I would kill to get this in NA.

...and thank you, Kerry, for the best opening paragraph I've ever read. Outside of The Great Gastby, anyway.



NintendoLee said:

I want this, I also want the DQVII remake in Europe. That would leave just the first three without a release here.



mozie said:

Was this released on wii u in Japan? I remember the wii version looked great but wonder what the wii u version adds although i imagine the gampad would come in handy, eitherways I doubt we'll see it oversees due to the small wii u userbase, translation costs & monthly fees, shame as it looks great.



b5234 said:

Am I the only one that wishes DQ would have been a bigger hit than FF in the west? UGH



BigH88 said:

I will never understand why they won't bring this to NA. Nintendo never should of shown it at e3. Big tease.



Shiryu said:

...back to Super Famicom's "Dragon Quest VI" for me it is, than. 8|



fchinaski said:

@Shiryu Do you mean DQV? IV was a Famicom/NES game. Anyway, on topic: DQX would make buy a Wii U immediately, and I'm guessing I'm not the only one.



Shiryu said:

This one. It has a fantastic... everything! Yet another DQ game that if had a proper western release would surely expose the franchise to a much broader audience and increase it's popularity. At least the DS re-release made it to America and Europe back in 2011.



ricklongo said:

I'd rather get a brand now offline DQ game (not a huge fan of MMO's), but I'm definitely very surprised this still hasn't made its way to the West.



KillerGBH said:

this game is a HUGE FAILURE why i say that? cause we cant play here , thats kinda dumb . why make such a beautiful game and release it in japan only so bs. specially when Wii U need more RPG games .



fchinaski said:

@Shiryu Oh. VI is fantastic, although I prefer V — for me, it's the most epic storywise. I mean, you follow the hero from BIRTH



fchinaski said:

@Shiryu Please do. It has the best monster catching mechanics of the series, it's an amazingly deep game to sink your teeth into.



ejamer said:

I understand why (from a business perspective) it hasn't been released here. North American gamers don't support Dragon Quest nearly as well as Japanese gamers, and a Nintendo game that requires a monthly subscription is just added risk.

That said, it's really a shame that we haven't seen this game localize. It looks incredible and being able to explore the Dragon Quest world in an MMO would be great fun.



Chi said:

You are wrong, DQ sells millions of copies in EU and NA-Look it up!
I like millions of others was realy looking forward to playing this.
Why Nintendo? You disappoint your biggest fans and supporters who
would be happy to help you rake in more profit if you would only listen!



OutCold said:

I don't know what I wouldn't do to get this game over here! Love DQ and every time I see an article about DQ10 it makes me sad. It looks so amazing yet I know the chance of it ever coming to the states is very very slim.



Darknyht said:

I want Dragon Quest X, but I am not a huge MMO fan so I am sorta okay without this.



fchinaski said:

In fact, you should look it up yourself. Your numbers are based on wishful thinking.
Dragon Quest VI for the DS sold roughly 70.000 units in Europe. DQV fared even worse if I'm not mistaken.



Chi said:

According to Siliconera , Nintendo reported sales of DQ 9 in NA and EU to be over 1 million copies. I guess thar does not cover the costs of those incredibly high paid translators : ( !



fchinaski said:

@Chi As a translator, I'm pretty sure the translators were at the lowest possible end in terms of payment :/

Unfortunately, the DS remakes weren't able to repeat IX's stellar performance, and I was pretty surprised when Nintendo jumped in to distribute VI on the West. But due to low sales again, I can understand why they don't seem interested anymore. It's sad, but understandable. I guess VII for the 3DS would fare better nonetheless, since the 3DS seems to be doing very well thank you around here.



Lord said:

This is another game the wii u desperately needs. I've been barking on about the where abouts of this translation for ages.. And hope that Nintendo leans on a fellow Japanese company to create a western release. Ps if you want to make it easier to translate drop the pre set text chat and introduce voice chat.



fchinaski said:

@Lord Because voice chat is free and needs no maintenance right? This has nothing to do with the translation. Trust me, the translation is the cheapest investment of all elements involved. It's the overall cost of maintaining an online structure for a MMO in a console with a very limited install base (assuming that we would get the Wii U version, since the Wii is pretty much done for) that no one knows if it will flop or not that is the real culprit.



Chi said:

@fchinaski & princess eevee9
I was joking about translation costs, all students in Japan learn Enlish in school and many to p/t translation work at home. The cost is not high.
I believe this game would help WiiU sales, especially a limited edition DQ system with gold embossed Slime King Nintendo is notoriously stubborn about releasing JRPG's to the west and I guess the sales projections must not cover the costs. But their are intangible benifits to releasing games with a loud and passionate fan base, and if anyone at Nintendo is reading this comment section (This means you Regi) we all hope you will reconsider.



originaljohn said:

We should all hit the Dragon Quest Miiverse community page. They listened to people asking for Earth Bound.
I'm actually half expecting Nintendo to announce the western release date for this sometime in 2014 AND Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate WiiU exclusive.... well I can dream right...



TruenoGT said:

This is the first MMO I've actually been interested in, it's too bad it'll probably never come over. I'm hoping Nintendo rescues at least DQVII for the west because the 2014 lineup is looking pretty sparse, but DQX is probably asking too much.



fchinaski said:

@SanderEvers Not necessarily. Nintendo can handle the Western releases if they want to — they've done it before with the DQVI remake for the DS.



TruenoGT said:

@SanderEvers Could be, but Nintendo has done a fair amount of North American Dragon Quest publishing (most if not all the mainline DS games), and of course the original "Dragon Warrior"! It'd be cool if they stepped in to help out.



mjhopkins81 said:

I never thought the day would come when I honest hope that Square-Enix fails as a company. If nothing else, at least this would give someone else the chance to make Dragon Quest without having to kowtow to OTHER AAA titles.



ZyroXZ2 said:

Sooo... Is anyone else hopeful that Sega will greenlight Phantasy Star Online 2 on the Wii U as our "MMO" of sorts? I have REALLY fond days of Phantasy Star Online, both on the Dreamcast AND Gamecube, I would LOVE to have Phantasy Star Online on the Wii U!



Gold said:

The MMO part makes me not want this. But I hated how DQ9 looked when I first saw and now, I love that game. I would still prefer Terry's Wonderland 3D, DQVII3D, or DQM23D.



ToxieDogg said:

I'd love this to get a release, it's pretty much the only online RPG that's ever appealed to me, and I'm a fan of the series anyway (have every Dragon Quest game that's been released in the West). So sad that we may never get an English translation



demonroach said:

This is the reason i bought a Wii U at launch. Epic Fail on Nintendont's behalf. I'm glad I sold my Wii U last month and got a ps4. I'm done with Nintendont's epic fail at translations.



Yanchamaru said:

Dragon Quest X was released on the PC last year and is easier to setup then the Wii or Wii U versions



BinaryFragger said:

Square Enix were on a roll after releasing DQ IV, V, VI and IX for the DS, but now they seem to have abandoned gamers outside of Japan.
Why are we not getting DQ X, DQ VII for the 3DS and DQ Collection for the Wii?



Knux said:

Square Enix has really dropped the ball during this generation, and this is a prime example.



Aqueous said:

You know, first time an mmo, likely could have got my interest, I love IX and VI has been great. I need to get back to III and IV



element187 said:

@Chi Nintendo doesn't make the call about whether a third party game comes to the west, correct? Isn't the ball in Square's court here?



element187 said:

@fchinaski Nintendo doesn't intervene very often. It's not their responsibility to do so. Because they brought over a few 3rd party games to the west it means they should be responsible for this one too?

Sorry, the responsibility rests with square.... Square doesn't think very much of North American Nintendo gamers



Jared1984 said:

Keep it and get to work on a real Dragon Quest. Did they really not make enough money off of Dragon Quest VIII they had to go to handhelds and MMOs?



Windy said:

I was really hoping for this. It would definitely be a reason I bought a Wii-U. I hope it happens it looks excellent. Last I read it was coming to North America on PC. I probably won't go that route but who knows



Chi said:

@element 187
My understanding is Nintendo does have the final say.
Remeber Xenoblade Chronicles? Developed by Monolith Nintendo owners started a campaign to get Nintendo to release it to the west.
I assume that means Nintendo retains control over what games are released for its systems.



TheGZeus said:

Region locks and all other such nonsense are just stupid.
That said, this doesn't affect me personally. I don't see the appeal of MMOs.
I'm always annoyed when the answer to "how do you win" is "you don't".
The whole thing starts to sound like paying money to do things I don't enjoy doing in real life. (repetitive tasks, advancement without penultimate goal, organising people into groups to do the same on a larger scale)



TheGZeus said:

There was a campaign, yes. Nintendo published it in the US, yes.
There have been many games also not published by Nintendo.

I'm just not sure where you're going with this. Nintendo has guidelines, but so does every company that sells games consoles.



TheGZeus said:

Also, Japanese students "learn" something their teachers call "English" in school.
Very few people in Japan can actually speak or understand English beyond what's on the tests they have to take, and what's on those tests is often sort of English which sounds incredibly awkward to a native speaker.
I've been there twice, 1 month each time, travelling alone. People were often surprised by my Japanese skills, I wasn't surprised by their lack of English skills (they're not needed in daily life. don't use it, lose it).
I'm just saying that that's a moot point, and just knowing a language doesn't make you suited to translation. Anything but in-person verbal translation's always been torturous for me. Between over-thinking things, and then trying to make them sound natural... -_-
Not for me.
Not fun.
I did a transliteration job once which was fun.



Chi said:

@ TheGZeus
I believe Nintendo decides if a game can be released on their system.
Not many games with dark, violent or sexual themes are released on any of their systems because Nintendo has a reputation with parents as a familly oriented, safe system.
Thanks for filling me in on "english" literacy in Japan. I have had several Japanese language teachers, One did translation for NHK. She was a college student and the impression she gave me was that student translations were of course based on each individuals ability, but that it was commonly done and the reputation was of high quality and low price.



Captain_Balko said:

I'm a massive DQ Fan, and it hurts that suddenly, no more DQ games are being localized. WHY? WHY? I would do literally anything for this game to be localized. My life is meaningless without it. Or at the very least throw us a 3DS game, preferable the DQVII remake, although I'll be happy with anything Dragon Quest.



BinaryFragger said:


There are exceptions. MadWorld for the Wii is one of the most violent games I ever played and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars has drug dealing on top of the extreme violence. Then again, both those games sold poorly, probably because Nintendo's core customers aren't into those kinds of games.



Zodiak13 said:

Since I have taken a vow of online gaming celabacy (online gaming addiction lost the wife for 3 years long story), I am sad to say I am grateful that this has not been released in the US. My envy of all those people playing a game I can't play and desperately would want to may cause me to have some sort of breakdown.



Ganondwarf said:

I tried and tried sending emails to nintendo posting on forums early January 2013!! and all throughout 2013 but they will never localize it I wish though



DreamOn said:

I feel the pain of want from the comments above. So glad I'm not into the japan only game genres so don't have think about missing games I'd play



R_Champ said:


Well, I'm kinda wishing it now...not so much during the FF VI-X era...

Either way, I'd love to see this game in the West, I figure the only reason they aren't rushing to bring it over is because they know the fanbase is too small over here to make a significant profit without a monthly fee, but also too small not to face a subscription fee backlash from those same fans (kind of like Monster Hunter).



WiiLovePeace said:

This makes me want to finish DQ VIII. Don't know why I stopped, guess I got overwhelmed by the largeness of everything. Quite the long, fun game



DangaiohDark said:

Was looking forward to this in EU. Well if nintendo aren't bringing it to EU it looks like final fantasy 14 for ps3 and my wii u would start gathering dust. Nintendo need this outside of japan.



Geonjaha said:

@originaljohn - People were begging for Earthbound for 8 years. What makes you think fans asking for it over and over was the cause of release? The fact that it took 8 years and wasn't changed shows that the fans made little diference to its release. Also, this is Square Enix, not Nintendo. They've left DQ games unlocalised in the past, and they'll continue to do it in the future.



Chi said:

Those were strange anomalies weren't they?
I was very hyped when Saints Row was announced for 3DS, but that
evaporated. I guess Nintendo is not totally inflexible but they definitely
know their core audience. Maybe this MMO DQ game is just not very high
quality,but judging from the awful sovelware games that plagued the Wii
online store quality does not always seem to be a major obstacle.



originaljohn said:

@Geonjaha 'What makes you think fans asking for it over and over was the cause of release?'
I just think Miiverse had a big part to play in the decision made to re-release Earthbound on virtual console. Before Miiverse fans (of any game franchise) didn't have a direct channel to Nintendo and I'm pretty sure they said during a Direct they were listening to what fans wanted more than before (while showing a small film of Miiverse communities).
Your totally right it is Square Enix decision in the end of the day but if Nintendo offered to take over translation and publishing duties Square may be tempted. Seeing the WiiU poor sales it's not likely though.



Jaing said:

I truly wish this game would be localized for North America. I play Final Fantasy XIV on my PS3, but I'd gladly start playing Dragon Quest X on Wii U instead. For two reasons, one I love the look and feel of Dragon Quest games, they don't take themselves overly seriously and the color-palate just really pops, its a very vibrant environment. Secondly, the GamePad seems like its perfectly designed for ease of play for an MMO on a console. The touch screen would make inventory for example literally a tap away.



MAN1AC said:

Keep digging that hole Square. Hopefully someone who cares about fans and doesnt run their franchises into the ground gets ur IPs when you go under.



Kolzig said:

Dragon Quest 10 would be a nice big announcement for E3.
DQ10, ZeldaU and some new franchises and possible Metroid/Starfox/F-Zero announcements. That would be a nice start for summer.



Yew said:

@BigH88 What? When did NA demo DQX at e3 ?? I cant find that anywhere!!

Also if you look here youll see a USA release indicated in 2014 and the words "Game Status" "Confirmed by Square Enix" here

If they do a special edition wiiU then im gonna be the proud owner of a second wii u.

@Kolzig yeah man! Nintendo would be electrifying the world with such announcements!!

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