Nintendo Life: What made you want to return to the characters of Erik and Mia, from Dragon Quest XI, in Dragon Quest Treasures?
Tachi Inuzuka: Characters from Dragon Quest XI x popular x boy and girl team = Erik and Mia.
Yuji Horii: All the characters from DRAGON QUEST XI were popular, but we had not looked at the childhoods of Erik and Mia much, so we decided that they would be easy to use in a spin-off story.
Series creator Yuji Horii — Image: Square Enix
Are there any ties to Dragon Quest XI outside of the main characters, or is this an entirely standalone adventure? Will returning players be able to get something extra out of the narrative?
Inuzuka: DRAGON QUEST XI is its own self-contained story, so this game does not expand on that story directly. It is linked by the adventures that Erik and Mia have in this game, and is part of what shaped their quirks and personalities when we see them in DRAGON QUEST XI.
The Dragon Quest series has a pretty storied history on Nintendo consoles. What made you want to make this a Switch exclusive?
Inuzuka: Because the nature of the gameplay had a good affinity with the Nintendo Switch.
I wanted to make this a game that could be enjoyed casually,
What made you want to focus on treasure hunting? How has this affected the traditional Dragon Quest gameplay?
Inuzuka: I wanted to make this a game that could be enjoyed casually, and after a winding process of experimentation, I finally settled on the idea of a treasure-hunting game.
Horii: I have a feeling that this project was originally launched as a new DRAGON QUEST MONSTERS series, but Mr. Inuzuka said that he would like to make it a game about searching for treasure, so I approved that idea. I also felt that the characters of Erik and Mia were well-suited to treasure hunting.
How much inspiration did you take from previous Dragon Quest spin-offs like Dragon Quest Monsters?
Inuzuka: There was not much conscious influence that we drew from the DRAGON QUEST MONSTERS series, but the development team was built around the same staff who make those titles, so there may well be some unconscious influence there.
Dragon Quest Treasures Producer Tachi Inuzuka — Image: Square Enix
Can you share anything about the Rivals mechanic? Will any of them have a deeper impact on the game’s story?
Inuzuka: As the story progresses, the rival groups play quite an important role.
Treasures sees the return of monster recruiting. Have there been any changes to this mechanic for this game?
Inuzuka: Recruiting takes place at the notice board in your base. You can hand over items that monsters want to recruit them as allies.
Does having a large cast of monster companions allow you to have more fun with their characterisations?
Inuzuka: It is designed so that you can put together your own favourite combinations to play with, from different strengths, field abilities, appearances, voices and the ability to carry different treasures etc.
Not just an open world game, but an “open life” game.
Do you have a favourite monster that you like to use in Treasures, or in any other Dragon Quest game?
Horii: Probably the King Slime.
There’s been a lot of Dragon Quest spin-offs over the years. Do you have a dream idea for one that you haven’t been able to fulfil yet but want to?
Horii: Not just an open world game, but an “open life” game.
This interview has been edited lightly for clarity. Our thanks to Inuzuka-san and Horii-san for taking the time to speak to us. Dragon Quest Treasures is out now on the Nintendo Switch