A portion of a GamesBeat interview with Dragon Quest XI producer Hokuto Okamoto...
GB: Since you are the series are the same age, how do you define Dragon Quest? Are you beholden to those tenets of 30 years of design? Do you think, “I can’t change Dragon Quest. I can’t let the team change Dragon Quest.”
Okamoto: When we were initially starting the development for Dragon Quest XI—especially considering it would be aligned with the 30th anniversary of the series—we wanted to deliver a completely new experience, but also something that was essentially a culmination of 30 years of Dragon Quest. When we were initially starting development on it, we had a similar discussion with the team. One thing that was interesting in our discussions was that everyone had their own definitive tenets of what a Dragon Quest experience should be like.
It was interesting because everyone’s opinions on that differed across the board. Upon discussing with the team, we arrived at one point that we should never essentially veer off of, and that’s to bring a level of surprise, in a good way, to our players. That’s something we wanted to stay true to.
One thing that Yuji Horii has always mentioned, especially for the first Dragon Quest games—it’s a computer game, in essence, and so often the response and the feedback you get from the game can feel kind of cold. We wanted to bring a level of warmth to the game, which is what you get through speaking with the characters and so on. Even to this day, the systematic text within the game—there’s very few [dialogues] included in Dragon Quest games, if you’ve noticed. That’s something we were also very conscious about when developing Dragon Quest XI. Everything you mentioned about the tenets of Dragon Quest, we feel like you’ll find that in Dragon Quest XI. What do you feel are the most important aspects of a Dragon Quest game?