GoNintendo Video - Why can't Dragon Quest find its footing outside of Japan?

The quest for acceptance

Dragon Quest XI S' debut sales have come out in the states, and unfortunately, they're a bit of a disappointment. Once again, it seems Dragon Quest has a tough time finding an audience outside of Japan. Let's talk about why that might be.

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A series can catch on because of appealing gameplay, appearance or story. Western gamers like certain things and I think Dragon Quest comes off as dorky and old fashioned to most of them. If the visuals don't keep them away the gameplay or by-the-numbers plot probably will.

Personally I like Dragon Quest. I didn't get the Switch game since I've already had it on PS4 for some time.

Fri Oct 18 19 08:39am
Rating: 2

I love Dragon Quest games because they tend to have a humanity and warmth thats is very difficult to find anywhere else. The only thing I can think Square Enix could do to vastly improve the sales in the Western world is to put something in the water to convince western gamers that games without exploding meteors, dozens of zippers, and dialogue drench in melodrama have value.

It’s a niche product. I’m happy to accept that and since Dragon Warrior 7 on PS1, have accepted that my tastes are not in sync with the western gaming world at large.

Dragon Quest games have a maturity that isn’t marketable in the West because, in my opinion, its more grounded in reality. The games aren’t operas like Final Fantasy. Dragon Quest games always have a slight hint of bittersweet to their stories; love lost, characters with weaknesses exposed by sinister foes. For my personal taste, I prefer that maturity over the much more mainstream dark bleak output of other series.

It doesn’t appeal to the majority of western gamers. That’s fine; there are oodles of games to sell to that crowd (and I do enjoy them from time to time).

Fri Oct 18 19 08:54am
Rating: 1

Definitely agree with you. In a sense, the Dragon Quest games are way more humble than most other JRPGs or western games. Many of its stories are simple but feel genuine and way more emotional because of that simplicity, with a message that is very easily conveyed. Clearly these end up being way too humble for the west, without any of their guns, blood or overly dark plots.

It released at a bad time for me, I just got my Switch near the end of September (close to the new Nintendo Switch release). The only RPG that has been on my list is Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which I picked up a few days ago, then there is Torna - The Golden Country to buy... and Pokémon in November... Oh, I have to eventually pick up Smash... just no room/time for it.

Fri Oct 18 19 09:17am
(Updated 1 time)

The common problems for Dragon Quest in the US can always be traced to two things:
1) The shutdown of Enix's US branch during the 1990's that let Squaresoft take control of the US RPG market with Final Fantasy IV - VII.

The US became Final Fantasy turf ever since so Square-Enix now prefers to use Dragon Quest in Japan to fund international releases of Final Fantasy games dooming DQ to be a Japanese franchise outside titles Nintendo of America rescues.

2) Poor release timing for a lot of the games. The early games were late after established RPG franchises got started with Squaresoft's Final Fantasy on the NES and of course Nintendo's NES Zelda games. And as Soulcaster just posted, XI S is an enhanced port and released during a crowded time on the gaming market.

This game is amazing. 115 hours in so far and I would heavily recommend it to anyone. I really enjoy the story

Dragon Quest games typically have a really good localization, so it's a real shame it hasn't taken off more in the west. I'm about to buy the game and I'm looking forward to it.

I didn't buy it on Switch because I already own it, and played through it, on PS4 last year. The game fantastic, though I've been a fan since Dragon Warrior released on the NES.

I’ve never been a fan of turn based RPGs outside of Pokemon. Most JRPGs I’ve given a shot were so melodramatic and have nonsensical stories that try to be taken seriously that I’ve just never bothered with them. Never tried DQ but always liked the art style and music; gave the demo a shot and it hooked me right away. Been playing a good 20 hours now and loved it very minute, it completely avoids all the trappings of games like Final Fantasy that I hate. It’s just fun in every way, from gameplay to the art, characters and music, not to mention how impressive the Switch version is against the PS4/PC ones.

I think more people need to give the demo a go. Won’t sway everyone I’m sure but a JRPG is the last thing I ever thought would rank as one of my favourite games of the year.

Dragon Quest is a mix bag to me.

On one hand, you have this amazing artstyle and charm put to them but on the other, you have this outdated game design.

Still trying to get into the series though.


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