The following info comes from a Game Informer interview with Dragon Quest creator, Yuji Horii...
On Dragon Quest VIII
“If you can see a mountain in the distance, you can run to that mountain and climb up it. Nowadays, this is pretty commonplace technology, but when Dragon Quest VIII was first released, this was groundbreaking. I thought that laying out the story as a guiding path would make it possible to adventure and have fun in the world. While we have provided that path, we also intended for it to be possible to diverge from the path and enjoy the game freely.
I came up with the idea of occasionally but not always entering Super High Tension when building up tension. Will you be able to go Super by spending another turn to build tension? Or will you end up wasting a turn? I thought that sense of excitement was great. As for the visuals when that happened, the Super Saiyan [from Dragon Ball Z] transformation was perfect for the effect, so I borrowed that concept.
I wanted to come up with an alchemy system that relied on your intuition, so you would wonder what you could make by combining two different things. We started with the simple idea of combining two herbs to get a better herb, and expanded it from there. It feels great to do a lot of damage with a weapon you built yourself.”
Horii also touched on the 3DS remake, where he said the dev team “analyzed play feedback from users and development staff, then added in the characteristics of the 3DS hardware to come up with ideas for additional elements and changes and then decide on the ones to pursue.” Finally, Horii shared his thoughts on the Dragon Quest series as a whole.
“This concept hasn’t changed from the time we created the original Dragon Quest. The hardware, however, keeps evolving, and there have been huge advances in the technology to realize these worlds. People can have more and more realistic experiences in games. What I would like to aim for next is a fusion of the virtual and the real. It would be amazin gif I could make a game that would improve the player’s real life as well.”