Dragon Quest X
|Dragon Quest X|
Cover art for Version 1, Mezameshi Itsutsu no Shuzoku Online.
|Director(s)||Jin Fujisawa (2005-2013)
Chikara Saito (2013-)
|Genre(s)||Massively multiplayer online role-playing|
Dragon Quest X: Mezameshi Itsutsu no Shuzoku Online[b] is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed and published by Square Enix for Wii, Wii U, Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4. It is the tenth installment in the Dragon Quest series, and was called "the highest profile third-party release ever announced for Wii" by Nintendo Power. Smartphone and tablet versions of the game were released on NTT DoCoMo's dGame service on December 16, 2013.
A second version, subtitled Nemureru Yūsha to Michibiki no Meiyū Online (眠れる勇者と導きの盟友 オンライン?, lit. "The Sleeping Hero and the Guided Allies Online"), was released in Japan on December 5, 2013. A pack containing both version one and two of Dragon Quest X, subtitled All in One Package (オールインワンパッケージ ōruinwanpakkēji?) was released on August 7, 2014.
A third version, subtitled Inishie no Ryuu no Denshou Online (いにしえの竜の伝承 オンライン?, lit. "Lore of the Ancient Dragon Online"), was released in Japan on April 30, 2015, although this release is only for the Wii, Wii U, and Windows versions of the games. A compilation of all three was released for the Wii U on December 3, 2015. A Chinese version is set to be released by Shanda in 2016 for Microsoft Windows, while a version will be released for the upcoming Nintendo platform, codenamed NX.
Dragon Quest X must be played online to access all of the content, but it can be played offline for a few hours. There is a monthly subscription fee. The game utilizes cloud storage for save files and other game data.
The game play is aligned with all other Dragon Quest games which include the traditional RPG game play with elements of other contemporary MMORPGs. The player has access to an open-world environment which include random towns, enemies, quests and many secrets that lie hidden. With Dragon Quest X players are able to see the enemy on the map which they're able to choose to fight or flee. Players can also form groups with up to four other people. Like many other multiplayer games, there are quests and items to be found randomly and most players will begin their quest in "starting areas". Each race has its own unique town in which the players are able to socialize, barter, investigate, and do as they will. Players can cross-play with others who are using a different platform.
The game is set in a new world, Astoltia, featuring five continents and six playable races.
The six races are Human, Ogre, Elf, Dwarf, Puklipo, and Weddie. Players will start as a human character, but after a certain point in the game, the character will become one of the other five races. In the upcoming third expansion of the game there will be a new dragon race added.
The story begins in Etene village, focusing on the protagonist, an orphan living with his/her sibling. The peace is shattered when Nelgel, the Lord of Hell, attacks the village. At this point, the story branches off into two different perspectives: first, being an extended offline campaign following the protagonist's sibling, who was sent into the past in order to be protected from Nelgel. Second, the protagonist's soul is transported to a shrine where the player designs his/her player character and chooses his/her race. Once complete, the protagonist's soul enters the body of the player character, which was formerly a corpse. After collecting 6 out of 10 sacred emblems, a sage attempts to create a bridge leading to Nelgel's lair. When it fails, he decides to separate the protagonist's soul from the body he/she was inhabiting in a desperate attempt to try another method. This proves to be successful, as the protagonist then meets the body's original owner. The protagonist's mission is made clear when he/she realizes that a sacred vessel called the Ark of the Heavens is the only thing that can penetrate Nelgel's defenses. The protagonist then travels 500 years into the past, where the Ark of the Heavens was last used in recorded history. After fighting Razban, a demon bent on bringing Nelgel to life, the protagonist forges a friendship bond with a young boy who knew the secret to using the Ark of the Heavens. Returning to the present, the protagonist entered Nelgel's lair, and after a long battle, emerged successful. After the ending credits roll by, the protagonist is greeted by the sage from before, who informs him/her that despite Nelgel's defeat, the seal he had on the central continent was still active.
Dragon Quest X was developed by Armor Project, a company founded by series creator Yuji Horii in an exclusive contract with Square Enix to develop entries in the Dragon Quest series. This was the first modern Dragon Quest title to be developed by Armor Project and Square Enix, as earlier mainline entries had been handled by external companies. The CGI opening was handled by Square Enix's CGI department Visual Works. The game was directed by Jin Fujisawa, who also directed Dragon Quest IX. The scenario was written by Fujisawa, with later scenario support by Atsushi Narita. Horii served as game designer and general project director. Series art designer Akira Toriyama returned to design the characters, while the music was composed by series veteran Koichi Sugiyama. One of the chief planners was Naoki Yoshida, who had worked on earlier Dragon Quest spin-offs, and was later assigned as the director of Final Fantasy XIV and its reboot A Realm Reborn. A newcomer to the series was producer Yosuke Saito: initially a staff member at Cavia who worked as a programmer on both the Drakengard series before producing its spin-off game Nier. After Cavia closed in 2010, Saito formed his own company Orca, which was chosen by Square Enix to support the development of Dragon Quest X. Due to this, work had to be scrapped on a PlayStation Vita version of Nier. Saito had earlier worked with MMORPGs when he was involved with the development of Cross Gate (2001). A second newcomer was Chikara Saito who, after working on Dragon Quest X during its development alongside Cross Treasures, would become the director for Dragon Quest X in 2013.
When speaking about why an online game was chosen as the next step in the series, Fujisawa cited the intuitive character AI in Dragon Quest IV and party member communication in Dragon Quest VII. Solid ideas for an online game set within the Dragon Quest series in 2005, when development was wrapping up on Dragon Quest VIII. It was initially worked on by a very small team, who worked together on the groundwork for some time. A core part of the initial plan was that the game would have a pre-planned ten year lifespan with continual content updates. Once work had finished on Dragon Quest IX, Dragon Quest X took full priority. During these earlier phases, it was still undecided whether to make the game a mainline title, and there was even doubt as to whether it could be an MMORPG rather than just an online multiplayer game. These doubts, held by Saito, were assuaged by Fujisawa's confidence in the project. Despite this, Fujisawa was a novice at both developing and playing MMORPGs, putting him in stark contrast with other staff members such as Saito, Yoshida and second chief planner Takashi Anzai.
The change to a new genre presented multiple challenges to the team: while standard RPGs were designed around a scripted experience, MMORPGs were more reliant on a true sense of unscripted adventure. A major disadvantage was that Fujisawa was inexperienced with working on MMORPGs. The first major developmental issue was the need in an MMORPG to have a full customizable character. Another related was the initial premise of an unseen force as the threat, which was unusual within the form. Fujisawa rationalized it into a kind of "common sense" related to the interaction between player community and necessary events within the game world that worked against accepted principles of MMORPG gameplay, which resulted in multiple staff members raising doubts as to whether the game could work. The second major issue was what types of environments to include or discard, and for this Fujisawa was prepared due to his long experience with the franchise. On top of this, the staff needed to evaluate what would work for an MMORPG in the unpredictable Japanese gaming market, which unlike other parts of the world was not a major consumer of MMORPGs. Their main object for comparison was World of Warcraft, which by that time at 12 million players worldwide but only had a small holding in Japan. While this appeared discouraging, there had not been many titles of similar scale and success within the country.
During this evaluation process, three key constraints were pinned down for the developers to face. The first was hardware related, as the Wii had a limited lifespan as a viable console; the second was the requirement of a subscription, a necessity to make the game profitable; and the third was a natural reticence against playing an online-only title. The Wii had been chosen as the game's platform due to its large install base and popularity in Japan, but it would inevitably be left behind for newer consoles, so it was decided to create future versions of Dragon Quest X for other viable platforms. To combat the monetary concerns, the team looked at the typical flat rate subscription, which at the time was between ¥1200 and ¥2000, then set it at ¥1000 so it would be attractive to more casual gamers while still being profitable. Despite this low fee, Fujisawa felt that this might turn away long-term fans who were not hardcore gamers. The solution was "Kid's Time", which despite the name was intended as a means for people of all ages to have free access to the game. Despite this online approach, the opening of the game was designed as an offline introductory experience. This caused technical issues for the developers: for online game processing was divided between online servers and the hardware, while the opening relied entirely on the hardware, resulting in slowdown issues that needed addressing. "Kid's Time" offered a solution to the third constraint. The game made use of Square Enix's Crystal Tools game engine, making it one of the very few Square Enix games outside the Final Fantasy series to make use of it.
The gameplay was intended to stay true to the Dragon Quest formula within the design necessities and limitations of an MMORPG. During an earlier development phase, the UI featured a large amount of information showing the various player statuses, but seeking to streamline and simplify the game, they removed most of the display. A different gameplay challenge was presented by the move from turn-based to real-time battles, which went against the traditions of the Dragon Quest series. Fujisawa wanted to implement the classic battle system, but was opposed by Horii and other staff members, who successfully pushed for a real-time combat system. Elements of that battle system, such as the ability to halt enemy momentum as a battle mechanic, proved extremely challenging for the developers. Speaking about the difference between Dragon Quest X and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Yoshida said that they needed to preserve the atmosphere of a normal Dragon Quest title despite MMORPGs not being designed for solo playing. It was for this reason that the loaning of player characters as NPC party members was incorporated. During later development, and following the game's release, the main focus was on balancing the various elements, items and weapons so as to create a level playing field, in addition to keeping the in-game economy balanced. Several features featured in earlier entries, such as the Casino and Coliseum, needed to be kept back for a later time.
The scenario was based around the concept of five different races, and the interaction with a human character. The story premise of a human character becoming a member of one of the five playable races was born out a compromise about who and what the player character should be. The concept of a non-human character was introduced by Horii as he saw an inherent contradiction in the idea of a human saving the other tribes. This raised some contention among the staff including Fujisawa due to the Dragon Quest series' established convention of a human being the main protagonist, but Fujisawa and Horii eventually decided to have the player character be a human first and later become one of the five tribes. Part of the story's initial drama came from the player character growing accustomed to their new form. Once the basis scenario concept had been finalized, the team commissioned the various basic character designs from Toriyama. In contrast to the greater majority of MMORPGs, which did not seem to have a solid ending, the team wanted to create a solid ending with a final boss as featured in normal RPGs.
Longtime Dragon Quest series composer, Koichi Sugiyama, wrote the music for Dragon Quest X. A "Symphonic Suite" album, with live arrangements and suites, was released on December 5, 2012. An original soundtrack, featuring the tracks from the Wii U version, was released in Japan by King Records on July 24, 2013. A soundtrack featuring all the new tracks from the Nemureru Yūsha to Michibiki no Meiyū Online expansion was released on July 23, 2014. Game has a side-story manga series Dragon Quest: Sōten no Soura (ドラゴンクエスト 蒼天のソウラ), which is created by Yuuki Nakashima and still serialized by V-Jump from February 2013.
Sales and subscriptions
Dragon Quest X sold 420,311 copies its first week in Japan, low for a Dragon Quest game but well for an MMORPG. It was the tenth best selling game of 2012 in Japan, selling over 609,783 copies. In November 2012, Dragon Quest X exceeded 400,000 subscribers. In its first week on sale, the Wii U version of the game sold 33,302 copies, coming in as the number 6 best selling game of that period. By the end of 2012, the Wii version of the game had sold over 633,000 copies, and by the end of 2013, the second Wii version had sold over 127,000 copies, the first Wii U version had sold over 72,000 copies, and the second Wii U version had sold over 70,000 copies.
In a 2014 interview, producer Yosuke Saito said, in Japan, Dragon Quest X has 300,000 active audiences per a day.
As of March 27, 2014, the game has sold one million copies across all platforms.
The Wii and Wii U versions of the game sold over 95,000 and 111,000 copies by the end of 2015, respectively. The Nintendo 3DS version of Dragon Quest X sold 52,375 copies in its opening week. 
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Dragon Quest X has received positive reviews. The popular Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu gave Dragon Quest X a 36/40. One of the reviewers noted "It's a very well-made package; from the warmly familiar world to the story that has a tendency to wrap you up in it. It's all very Dragon Quest-like -- although it feels like leveling takes more time compared to the offline DQs, or at least requires a lot more effort. Still, it's very kind to people who aren't familiar with online RPGs, and the whole thing's designed to make it as fun and accessible as possible to work with other players and go off on adventures."
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