Dragon Quest VII - Preview

Enix finally shows up, but is it too late?

By Mike Tidwell, RPGamer Writer

The hero, young, but eager

    Dragon Quest is very arguably the best console RPG series, rivaling Final Fantasy for the top spot. These two series have been running side by side for many years, dating back to the first of each series. Both made very early appearances on the Nintendo Entertainment System, both captured the hearts of thousands of players at the very first glimpse. As time passed, both series released one sequel after another, almost side by side, each company pushed the other to make the next game more innovative and creative. This continued up the the sixth game in each series, both games using the same basic technology, but each dazzling and captivating players in its own way.

    And then Enix fell quiet as Square released the mega-hit Final Fantasy VII. Enix has not released a Dragon Quest to the US for five years, as Square has relased three in the same time span. While the Japanese market enjoyed Dragon Quest V and VI, even they could not understand Enix's resistance to challenge Square once again. Fans around the world wonder if this is the end of a great rivarly.

    And then, we hear a call in the distant horizon; Enix reveals the very first glimpse into the next game to carry the Dragon Quest name. They will follow the trend to use Full Motion Video (FMV), like many other games are beginning to do. Enix has stated that they will use FMV in a much different manner, keeping the audience a player, and not a movie watcher. By making smaller FMVs, it is hoped that the player will always be in control of the game. As Dragon Quest games have always been a first person story, this is very important.

    Enix will follow another trend by using polygons, instead of sprites. This is the major trend in today's market, and Enix surprised no one by making this change. The capabilities that polygons offer to programmers to create a real three-dimesnional enviornment are too enticing to leave out. Towns and villages come alive as people living in each area interact with your party, and building have a more prominent sense of structure.

DQVII Castle
A towering castle. Yours, or yours to conquer?

    Enix also wants to change the way the story flows. All previous Dragon Quest's have had a very linear story, with exact goals, and rewards. Enix's Yuuji Horii had this to say about the upcoming storyline: "Instead of a game you'll want to finish quickly to conclude the story, I want it to be a game you want to play forever and not have it end." This is major improvement on the previous titles, and comes closer to the genre of "Role Playing", since you have far more choice in what the goals should be.

    One difficulty with a first person RPG is the lack of real background for the other characters. It is extremely difficult to build a background on any character except for the main one, since the story has to focus on you, the main character. However, Enix has done a decent job with this in the past, and that trend looks to continue. This is what is known about the characters so far:

  • You, the Hero : As all other Dragon Quest games, the hero has no name until you start the game. You were raised in a small fishing village, you have a small dragon-like creature. Little else is known about your character.
  • Marybelle : She is the daughter of the head fisherman of your town. She will follow you more because she doesn't want to be left out, than because she is interested in you, or what you do.
  • Keefer Gran : Prince of the Granestado nation. You befriend him early in your journeys, and he treats you like his own brother.
   Nothing else has been released, but so far, it looks like Enix is a follower, not a leader as before. Granted, there is not much to base this on, but first impressions make all the difference. RPGamer will be on top of all the latest news and information about Dragon Quest VII.

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