The Level-5 developed Dragon Quest IX: Hoshizora no Mamoribito (Defender of the Stars) has an official Japanese release date. In March 2009, Japanese DS owners will be able to play this newest entry in the Dragon Quest saga. Dragon Quest IX will be the first new game in the official series (not an offshoot) to be released on a handheld. It is also the first new Dragon Quest game on a Nintendo system since 1995 when Dragon Quest VI was released for the Super Famicom.
The previous game in the series, Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, was released in Japan on the PS2 on November 27, 2004, and went on to sell an estimated three and a half million units there. Dragon Quest IX has been projected to sell five million units in Japan.
Dragon Quest IX was originally slated to use a more action-oriented combat system, but the developers decided to go back to the series traditional turn-based system instead. This may or may not have been the reason for the delay of the game, originally projected to be released in the summer of 2007, and pushed back to 2008 last year. The price has not yet been revealed, though more information is expected at the Tokyo Game Show later this month.