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Dragon Quest XI is special We see it exclusively with Yuji Horii!

Interviewing such a legendary figure as Yuji Horii is not something that is done every day. We travel to Tokyo to meet with the head of Dragon Quest, on the occasion of the premiere in the West of DQXI.

Yuji Horii, the creator of the Dragon Quest series, has just turned 64 years old. He could be defined as one of the great figures in the history of the game for helping to popularize the RPG genre in Japan. His strategy was to combine the designs of Akira Toriyama with the compositions of Koichi Sugiyama to give rise to an epic of swords and witchcraft. An interpretation of the western role, but to the Japanese.

So, after more than 30 years of Dragon Quest, we came to this interview, in the Ebisu neighborhood, characterized by its European style. There is Horii's office, on one of the floors of a residential building that we are not allowed to unveil. It is quite far from the offices of Square Enix in Shinjuku, and that draws our attention. The Japanese tell us that he likes to work from this location because it helps him to be inspired by his next titles. Once we take off (Japanese ritual) we enter and realize that his office looks like the interior of a castle.

There is a miniature wooden ship, an iron armor, swords in showcases, chests and amount of Dragon Quest merchandising adorning each room. Horii presides over the table as if he were the captain of an order, accompanied by some of his men. Together they have given rise to Dragon Quest XI, which appeared in Japan more than half a year ago. Soon we will finally have it in the West, on September 4 on both PS4 and PC. On the Nintendo versions, we do not have official confirmation, although we already know that Switch will not be available this year. What can we expect from this international version? We summarize the main keys to our interview.

A celebration

For Yuji Horii, the main objective of Dragon Quest XI is to celebrate more than 30 years of history in the franchise. He came to repeat it three times in the interview: "We wanted to concentrate on a game everything we had achieved to date, going back to the roots." This means that we will find situations that may sound like other deliveries, but also with those iconic elements that have made the Dragon Quest unique and special.
I like the medieval theme and European culture, but really the idea of Dragon Quest arose from my taste for the subgenre of epic fantasy, with swords and witchcraft. I see it a bit like what you guys do in Europe with the themes of ninjas and samurai, but vice versa

The changes

There are going to be enough changes regarding the Japanese version. The fundamental one has to do with the incorporation of voices in English (subtitles in Spanish). It is important because in Japan no voices of any kind were included to maintain the tradition of the saga. Another novelty has to do with the addition of a new mode of difficulty, ideal for experts (Draconian Mission). Then the interface and menus are modified, to make them more intuitive, in the face of Western users, who may have less experience in the franchise. The camera also undergoes modifications, and finally, an important function is included to accelerate the rhythm of the game, so that the gameplay becomes more satisfactory.
We are currently working on the version for Nintendo Switch, but it will take more time and right now we are not able to inform you about the news that will bring. In any case, it will not be ready this year. Adapting the game is not easy

Tradition and conventions

Dragon Quest XI will keep many of the conventions we know about the series. It is curious that a video game has some high-resolution graphics, and then listen to sound effects of the Famicom era (NES): "We discussed that aspect a lot, but we believe that in the end, it is a language that we must maintain, because it gives familiarity to the users and feel comfortable. " In reality, it is not that Yuji Horii is conservative, but that in the end, he believes that the users are the ones who rule. What's more, in the company they think that in order to propose things that go beyond the usual, there are already the spin-offs they have created: Monster, Heroes, Builders ...
More than 30 years have passed since the first game and many of our current workers grew with the first titles, mainly the Famicom and Super Famicom. I think that is what explains that we are able to maintain the essence of the franchise

An intuitive video game

Yuji Horii considers that one of the central aspects of Dragon Quest 11 is to keep intact his conception of the RPG genre, but making it more accessible than ever. It is known that the creator does not like manuals or long explanations. It is not the first time that he defines himself as a simple person. He has the firm conviction that a game must be understood without complications: "That is why we have eliminated some aspects that made you stuck in the past in situations that should not happen." With this, we have placed ourselves one step closer to getting both veterans and new users are satisfied. "
I think the worst thing that can happen to a player is that he does not know what he has to do next in the adventure. We can put a lot of effort into these issues. I am not the type of user that reads manuals to know how to play. That's why we created easy-to-understand video games

Development process

Many will wonder what is the current role of Yuji Horii in the development of Dragon Quest. He is a supervisor. He is in charge of devising the story, but the director of the game is in charge of the execution, which must receive the approval of Horii at all times: "Dragon Quest XI is a very big video game and there are many people behind, so It is necessary that there is someone trying to maintain the vision.They also told us about the controversy that arose with Sylvia, a character that was not very well received when it was announced, but they consider that useful opinions are reached when the game is released and people prove it.
Design the stories of Dragon Quest games depending on the situation. For example, in Dragon Quest V it occurred to me to make a plot with three generations of heroes fighting against evil. In Dragon Quest VI it was more a trip to know yourself. In Dragon Quest XII want you to return to feel like heroes in a celebration of 30 years of history

The barrier of the West

In Europe, we missed the first games of Dragon Quest, which had to come later in the form of "remakes". This raises the question of whether we are used to this license, but Yuji Horii seems to be clear: he believes that his video game is intuitive and does not really see a barrier. In fact, he said he was "really looking forward to seeing the reactions of Western players to the release of Dragon Quest XI in their territories." As a prominent message, he came to ensure that if we liked Dragon Quest VIII, so will this title, because it supposes the visual and playable basis on which this new video game was created.
We do not think that the Dragon Quest saga is more difficult to understand by Western players. It is made for everyone. In particular, DQXI is intuitive and can be understood from the first minute. We believe that there is no barrier

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