2006 marked the 20th anniversary of the original Dragon Quest, and while Square Enix could have rested easy and watched the fan love-fest unfold, they instead dramatically announced a new installment, dropping an unexpected bombshell in the process.
IX would be the first Dragon Quest installment to debut on a handheld console, and would do away with the turn-based battling that had up to this point defined the series and given it much of its unique appeal.
With real-time fights comes a more action-orientated edge, with players running in for some proper hand-to-hand scuffles, as opposed to standing in a neat line and politely taking it in turns with the enemy to open whoop-ass cans upon one another. More akin to GameCube's Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, players will also now be able to play cooperatively via DS Wi-Fi with four others, each player seeing the 3D environments with their own personal camera, allowing them the best possible view of the action when they gather around to kick Slime's head in. Lovely.
Developers Level 5 also produced Dragon Quest VIII on the PS2, which explains the lovely 3D realizations of Toriyama's character designs reappearing on the DS. With the stylus being used to dress up your hero in suitably beastie-proof clothing, this is looking to make as much use of the DS as possible. To those fans crying Judas at Horii and Co we say don't grumble, be humble - and ask yourself, have they ever let you down before?