Dragon Quest 12: The Flames of Fate will shape the future of the iconic JRPG series for 10-20 years, says Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda.
In an interview with Weekly Famitsu (via Ryokutya2089), Matsuda explained that Dragon Quest 12 will retain some of the familiar structure the series is built upon while adding new elements into the mix. Due to the vague phrasing filtered through Japanese-to-English translation, it's hard to decipher just how dramatically Dragon Quest 12 will differ from its predecessors, but Matsuda suggests the changes will impact the series for up to two decades.
"Dragon Quest 12 is being developed taking into account the next 10 to 20 years of the Dragon Quest series," Matsuda said, adding, "There are parts that remain consistent with the traditional image of Dragon Quest, but new elements are also necessary. After all, as a brand, we always need to innovate."
One thing we know will be different from recent Dragon Quest games will be Dragon Quest 12's darker tone and its tweaks to the tried-and-true turn-based battle system. Legendary series producer Yuji Horii revealed these details during the series' 35th-anniversary stream in May, but didn't go into specifics.
Though undeniably beloved, the Dragon Quest series is notorious for sticking to its roots even as other JRPG staples experiment and adopt new gameplay mechanics and world features. If there's one complaint that's common in reviews of the most recent entry, the superb Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age, it's that it doesn't do anything new with the series or genre. For that reason, it's significant to hear Matsuda suggest on the record that Dragon Quest 12 will play around with the formula and make lasting changes.
Surely the best news for Dragon Quest fans in the West is that Square Enix is planning to launch Dragon Quest 12 worldwide simultaneously, rather than keeping it in Japan for a while like earlier releases. The studio hasn't talked about a release date or platforms yet, but the sequel is likely still in early development.
If you haven't played Dragon Quest 11 yet, go check it out - it's great. If you have, here are the best RPGs to play next.