Publisher/developer powerhouse Square Enix has announced that the next installment in its Dragon Quest RPG series is heading to Nintendo DS and will be released in 2007.
Dragon Quest IX - which sports a roughly translated subtitle of "Defender of the Stars" - is being developed by Level 5, the people behind the previous PS2 exclusive Dragon Quest VIII, and will feature 3D adventuring, an action-focused battle system and will let up to four players join forces in co-op multiplayer.
No further gameplay details have been released, although attendees at the Square Enix press conference in Japan (which was held to celebrate 20 years of the Dragon Quest series) were shown a playable demo of the game and told that the adventure would be a "true part of the series" rather than a spin-off or side-story.
Above: The adventuring is played out on the DS's bottom screen, while the top display shows dungeon and field maps.
The move from console to handheld is big news, and Nintendo's gain is certainly Sony's loss - Dragon Quest VIII was the fastest selling PS2 game in Japan, with over three million copies sold within its first week of release.
We just hope that - no disrespect to DS - Nintendo's handheld can handle the job.
December 12, 2006