A 2008 release date for Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker was always on the cards for Europe, and Square Enix has now settled on March 14th. Yes, that's a whole 146 days after the Pokémon pretender monster-hunting RPG first arrived in North America, and well over a year since it cropped up in Japan, but heck, are we really all that surprised? We probably don't need to mention that the region won't be seeing any consolatory preorder bonuses.
Fellow Europeans are welcome to quash their sense of injustice by perusing our gallery below for some pretty images of the game in action. Pretty images solve everything.
Square Enix's Dragon Quest spinoff (and one of about fivehundred DS Dragon Questgames) Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker came out in Japan way back in December. It was well-received there, getting the highest compliment a game can get: lots of people's money. We're still waiting for it over here, but our wait, at least, is almost over. Now, for a little while, we can be waiting buddies with PAL gamers, since the game has been announced for a European release.
According to the press release, "all PAL territories" can expect a release of Joker in early 2008. No idea if it'll bring along it's dazzlingly multipurpose preorder gift!
Having just received a release date and price for Japan, we knew the game would be on-hand in Tokyo, but nothing in the way of video managed to climb out from under the already suffocating amount of news. That is, until now. And, while the above video is mainly just some pan shots of concept art with small portions of gameplay tossed in for good measure, it's still enough to get you pumped for the game.
It's nice to see that even though Nintendo won't have a booth at the Tokyo Game Show this year, our favorite handheld will still be properly represented at the convention by companies like Square Enix (Sanuk Software, too!).
Square Enix has announced its sequels, remakes, spin-offs, and casual titles the company plans to present at the event, most notable on the list -- at least for us -- being a playable Dragon Quest IV. Dragon Quest IX, recently pushed back for a 2008 release, will only show up in video form. Check past the post break for Square Enix's full list of DS RPGs and Style Games for TGS.
Those of you who've been eagerly awaiting Square Enix's latest title on the DS will have to wait extra long, as the company has announced that Dragon Quest IX has been delayed until 2008. The reason for delaying the game? Square Enix apparently needs to improve the quality of the game, but we're going on machine translation, so it isn't the best.
Who will be joining us for a cry session in the corner?
The Japanese website for Dragon Quest IV has hit the net and, as far as websites go, it's one of the better ones. Sure, it may take a little longer to load, but the presentation and content are well worth it. There are some character bios to check out, as well as some in-game screens. Overall, it's what you'd expect for a Square Enix site launch.
Square Enix knows how to develop a game quickly: already have developed the whole thing twice. You'll be able to see this efficiency through redundancy at work this winter, when the first of the three DS Dragon Quest remakes hits Japan.
The company has opened the official Dragon Quest IV-VI website, which is probably not based on any NES-era websites, and, as such, doesn't have much content yet beyond the vague release schedule for IV and its CERO rating of A (All Ages). If this is coming out this winter, does it mean that it'll be competing with Dragon Quest IX? Or will IX even come out this year? It is a powerful mystery.
Square Enix has announced DS remakes of Dragon Quests IV, V, and VI. Everybody freak out ... now. And ... done. Back at the Square Enix Party, Yoichi Wada mentioned that some of the Dragon Quest games would be remade, but not which ones or how many.
These three games comprise an informal "Zenithia" trilogy, linked by the appearance of the same aerial castle in all three games. The blurry screens visible in the scans indicate that the remakes are based on the engine from the Playstation remake of Dragon Quest IV, which used 2D sprites on 3D backgrounds. We hope that all of them come out in the US, since V and VI would be new to us, and it would be awfully nice to have a new version of IV with a better translation and actual availability. Full-size scans after the break!
Having never come out in the US, the Itadaki Street franchise is somewhat of a mystery. But the series has been thrust into our attention with its entry on the DS and the included Mario and Dragon Quest characters. We know we like the characters, and we are vaguely aware of a board game of some kind, but how exactly does the game play?
Siliconera, who previously helped us identify all the Dragon Quest folks, has a piece up now about the game that's half review, half tutorial. It's an excellent resource for the Itadaki curious, and should help you in your soul-searching about whether or not you're interested in a Japanese board game about property.
Yoichi Wada, head of Square Enix, believes that handhelds are the way to go, at least until the next generation settles down somewhat. Wada told the Financial Times "There is a new breed of gamers in the market – we have to make games for all kinds of people." Which means, of course, the DS.
It should be no surprise that the company has a lot of faith in portable systems, since their flagship franchise has moved to the DS. Still, it is a little unusual for Wada to publicly speak against next-gen systems with so many important Square Enix games headed to the PS3. "There are too many specs – and you also need a high-definition TV, a broadband connection and a deep knowledge of gaming – these consoles are mismatched to today's environment. In a year or two years they will fare better."
Confession time! We haven't played a Dragon Quest game since the first one. And that was in the ancient times-- we were basically playing it on an oscilloscope. As such, we don't know any of the characters besides slimes (who could forget slimes?).
If you're like us (old and anachronistic), you might need a lesson on who all these adorable Dragon Quest characters are in Itadaki Street. That is exactly what Siliconera has done, because we asked for it just now. Oh, there we go with the anachronism again.
Finally, we know the names and origins of Guy Who Looks Kinda Like Dante and Spikey-Haired Guy. Now we're ready for the US version of the game, which will probably never exist.
Itadaki Street DS apparently didn't have enough characters to choose from-- the entire Mario and Dragon Quest casts are just too limiting, you know? Besides, nobody can relate to wacky characters like a plumber and a plumber's brother, who is also a plumber.
Square Enix has nicely included some characters who will do less to draw players' attention away from the serious business of strategic board game play: "Boy" and "Girl." They look just like we would if we were three feet tall and didn't have noses!
We've got some screens of Boy and Girl, and of Itadaki Street in general, after the break. And check the link for character art and a few board layouts.
Apparently, a couple of scans from the latest Famitsu over at Jeux-France showcase new screens for the upcoming Square Enix romp Dragon Quest IX., but portray the omission of a very important game feature: Wi-Fi Connect compatibility. Well, perhaps that's a bit of an overstatement, as the article apparently does say that Wi-Fi will be used "for something else" aside from what we would normally expect it to include (co-op gameplay, versus multiplayer etc.).
That isn't to say this is all set in stone, though. The page has been translated by an individual (registration required) over at The Platformers, so we're mainly going on their translation (darn our inability to read Japanese!).