According to an interview with Square Enix
president Yoichi Wada, Japan could be playing Dragon Quest IX
as soon as (whenever Square Enix decides to release it.) He told Bloomberg Japan that the game is almost finished, and that they are currently in the process of tuning whatever kind of wireless functionality
and insuring the "important" balance between multiplayer and single-player. So, basically, they're in the final stages of creating the game.
This doesn't necessarily mean that the game will be released anytime soon -- we'd expect fall at the earliest. This is going to be the cornerstone of Square Enix's 2008 lineup, so it's going to be a holiday release in whichever
year it comes out. We're just glad to hear it hasn't been cancelled or moved to another console (though the DS wasn't mentioned, we're pretty sure that would slow development.)