When Dragon Quest XII: The Flames of Fate was formally announced back in May, it felt like the fandom’s reception to the broadcast was split firmly down the middle — though perhaps not for the reason you may expect. It wasn’t so much that the game’s reveal triggered a divisive reception (although it sort of did), but rather that there wasn’t enough information provided to prevent many of us from paying greater attention to the Dragon Quest III HD-2D remake reveal. With its signature lush Octopath Traveler art style, the old-school surprise nearly dominated press coverage.
Now, it seems like Dragon Quest XII will have more than its fair share of the limelight in the years to come. In a recent interview, Square Enix’s President Yosuke Matsuda states the game will reflect the beloved franchise’s evolution moving forward into the next 10 to 20 years. Taken on its own, the claim doesn’t amount to much. In conjunction with the tidbits that we did learn upon the Dragon Quest XII reveal, Matsuda’s statement begins to take on an air of specificity.
During the broadcast, Dragon Quest series creator Yuji Horii briefly discussed how the upcoming mainline installment will feature a darker story. Even without Horii’s commentary, this feels inevitable; the trailer kind of goes out of its way to promote the notion of a dimmer tone. (Nothing screams “serious business” quite like flickering flame particle effects followed by a literal explosion.)
Dragon May Cry
Additionally, Horii has noted that the twelfth title will see key alterations on the Dragon Quest franchise’s iconic “Command Battle System.” This sent a bit of panic down the spines of long-time fans. Could Dragon Quest XII eschew tradition in favor of full-blown action? Unlikely. I suspect we will indeed see more action-oriented aspects. But there probably isn’t much to fear when Horii himself makes it clear that many things will more or less remain the same as always.
It’s interesting to hypothesize in what ways the Dragon Quest XII reveal event spells long-lasting change for a brand built primarily on the premise of slow, steady quality. Even between, say, 1990’s Dragon Quest IV and 2017’s Dragon Quest XI, there’s more in common than clashing.
In Horii We Trust
There’s currently no word on a release date for Dragon Quest XII: Flames of Fate, nor further clarification on how it will reshape the saga for decades to come. We should feel free to speculate in the meantime; at least we’ve been thrown a few bones here to do so with. And if there’s one thing the Dragon Quest franchise is known for, it’s Horii’s steady-handed guidance. This isn’t an IP that changes things up big-time every major installment, after all.
What future will Dragon Quest XII herald? The mystery itself almost feels like a DQ plot point. Please stick with us here at The Nerd Stash for continued coverage as we discover the answer together!