When you think of legacy JRPGs, those that crafted the stepping stones for the genre to flourish, a few series come to mind. One of which is obviously Final Fantasy. Shin Megami Tensei and Mana, too. Yet, another Square Enix franchise deserves emphasis: Dragon Quest.
While more popular in Japan than in the West, Dragon Quest is undeniably a collective JRPG powerhouse that all genre fans, regardless of their history, are, more likely than not, aware of. It’s the cornerstone of countless RPG inspirations and gameplay systems still seen today. Even if Dragon Quest isn’t your kind of thing, there’s a fair chance it played a pivotal role in the RPGs you enjoy.
So, with all that said, it’s become increasingly baffling that such a meager selection of Dragon Quest titles is available on modern platforms. And there are a good chunk of titles that have never left Japan. Let’s first focus on the mainline entries to establish the severity of this reality.
By the way, we will not be counting the mobile phone ports for any of these forthcoming titles since not only are those not the typical platforms for non-free-to-play games, but they don’t appear to have consistently strong workability for select devices and features.
Currently, only the first three Dragon Quest games are available on a modern platform, the Switch, at least globally. These titles also have PlayStation 4 ports, but only in Japan.
Then, Dragon Quest IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, and IX are stuck on older hardware if you don’t count iOS and Android. Save for IX, which has only been on DS, the other entries have greeted multiple older platforms.
In particular, Dragon Quest IV, V, VI, and IX were ported to DS, while Dragon Quest VII and VIII have 3DS ports.
This has confused me more recently since the upcoming Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince has connectivity to Dragon Quest IV. With that being the case, you’d figure it’d make sense to at least port it over to the Switch at the very most, but there’s been no word on that happening.
No matter how you slice it, over half of the mainline entries of a still-relevant franchise not being available on modern platforms is highly questionable.
And then there’s the MMO Dragon Quest X, which doesn’t exactly fit the scope of this conversation since it’s on modern platforms, but just not in the West. It also has an offline version comprising the MMO’s base game and the first expansion, though it isn’t in the West.
Now, moving on to the spinoffs, there are multiple series to address. First is Dragon Quest Monsters. These entries are frequently compared to Pokémon, as they primarily consist of players taming monsters to form parties.
The first two entries received official English releases during their initial Game Boy Color launches. They got ports to the original PlayStation, 3DS, and mobile devices, though only in Japan. Then, the third entry, Caravan Heart, is stuck on Game Boy Advance in Japan.
Also part of the Monsters series is the Joker trilogy. The first two were on the DS and got official English releases, yet the third remains stuck on the 3DS in Japan.
Another entry is Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry’s Wonderland 3D, a remake of the first Monsters game stuck on the 3DS in Japan. Dragon Quest Monsters 2: Iru and Luca’s Marvelous Mysterious Key also deserves mention as a remake of both versions of the original Dragon Quest Monsters 2.
For clarification, Dragon Quest Monsters 2 received two versions on the Game Boy Color: Dragon Warrior Monsters 2: Cobi’s Journey and Dragon Warrior Monsters 2: Tara’s Adventure. Unfortunately, like Terry’s Wonderland 3D, Iru and Luca’s Marvelous Mysterious Key is only on the 3DS in Japan.
A new entry, Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince, will launch for Nintendo Switch later this year.
Continuing the spinoff train is the Mystery Dungeon series. A main character from Dragon Quest IV, Torneko Taloon, is usually the protagonist of these spinoffs. There are four entries here, three of which have never been localized. Plus, every entry remains exclusively on older platforms.
The first game, Torneko’s Great Adventure, is on the Super Famicom. Torneko: The Last Hope, the only localized entry, was initially launched for the original PlayStation in both Japan and the West, though only Japan got its Game Boy Advance port, Dragon Quest Characters: Torneko no Daibouken 2 Advance.
Then, Torneko’s Great Adventure 3 greeted Japan on the PlayStation 2 before it, too, received a Game Boy Advance Japan-only port titled Dragon Quest Characters: Torneko no Daiboken 3 Advance.
Lastly, the oddball of these Mystery Dungeon entries is Young Yangus and the Mysterious Dungeon, a simultaneous spinoff and prequel of Dragon Quest VIII featuring a younger version of party member Yangus. This title never left the PlayStation 2 in Japan.
The final organized set of spinoffs we’ll mention is Slime Morimori, comprised of three games, with only one being localized. These titles focus on a protagonist, Silme, in action contexts throughout more low-stakes adventures.
The first entry, Slime Morimori Dragon Quest, had a Japan-only Game Boy Advance launch, while the sequel, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, greeted the West on the same platform. Then, the final entry of the series, Slime Morimori Dragon Quest 3 with a naval battle focus, was the first 3D entry launched for the 3DS, only in Japan.
There are other Dragon Quest spinoffs, like Theatrhythm Dragon Quest on the 3DS, which has never seen a localization, and the unexpected Dragon Quest Swords that utilized Wii motion controls, but the lack of English releases and modernized ports have already been emphasized.
With the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster releases, there’s already been a basis of hope for Dragon Quest to receive similar treatment, at least for a select assortment of the older mainline entries. A legendary franchise deserves new generations of fans, and a solution to that method is making more of its vast catalog readily available.
This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.