Since 1986, which marked the release of the original Dragon Quest, Dragon Quest has so far featured eleven games within the main series, as well as several spin off games. Dragon Quest has had the same general lead development team since its inception in the 1980s, as scenario writer and game designer Yuji Horii, music composer Koichi Sugiyama and character designer Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball. Each game in the main series of games it titled with the name "Dragon Quest" followed by a roman numeral. It has also featured two animated productions.
The first four Dragon Quest instalments were released for the Famicom and Nintendo Entertainment System in Japan and North America, respectively. The first two instalments were released in Japan on the Famicom and ported that same year to the MSX; all four games have been remade for newer systems. Dragon Quest was first released in Japan on May 27, 1986, and in North America as Dragon Warrior in August 1989. Dragon Quest II Akuryō no Kamigami was released in Japan in 1987 and in North America in 1990 as Dragon Warrior II. Dragon Quest III Soshite Densetsu e... was released in Japan in 1989 and North America as Dragon Warrior III in 1992. Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen was released in Japan in 1990 and in North America in 1992 as Dragon Warrior IV. A 2001 Japanese PlayStation remake of Dragon Warrior IV scheduled for the North American market was never released. The Nintendo DS remake of Dragon Quest IV was released in North America, Europe, and Australia under its original translated title; the European release removed the number from the title.
Two games were released for the Super Famicom: Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride in 1992 and Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation in 1995; both have been re-released on newer systems. Dragon Quest V was originally scheduled for release in North America but was canceled amid rumours that Enix had given up on the American market. No official reason was ever given. The Nintendo DS remakes were released in North America with Dragon Quest V also being released in Europe and Australia, the latter without the numbering. One game was released for the PS1: Dragon Quest VII: Eden no Senshi-tachi in 2000 in Japan and 2001 in North America under the title Dragon Warrior VII. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2004 in Japan, 2005 in North America, and 2006 in Europe and Australia, again without the number in the title for Europe. Dragon Quest VIII was the first game in the series to be released in North America under the title of Dragon Quest, and the first European release of a main series game. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies, the only game in the series initially released on the Nintendo DS, was originally released in 2009 in Japan, and in 2010 in North America, Europe, and Australia. Dragon Quest X was announced for the Wii in December 2008. In September 2011, Square Enix announced that Dragon Quest X would also be released on the Wii U, with Nintendo 3DS connectivity. It is the first MMORPG in the series, and the only numbered Dragon Quest game not released outside Japan.Dragon Quest XI was released in Japan on July 29, 2017, and released worldwide on September 4, 2018.
Every Dragon Quest game is told primarily through the eyes of a Hero named by the player, usually a prophesied "Chosen One" or a similar concept that requires him to rise against a new evil. Often, this evil is a Dragonlord or some kind of demon, but invariably wishes to take over the world and enslave or destroy humanity. Unlike other games in the genre, which have since the turn of the century begun to take on more of a science fiction slant, Dragon Quest tends to lean more towards traditional fantasy, with medieval technology and trappings. With certain exceptions, most games take place in a world distinct from every other; there is next to no direct continuity between instalments, with each game taking place in a world envisioned from the ground up ad hoc.
However, Dragon Quest I-III and IV-VI can be considered related through their storytelling. II is a direct sequel to the original game, while III is a prequel that effectively makes a trilogy; IV, V, and VI each feature the Zenithia castle as an important plot element, and so fans have come to call them the "Zenithia Trilogy." However, Yuji Horii has stated that this second group was never intended to be related.
Magic is frequently an important element, as both an in-battle ability of player-controlled characters and the cause of various world-shaking events.
As a pioneer in the RPG realm, Dragon Quest games have a reputation for being "bread and butter" representatives of the genre. The player advances through the game by carrying out predetermined actions directly related to the progression of the plot, such as collecting a key item or defeating a particular antagonist. Usually, one of his first orders of business is to gather a party of like-minded warriors to join him on his quest. As the party traverses the landscape and various dungeons, they will be forced to fight (or, if they choose, flee from) enemies based on a "random encounter" system. Later in the game, the party often acquires improved transportation that may allow them to avoid such skirmishes. Battles are turn-based; the player delivers combat instructions each turn from an in-battle menu system. Some games feature AI that sees all party members but the Hero character responding to situations based on various factors at hand, sometimes including general orders such as "Attack ferociously" or "Go all-out with magic."
Defeating enemy characters yields experience points (EXP). When a certain number of EXP has been accumulated, the character levels up and becomes stronger, improving in a number of areas represented by statistical values that affect their performance on the battlefield. This system means that if a player finds any part of a Dragon Quest game too difficult, he can simply fight against weaker enemies until he becomes strong enough to have an easier time of it.
Dragon Quest is, overall, a fairly lighthearted and humorous series that was likely not intended to be taken too seriously.
Games in the Dragon Quest franchise
- Dragon Quest (1986, Famicom)
- Dragon Quest II: Luminaries of the Legendary Line (1987, Famicom)
- Dragon Quest III: Seeds of Salvations (1988, Famicom)
- Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen (1990, Famicom; 2007, Nintendo DS)
- Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (1992, Super Famicom; 2008, Nintendo DS)
- Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation (1995, Super Famicom; 2010, Nintendo DS)
- Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past (2000, PlayStation; 2013, Nintendo 3DS)
- Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (2004, PlayStation 2; 2015, Nintendo 3DS)
- Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (2009, Nintendo DS)
- Dragon Quest X (2012, Nintendo Wii)
- Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (2017, Nintendo 3DS (JAPAN ONLY), PlayStation 4; 2018, PC)
- Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition (2019, Nintendo Switch)
- Dragon Quest Monsters (1998, Game Boy Color)
- Torneko: The Last Hope (1999, PlayStation)
- Dragon Quest Monsters 2: Ruka's Journey (2001, Game Boy Color)
- Dragon Quest Monsters 2: Iru's Adventure (2001, Game Boy Color)
- Dragon Quest Monsters: Caravan Heart (2003, Game Boy Advance)
- Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (2005, Nintendo DS)
- Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker (2006, Nintendo DS)
- Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors (2007, Nintendo Wii)
- Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 (2010, Nintendo DS)
- Fortune Street (2011, Nintendo Wii)
- Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below (2015, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC)
- Dragon Quest Heroes 2: Twin Kings and the Prophecy's End (2016, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita; 2017, PC)
A luminary hero class known as Eleven from Dragon Quest XI, was confirmed in an Nintendo Direct at E3 to be represented as a DLC Fighter, with the Palette Swap Characters (Eight from Dragon Quest VIII, Solo from Dragon Quest IV, and Arusu (later renamed Erdrick) from Dragon Quest III), for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate alongside with Banjo & Kazooie from said series.