(Warning: This article contains a spoiler for the true ending of Dragon Quest XI)
Earlier this month, I wrote about how Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age renewed my interest in the main series. Something I didn’t mention, however, was how I’d like to see an older Dragon Quest game use the modern engine that Dragon Quest XI uses. The true ending of Dragon Quest XI teases this by having a fully remade scene which replicates the start of Dragon Quest III. It has not yet been confirmed if a full-on remake is happening, but it – along with a few others – have a great chance at being remade for a new audience.
Remakes of the older titles in the franchise are nothing new, as many have been ported to and/or remade and enhanced for later platforms. The most recent examples of this would be Dragon Quest VII and Dragon Quest VIII for Nintendo 3DS — which were originally on PlayStation and PlayStation 2, respectively. Creator Yuji Hori himself even said recently that he’d like to make a new version of Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies for smartphones — originally released for Nintendo DS in 2009 in Japan and internationally in 2010, and While producers Yosuke Saito and Yuu Miyake mentioned the possibility of an internationally released offline version of Dragon Quest X :Rise of the Five Tribes, which is a Japan exclusive MMORPG released for Wii, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PC, Android in 2012, and will soon be on Nintendo Switch. There are a few older titleswhich I think would be best for a modernized remake, three in the mainline series in particular that I could see being made in the next few years.
Dragon Quest III: Seeds of Salvation seems like it will be the most likely to receive the modern remake treatment, after the tease shown in Dragon Quest XI. When first released in Japan for the NES in 1988, it sold about one million copies just in one day, and together with the sales of remakes for Super Nintendo, Game Boy Color, and smartphones, it became the best selling title in the series as well as one of the best selling RPGs in Japan. The story focuses on a legendary hero named Erdrick (Loto in Japan) and serves as a prequel to the previous two games, as well as the first to feature character classes, known as vocations (with nine in total). Dragon Quest III wasn’t only well received in Japan, but also in North America, where it was known as Dragon Warrior III.
Peter Sellers of IGN gave the Game Boy Color version a perfect 10 out of 10 and stated “Dragon Warrior III stands apart from the multitude, a shining example of what the definitive role-playing experience on the GBC should be. Simply put, this is one of those must-have games in your game library.” while Brad Shoemaker of GameSpot gave it a 7.6 and said, “Serious role-players will appreciate this throwback to the RPG days of yore, but if you know you don’t like the console RPG experience, steer clear.” and later clarified that, “In short, Dragon Warrior III knows its audience, and for a game that originally came out over a decade ago, it’s doing pretty well.”With its history of success and positive reception, it’s no surprise that Dragon Quest XI had been alluding to it and shows a new version of the classic opening scene. Hopefully, a modern remake is what’s planned, but if not there are still a few other routes they could go with a modern remake of an older title.
Despite the fact that at this point a remake of Dragon Quest III seems the most likely, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be made or that other older titles couldn’t get modern remakes as well. One remake that I think could be interesting is a modern interpretation of the very first Dragon Quest (originally known as Dragon Warrior outside of Japan). Since you only control one character in this debut title, it could work better as a semi-open-world action RPG rather than a turn-based one, and with games like Dragon Quest Heroes I & II, the franchise is no stranger to the genre. In Dragon Quest, the hero is never attacked by more than one enemy at a time, but turning this title into more of an action game in a similar vein to the footage we’ve seen from the upcoming Final Fantasy VII remake, could be a great way to modernize it. Of course, since the main series of Dragon Quest has always stuck to tradition, this change could be much harder for older fans to accept or for the developers to produce, but maybe it would be easier if other characteristics such as style a music, were still kept intact. I think a modern turn-based RPG with a one character party could be seen as boring in this day and age, so maybe it is better avoided
The third, and final main series Dragon Quest title I think would be worthwhile for a modern remake is Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, which originally released for the Super Nintendo in 1992 in Japan, with a PlayStation 2 remake in 2004, and an internationally released Nintendo DS remake in 2009. I’ve mentioned in previous articles that Dragon Quest V was the first JRPG to feature the ability to recruit monsters to the player’s party, but that’s not the only reason I think it deserves a modern remake. Dragon Quest V follows a character — his official name being Abel — through three stages of his life, as a child, a young man, and an adult. He gains a few temporary party members along the way, but they’re only available during certain parts of the story, meaning that besides Abel and the monsters he has recruited, the party is constantly changing. Besides killing off some characters, I’ve never seen any other JRPGs do something like this and I think a modern recreation of this would be great for JRPG fans who want to experience something that’s a bit of a departure from the status quo.
The older Dragon Quest titles that could receive a modern remake aren’t just limited to these three, however, and plenty of others are well deserving of one. Personally, I’d love to see an internationally released Dragon Quest Monsters remake for Nintendo Switch which borrows the framework of Dragon Quest XI — especially since the PlayStation and Nintendo 3DS remakes of the original Game Boy Color Dragon Quest Monsters duology were never released outside of Japan. Whatever the case, I hope more players all over the world get to give the Dragon Quest series a chance and that they’ll become new fans thanks to remakes and international releases.