In the beginning, there was Dragon Quest,
the game that would change the gaming industry forever and leave a lasting mark
on the Japanese culture. The last game, Dragon Quest VI,
was released in Japan for the Super Famicom in 1996. It has been four long years,
but after numerous delays, the first Dragon Quest Playstation game has
finally arrived: Dragon Quest VII.
In order to truly appreciate what meaning this news has, one must reflect on the
impact that the Dragon Quest series has made over the years. The series had
humble beginnings, debuting on the Famicom in 1986. It can be said with reasonable
confidence that the first Dragon Quest game
started the whole Japanese RPG craze that continues to this day. Each game became
successively more popular than the previous one.
The Dragon Quest phenomena reached its most rabid point with the release of
Dragon Quest III for the Famicom in 1988.
After its release, the Japanese Diet had to make a law banning the release of a Dragon
Quest game on any day but a Sunday or a holiday. The reason for this is because
upon the release of Dragon Quest III,
many children skipped school and quite a few adults took the day off from work. Can you
say "productivity drop"? Some stores had their copies stolen by desperate fans. It's
difficult to imagine this kind of fanaticism in mainstream North America, but for the
Japanese, this is much more than just your average game series.
Taking all of this into consideration, one can only imagine the impact of
Dragon Quest VII. After being
delayed more times than one cares to count, the game has generated a thunderous
amount of buzz. Even Square has been wary of this RPG juggernaut. Final Fantasy IX
was delayed from its original February-March 2000 Japanese release date in order
to avoid colliding into the then-release date of February for Dragon Quest VII.
Due to this shift in scheduling, Square estimated its sales loss as approximately
13.8 billion yen. If Square is willing to take that much of a hit to its collective
wallet, you can bet that Dragon Quest VII
is a big deal.
Since its release on August 26th, Dragon Quest VII
has sold over 2 million copies, with another 1.2 million copies shipped late last week.
Altogether, Enix estimates approximately 3.2 million copies of the game will be sold within
its first week on sale. To better understand this, consider that the total sales thus far for
Final Fantasy IX
indicates that 2.8 million units have been sold, and Square estimates that number to reach
3 million by the end of 2000. In essence, it will take Square over six months to match what
Dragon Quest VII has done in a week. Pretty scary.
For more information on Dragon Quest VII,
check out RPGamer's impressions, courtesy of Andy
Church. To get a better handle on the impact of the Dragon Quest series on the Japanese
culture, check out this article. As
for a North America release date for Dragon Quest VII,
keep hoping. Dragon Quest VII has yet to
be announced for North America.