Square Enix's latest batch of Dragon Quest VIII information focuses on the question of transportation. Field maps in are in full 3-D, and "spread as far as the eye can see." However, when players are in a hurry, they can hire a four-footed mount called a "Killer Panther."
That may sound like a monster name, but apparently these giant cats double as docile mounts. To get a Killer Panther, the player will have to talk to a man named "Karachi" and complete his trial. Riding a Killer Panther is much faster than walking, and they may be able to reach places the player couldn't get to on foot.
Killer Panthers make great land transportation. However, they're still cats, and cats aren't known for swimming. To cross oceans, the player will need a boat--and there is one ready for use, large enough for the entire cast. Hop on board and the screen will pull back far enough for the player to see and pilot the whole ship. There are a number of strangely-shaped islands to explore.
There is no definite word on air transportation. However, one mystery screen suggests that flight isn't impossible.
Square Enix also introduced three monsters the player will encounter on the high seas. The one-eyed Seamaider can use magic to heal its companions. The Pugfish has the body of a blowfish and the face of a pig. Like most blowfish, it reportedly contains deadly poisons. The Killer Anchor can deal out heavy hits, or perhaps even wind a victim in its chains and drag him/her under the waves.
Dragon Quest VIII is scheduled for release in Japan on November 27. There is still no word on a North American release.