MUSINGS: Square Enix’s Dragon Quest Logic Stupidity

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

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Dragon Quest X

There’s a radio show I used to listen to a while back. They had a segment called “People are Stupid” in which they talked about some of the stupid things that at least one particular person did recently. While it was a sports talk show, the people they would talk about would generally be normal people outside of sports that just did dumb things. But, with this being a video game site, while we could do a thing like this, we should probably stick to gaming companies.

…Oh, hello Square Enix. Fancy seeing you here.

Well, I guess it would make sense that a company that is quite confounding with its logic would make it onto an article talking about stupidity.

Dragon Quest VIII

Here’s the story: In an interview with Polygon at E3, series Executive Producer Yuu Miyake talked about the possibility of games like Dragon Quest VII 3DS, Dragon Quest VIII 3DS, and Dragon Quest X coming to Western regions. From Polygon:

“We want to get them out here,” Miyake said. “We really do! The Dragon Quest games are very text-heavy, so the time and the cost it takes to localize these and do it well is quite something. Business-wise, we have to think quite hard whether we’ll make that money back from localizing to North America. It’s always been a difficult decision. But the more you tell us, the louder the voices, the more likely we are to do it.”

While this has been the go-to statement for getting games like this over, this isn’t too ridiculous. Localizing a text-heavy game takes a lot of resources to get right. Just ask XSEED Games.

Dragon Quest Heroes - Maya

But then Miyake takes an illogical jump off the cliff, saying how sales of Dragon Quest Heroes would determine localizations of future Dragon Quest games.

“We’re really using this as a kind of opening up of the market,” he explained. “We can gauge whether the American people might want to go back after Heroes and see some of the other Dragon Quest games. Hopefully we could use that as leverage to get those out over here.”

Because that’s how business works. Gauge interest in three games by using sales from a spin-off that’s on a completely different console from a completely different company that more than likely has a completely different fanbase. You know, instead of comparing how sales went with the predecessor of the console those game would come out on (Dragon Quest IX sold about 1.25 million in the West with both major regions selling over 600,000; both Dragon Quest IV and VI topped 300,000 each with North America topping 200,000 both times). Or even how an RPG of similar style did on the same console (Bravely Default sold over 400,000 copies in North America and about 650,000 total in the West).

To quote the late George Carlin, “This is pretty f***ing stupid.”

Dragon Quest Heroes - Terry

The stupidity gets worse, but not for Square Enix. In case you’re not already off somewhere else trying to argue against the logic that Miyake tried to offer, here’s something you may have missed.

The interview with Miyake was done at E3, which we mentioned earlier. However, the article in question didn’t go public until July 6th. Now, it’s not the date I have an issue with. As a matter of fact, I’ve been trying to get a Top 10 E3 2015 moments article together but haven’t completed it yet for a few reason. But the issue I take is this: the article comes out after series creator Yuji Horii let it slip that the 3DS ports of Dragon Quest VII and VIII are being worked on in French, pretty much cementing that the games are coming westward. And there is nothing about it in the Polygon story.

Apparently, rethinking video game journalism also means staying behind the main storyline. Next time Polygon, be aware of continuity.

Dragon Quest VII - Japanese Box Art

As for Square Enix, in case my sarcasm was lost on them, let me say it clearly. You cannot use sales for a game — a spin-off game at that — on a console from one company to determine the fate of a game on a console from a completely different company. For one, console companies have their own cult of personality that continues with them from one console to the next. It takes something drastic for them to make the jump to a different company (see Xbox One DRM debacle). And frankly, gamers — even the most hardcore of us — don’t have all the consoles because this is an expensive hobby — which is something you should know very well seeing as how monetary concerns are the reason you haven’t brought over numerous JRPGs despite the demand for said JRPGs.

And you can’t use sales for a spin-off title to determine viability for a mainline game. That’s like saying people don’t like football just because they don’t watch the Arena Football League. Besides, it seems a bit unfair for the series when you’re determining sales based on a crossover with a series that has flooded the market with extreme over-saturation — with its last mainline game selling just over 100,000 in North America and needing the strength of a mega-franchise like Zelda to move over 460,000 units in the same region for a recent spin-off.

For those wanting to argue that Dragon Quest Heroes could match those numbers over here, try this on for size: the game currently has sold about 460,000 units in Japan after being on the market since February. And it’s no longer in the Media Create Top 50. This is in a region that regularly tops 3 million for sales of new mainline Dragon Quest games (save for the MMO Dragon Quest X) as well as over 1 million for remakes.

Dragon Quest Heroes - Maya

And for those that are on the fence about this game, don’t buy it if you’re just looking to see the other games get localized. They are coming — so says Yuji Horii. Buy it if you’re interested in this type of gameplay or someone convinces you to buy the game. But don’t buy it if someone is trying to bully you into doing so.

About Jeff Neuenschwander

Jeff has been a supporter of the website and campaign since the beginning. Joining in for E3 2012, he worked his way up the ranks quickly, making it to the Editing Manager post at the beginning of 2013. Jeff has a wide variety of tastes when it comes to gaming and pretty much likes anything that is quirky, although his favorite genres are Action, Platforming, and RPG. Outside of gaming, Jeff is a musician, being trained as a trombonist for Jazz and Classical music, and holds a degree in Sound Recording.