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.

  • Iyamtebist

    That first paragraph, gotta love it. Although i imagine hearing more about generally stupid things people say in the game industry would be quite entertaining.

  • illucio

    Yes, yes, and yes.
    I just want Dragon Quest 8 3DS port ._. I promise you idiots that you will make money, but no I don’t want to buy whatever that other game is.

    • Tara

      Not sure why you wouldn’t want the DQ7 port, too. As for how much money it will make, it won’t be “a lot of money”. It’ll break even, maybe make them a small profit. There was a time that Namco Bandai was pulling this same crap with Tales games, and then they were like “OH, THERE’S A FANBASE?” and started catering to us. Sales have actually gone up on the series as a result, because it’s actually easier to get others to play when you don’t have to fight to get a new entry localized. (Because when something doesn’t get localized by default, I think most people assume either that it’s bad, or is simply not interesting enough to care about… but when they actually say on the day after a game is launched “Oh, and you get the sequel next year!” it kinda brings mega hype.)

  • Jonathan

    It’s even worse how they decided to not localize the PS3 version who has a much bigger install base. This is just stupid on so many levels and just pisses people off. If SE really is looking at a musou game to gauge DQ than they can all fuck themselves.

    • Tara

      The other fun thing comes when you realize that it wouldn’t even be that hard for them to localize the PS3 version as well. I mean, Namco Bandai, a company that’s known to be stingy as hell on RPGs, is bringing both the PS3 and PS4 versions of Tales of Zestiria to the west, AND a PC version on Steam. Of course, the deal with DQH is, it’s actually Koei Tecmo that’s doing the work, but Squeenix is footing part of the bill, and thus getting some of the say, I would think.

    • Griever

      I’m pretty sure the only reason DQH got such a quick green light for localization is because of Koei Tecmo. I love Dragon Quest, but I won’t be buying a PS4 anytime soon. If DQH ever makes its way to Steam (which is very possible), I’ll buy it day one.

  • Nicholas Perry

    Square isn’t the only company like this either. It drives me insane.
    Crapcom does it, Nintendo does it, every company does it. It’s so backwards.

  • Griever

    I remember people saying that the sales of the mobile titles would be used to gauge interest in the series and thinking that was a little silly. Well, that makes all kinds of sense compared to this. Some of these 3ds games that people have been asking for are older than the PS4, but they expect people to buy a game from a different genre on a system they may not own just to get these games? This is getting downright disrespectful towards Dragon Quest fans.

  • Tara

    I honestly don’t understand the logic from Squeenix, either. But let’s look at it this way… when have they made any sense in the last decade+? Yeah, E3 this year, they did do the LAST thing anyone expected, but it was likely because they realized people wanted it. Only took them 10 years to figure that one out. Then you consider the “disappointing” sales of that Tomb Raider game or whatever, even though it sold 2 million copies… Squeenix exists in Bizarro World.

    Anyway, it’s like this, really… Yes, Dragon Quest has a very vocal fanbase. No, they’re not the biggest fanbase. No, you’re not going to sell a million copies of DQVII on 3DS, don’t even consider that a valid expectation. But yes, expecting a main series game to get a localization IS a reasonable expectation. (Honestly, so would the expectation of localizations of the DQM remakes, and the 3DS Rocket Slime game, but if we *HAD* to choose, I’d take VII on the 3DS any day. And for the record, with all the other crap spinoff/side games that get released for Final Fantasy, you’d think putting out a quality Dragon Quest spinoff would be a good idea. Also, mostly referring to shit like All the Bravest, that god-awful mobile port of FFVI, and while I loved the gameplay, Theatrhythm got the most unnecessary of sequels, and both were basically “LOL YOUR FAVORITE SONGS ARE ALL DLC.”)

  • AvanStrike

    Excellent article

  • TK

    All I want, have EVER wanted, are the Monsters remakes on 3DS. If it means I might even have a chance of seeing them, I’ll play the mainstream ones.