Nintendo of America decided to bring Dragon Quest over for
thousands of American players to enjoy. The role playing game company
TSR already had a trademark on the name "Dragon Quest",
so the title had to be changed to "Dragon Warrior".
In winter of 1989, there was a big push to turn players on to this
"new type of game". Nintendo of America representative
Howard Phillips was one of the game's strongest supporters and there
was even a campaign that gave players a free copy for subscribing
to the company's official magazine, Nintendo Power.
Back in the late 80's and early 90's,
the gaming world was very different than it is today. Games were
geared towards kids and early teens. So, a few things in Dragon
Quest were changed to fit the American audience. All the swear
words and mature content was removed. Some of the dialogue was rewritten
in Middle English to give the game a more medieval feel. These were
the pre-Dragon Ball days and Akira Toriyama's box art and
character designs were replayed with a classic fantasy art style.
Many purists believed the changes ruined
the game, but that's not necessarily true. Nintendo's work improved
DQ's overall quality. All of the character sprites were redrawn
to face different directions when they moved. The world map was
also changed by rounding off some of the edges and adding a shore.
Dragon Warrior became fairly
popular. It was popular enough for the second, third, and fourth
games to be given the green light for localization. In Dragon
Warrior II, the localization task was handed over to the game's
publisher, Enix. Enix continued on to translate and publish Dragon
Warrior III and IV. They also held essay contests, giveaways,
and put out a monthly newsletter written by Rob, their customer
Through the early 90's, Enix had success
with many games such as the Dragon Warrior, Actraiser,
and Soul Blazer series. In 1996 Enix decided to close their
American office in Redmond, Washington. Dragon Warrior V
was close to being halfway completed and even had a release date
set back in '92. But, the work suddenly ended and no explanation
was ever given. Why Enix continued releasing games in the SNES era
without Dragon Warrior remains a mystery. When Dragon
Quest VI was released, Nintendo even considered picking it up
again but it sadly fell through.
the only ways American fans could play new DQ games were importing
or emulation. In late '99, Enix decided to sign a publishing deal
with Eidios Interactive and cast Revive on the brand with Dragon
Warrior Monsters. It was released in late January 2000 and was
enjoyed by the long time fans and the new, younger Pokémon
crowd. Soon after, Enix reestablished themselves in America and
announced their new line up. In the fall of 2000, Enix released
Dragon Warrior 1+2 for Game Boy and Torneko: The Last
Hope (Torneko 2 in Japan) for Playstation. Dragon
Warrior 1+2 had strong sales and many publications gave it near
perfect reviews. Torneko wasn't so lucky. It received many lukewarm
reviews and was a little difficult to find in stores.
However, with strong Game Boy sales
Enix then gave us Dragon Warrior III. The announcement of
the Game Boy Color port of the 1996 Super Famicom hit was made just
a few days before its Japanese release in December 2000. They also
tamed the monster tamers hunger with Dragon Warrior Monsters
2. In the fall of 2000, Enix of Japan and Famitsu magazine announced
that Dragon Quest VII was going to be unsealed and sent overseas.
They stated that due to the religious content, it would be given
a Xenogears-ish translation. Enix of America did not confirm
anything until early 2001 when they ran a series of small Flash
movie teasers on their web site. On November 1, 2001 Dragon Warrior
VII hit the shelves and fans rejoiced. Little did we all know,
it would be the last Dragon Warrior title America would see.
Playstation remake of Dragon Warrior IV was on track for
a 2002 release but the title's Japanese developer, Heartbeat, pulled
out of the industry. Enix was left in the lurch because due the
game's complex code, Heartbeat were the only ones that could input
the translated text into the game in a timely manner. A very disappointed
and upset Enix of America had to cancel Dragon Warrior IV.
Let's just say the fans were not pleased.
Enix of America
released two non-Dragon Warrior titles, the giant robot piloting
R.A.D. and the dungeon crawling Grandia XTreme before
starting work on Star Ocean 3. Then it became the victim
of the 2002/2003 merger between Enix of Japan and Squaresoft. The
overseas staff decided that America did not need two localization
offices and Enix of America was given the pink slip. Although some
of the hardcore fans may not agree, it would be hard to find a group
of people that loved Dragon Warrior more than Enix of America.
Squaresoft also eventually had casualties when the president and
many senior members of the LA office resigned in protest upon being
downsized. They went on to form XSeed JKS and localize games such
as Wild Arms 4 and Shadow Hearts.
Since the merger,
SquareEnix's dedication to the Dragon Quest/Dragon Warrior
franchise has been questionable. Many SquareEnix employees had no
idea what Dragon Quest or Dragon Warrior was and the
customer service office flat out ignored any DQ/DW related inquiry.
Since TSR had not used the Dragon Quest name for some time,
SquareEnix purchased the rights in October 2003. But not a single
DQ game released post merger reached the western world. This upset
many fans, especially when they were denied Dragon Quest V
for the second time. In May 2005, SquareEnix announced that Dragon
Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King was to hit stores in
November 2005 with a good size PR campaign behind it. Unlike it's
Japanese counterpart, the American version features voice acting
and a new interface. We'll have to wait and see if SquareEnix has
any plans for DQ past November. We hope they'll follow in Enix's
footsteps and give us all the DQ games instead of just the pretty