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In 1989, 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 service department.

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.

For years 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.

The 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 ones.

Dragon Warrior Monsters 2: Cobi's Journey and Tara's Adventure
Dragon Warrior I+II GBC
Dragon Warrior III GBC
Torneko: The Last Hope

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