Square Enix has announced that Dragon Quest Builders is coming stateside this October, in time to commemorate the long-running series’ 30th anniversary (which happens to be today).
The announcement to localize Builders, a series spin-off that borrows some elements from Minecraft, comes as something of surprise. While Dragon Quest is a hugely popular series in Japan — and has quite a following overseas as well — Square Enix’ stalwart RPG series has a history of getting the shaft when it comes to western releases.
Compared to the surer sales bet of Final Fantasy, a slightly goofier (if just as mechanically dense) version of an RPG epic just wouldn’t do as well, even with Dragonball artist Akira Toriyama providing the series’ trademark visual style.
That started to potentially change in 2015, when Dynasty Warriors-style side game Dragon Quest Heroes was brought over. The developers stated during last year’s E3 that they were hoping to use Heroes as a kind of test bed to bring more Dragon Quest to the US, after a remake of PS One classic Dragon Quest VII and the MMO-designed X were passed over, among others.
Heroes hopefully puts Builders in a good spot, or at the very least one where Square Enix has decided there’s enough demand from western gamers to justify the effort needed to translate these games, given that the series is both text heavy and full of dialects of various stripes. At the same time, Minecraft sells, and the developers may be hoping the thematic similarities will help raise the appeal.
Either way, this may be good news for fans. Last summer, Square Enix held a livestreamed anniversary event where they showed off the first early footage for Dragon Quest XI, which, depending on how things shake out, could end up stateside after all. It’s possible that the Heroes’ sequel, just released in Japan, might get a localization, too.
The trend of more Japanese games getting picked up for a U.S. release – at least from a series with a following – seems to be increasing, if you look at both Dragon Quest and Sega’s Yakuza, to name a couple. Let’s hope it continues moving forward.