In 2019, Nintendo is giving fans of Super Smash Bros. what they’ve wanted for years: Playable characters from Akira Toriyama’s (best known as the creator of Dragon Ball) RPG series, Dragon Quest. Oh, and Nintendo also added Banjo-Kazooie. Truly, the holidays have come early.
During the Nintendo Direct for E3, the Japanese gaming publisher unveiled the next downloadable content (DLC) for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It is yet another third-party character: “The Hero” from the 1989 role-playing game Dragon Quest, published by Enix (now Square Enix) on the NES. Additional skins include other characters from the games, including Erdrick, the protagonist of Dragon Quest III whom fans have visibly wanted in Super Smash Bros. the most.
Nintendo also confirmed the protagonists from Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen, Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, and Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age are playable as swappable skins. All the Dragon Quest content will be included in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate “later this summer.”
But who is Erdrick? And who is “The Hero”? Allow us to explain.
“The Hero,” the primary inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that Nintendo revealed today, is the protagonist of the NES game, Dragon Quest, released in the U.S. in 1989. He is named as such because, in true JRPG fashion, gamers are allowed to name their player avatars however they wish. Because of this, he is plainly named “The Hero” in official Dragon Quest material.
“The Hero” is a descendant of the legendary warrior Erdrick, who freed the Kingdom of Alefgard from darkness. This continued in Dragon Quest II, which starred an ensemble of characters who also descended from Erdrick and had to hear other characters talk about how awesome Erdrick was so long ago.
Finally, in Dragon Quest III released in the U.S. in 1992, players took control of another unnamed character (which players had the option of playing as either male or female). By the end, it’s revealed that players had been Erdrick all along, when their character is crowned the title “Erdrick” (“Loto” in Japan). They then pass down their armor and weapons for future generations.
In case you forgot to keep score: The timeline goes Dragon Quest III, Dragon Quest, and then Dragon Quest II, with the third as a prequel to the first.
When it comes to rumors for Smash Bros., it’s hard to find where they begin. But the demand for Dragon Quest has existed for quite awhile now, with users on SmashBoards — a community forum for Super Smash Bros. fans — advocating heavily on behalf of Erdrick. One thread dating back to 2008 has over 120 pages of fans talking about Erdrick’s potential inclusion. That number will only rise now that the character’s presence is official.
But why do Dragon Quest fans want Erdrick so much? It is perhaps because Erdrick looms over the whole series, even when they aren’t in the games themselves. Despite not having a single mascot to represent the franchise like Sonic or Solid Snake, Erdrick is the closest thing.
Cool backstory aside, is Dragon Quest even popular enough to merid at Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC? Not in the U.S., which fans acknowledge. But in Japan, it’s one of the most popular video games of all time. Writes SmashBoards user Teeb147, who started the thriving thread topic:
“Never heard of it? That’s not too surprising. The game largely flew under the radar in the States, as it was released towards the end of the Nintendo Entertainment System’s lifespan. Not only that, it was a time in which nobody really knew what a JRPG was, much less cared about it. The genre didn’t really become popular in the States until later Final Fantasy games were released, so most Westerners have never played Dragon Quest III. Japan? That’s a different story.”
With today’s Nintendo Direct, Dragon Quest fans finally got their biggest wish. And that’s only one of them: Banjo-Kazooie, the protagonist from the acclaimed platform games by Rare, was also revealed as the next character to be released later this fall after the addition of the Dragon Quest dudes. That means there’s two more empty slots yet to be revealed in Nintendo’s planned DLC rollout. Who could they be? At this point, it’s anyone’s guess.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is available now. The game’s Dragon Quest DLC arrives this summer.