creator Yuji Horii explains that the series' design, which hasn't changed much since at least the SNES days, is one of the keys to its reign at the top of the Japanese charts, as part of a new Gamasutra feature interview
"For the Dragon Quest
series, control itself is not the main focus of the games. When we design the game, it's just like driving a car. When you're driving a car, you don't really get concerned about how you control the car itself; you just enjoy the drive. You know how to drive it without thinking about it -- that's what we're trying to do," Horii says.
The Dragon Quest
franchise has evolved in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways since its debut 25 years ago today on the Famicom (NES) system. One constant since that era, however, has been its reign at the top of the charts. Earlier this year, Square Enix announced that the latest installment, Dragon Quest IX
, shipped over 5 million copies
"My objective is to make the games intuitive and accessible for anybody. I'm the kind of person who doesn't read the manual before playing a game, so I want to make sure the game is simple, with simple controls," Horii tells Gamasutra.
Despite that, he says, "you can still have complex action, and enjoy the gameplay."
"We want to let people enjoy the content without really worrying about the control, so we keep maintaining the same kind of gameplay system people are used to playing, so they still play the game and enjoy the content," he says.
Horii went on to say he always tries to make sure the Dragon Quest
games include laugh-out-loud humor, warm human characters, and gameplay that rewards perseverance.
"We want to provide simple enjoyment for people; we don't want to make complex things for people to think about. In the real world, there are so many difficulties people are facing. Sometimes, there are no rewards. They don't get any rewards for those difficult things in life, but at least in the game, we want to make sure they will be rewarded for working hard to play the game," says Horii.
The full interview, which goes into depth in the design of the series, the success of Dragon Quest IX
, and its reception in the West, is live now on Gamasutra