Dragon Quest VII was one of the biggest games of its time, a significant leap over its predecessors in terms of raw size. So when the developers at Square decided to remake it for 3DS, they ran into some issues.
For example, as Dragon Quest VII 3DS producer Noriyoshi Fujimoto explained to me during an interview at E3 this week, they had to spend an entire year just converting spec docs—documents that contained maps, dialogue, and other key information for programmers and artists to implement in the game.
“Back then, the spec docs were actually hand-written with pencil and paper,” Fujimoto said, laughing. “The spec doc archive probably went from this wall to the other, and then it took a year to make it into an electronic version. [Dragon Quests] 4, 5, and 6 were this much”—he held his hands apart a few inches—“And 7 went all the way across this room.”
“Because this was the original,” Fujimoto said, “I actually personally had to make photocopies of every single spec doc. And then so I handed those in a few little chunks to the development company, who then made them visual.” He laughed. “And then the printer broke at one point.”
That sheer size is one of the reasons Square was reluctant to bring Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past outside of Japan. The game hit Japan in 2013, but it won’t be out in the west until this September. At first, Square wasn’t even going to bring it here. It might have gone the way of Dragon Quest X and other games in the series that have remained stuck in Japan over the years.
“We actually had no plans of releasing it at first,” said franchise producer Yu Miyake. “It was because the text was so huge that considering [the] cost and time that went in, we didn’t think it was worth it. Actually a lot of core fans from France approached us, and then we received letters, not just us but the CEO of our company as well as Nintendo, and everybody else that was involved, requesting a localized version of Dragon Quest VII. They were even saying at one point that they’ll localize it themselves for us. Because of that high demand we realized we really had to do this thing.”
Part of that demand: Kotaku commenters.
“The power of fans is really what made this happen,” said Fujimoto. “Actually I went and looked at the comments of your readers, and then looked at various other media, and it was because of those voices I was able to gather them and then bring it to my boss, and it was really easy to come up with this plan.”
“So what about Dragon Quest XI?” I asked. “Is that going to come here?
“If fans want it,” Miyake said, laughing.
Time to start commenting, folks.