Square Enix announced today during a press conference in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo the development of their next numbered Dragon Quest: Dragon Quest X: Mezameshi Itsutsu no Shuzoku Online (that can be translated to something of n the lines of “The Awakening of the Five Races“). The game is scheduled for release in 2012 (in Japan) on the Wii. A release on the Wii U is also planned, but no date has been announced for that one. Unspecified connectivity features with the 3DS have also been hinted at.
The official site for the game is already open, and can be found here.
At the moment we don’t know for sure if the game will be a full fledged MMORPG or a more limited cooperative Online RPG, but there’s a hint to possible recurring fees (still TBA) on the official site, which might indicate the first option as the correct one.
The game will feature an extensive storyline, in perfect traditional Dragon Quest fashion.
While the Dragon Quest X is being designed internally at Square Enix, unlike the previous installments of the series, almost all the usual Dragon Quest names are present, like general director Yuji Hori and game director Jin Fujisawa, character designer Akira Toriyama (almost worshipped, even if most definitely not by me, for the Dragonball Series) and composer Koichi Sugiyama. The title will be produced by Yusuke Saito (Nier).
Players will be able to chose between the titular five races (ogre, elf, dwarf, pukuripo, and wedi) and to fully customize their character.
Contents of the game will be constantly updated in typical MMORPG fashion, with the addition of new classes, quests and even seasonal events (new year and Halloween have been specifically named as examples). An USB memory stick will be needed, probably to store updates and patches.
Despite the nature of the game, accessibility and easy gameplay are a focus for the team, as players will be able to play solo as much as they like, feeling free to log in and out whenever they like, adressing some of the issues many gamers focused on single player games normally have with MMORPGs.
All the Wii control schemes will be supported, including Wiimote+Nunchuck, Classic Controller and Classic Controller Pro. USB keyboards will also be supported even if it’s not known if it will be just for communication or also as a proper control scheme.
Player housing has also been announced as a feature that will be present at launch, including the ability to decorate and customize one’s abode and to invite friends inside to have fun together. A full-fledged crafting system will be included as well.
A beta test phase is scheduled to be announced soon. You can see a screenshot and a few pictures of the slides of the presentation in the gallery below, alongside two video clips of the presentation itself and the first trailer.