Eight years have passed since the release of a single player mainline Dragon Quest game, and it has been a whopping thirteen years since the last time a numbered game of the series hit a home console.
In the past, major releases had the power to make Japanese gamers line up around the black, while Dragon Quest launches caused serious “sickness” outbreaks among local salarymen.
Nowadays the relative decline of console gaming in favor of mobile, the gradual acceptance of digital distribution, and the spreading of online shopping, all contributed to make big lines in front of game stores the exception more than the rule.
Yet, Dragon Quest still has the power to do it. Today Dragon Quest XI finally launched in Japan for PS4 and 3DS, and Japanese gamers and salarymen did leave home early to grab the game. Some popular stores even opened earlier (most at 7 AM) in order to let people get their hands on the coveted boxes as soon as possible.
Twitter user ﾂﾙﾐﾛﾎﾞ was out in Akihabara, Tokyo this morning, and had a count at 7 AM.
Sofmap had 50 people in line, BIC Camera had 24, Gamers had 30, Bellesalle had 60, Touken Ranbu had 15, and Yodobashi Akiba, which is normally the “go to” place for this kind of things, had a whopping 200 people in line.
Other reports mention about 200 people in line at BIC Camera in Ikebukuro and 100 at Yodobashi Camera in Shinjuku.
＂ドラゴンクエストⅪ 過ぎ去りし時を求めて＂発売、秋葉原のようす。あさ7:00販売開始時にはヨドバシAkibaに約200人が列をつくる。早朝、秋葉原の街にファンファーレが鳴り響いた pic.twitter.com/j8tRqb1HHz
— ﾂﾙﾐﾛﾎﾞ (@kaztsu) July 28, 2017
行列：ドラクエ ソフAM館＝50人、ビックカメラ＝24人、ヨドバシAkiba＝約200人、ラブライブ ゲーマーズ＝30人、花慶 ベルサール秋葉原＝60人、刀剣乱舞 アキバCOビル＝15人（7:00頃） pic.twitter.com/bp7pwzCppR
— ﾂﾙﾐﾛﾎﾞ (@kaztsu) July 28, 2017
Below you can see more views on the lines, captured by Twitter users MASA@FGOイベ28参戦 (who shows the forming queue at the side entrance of Yodobashi Akiba at 4:52 AM), ✩nobu=ノブ, まさと, and ガジェット通信（公式）, on top of Producer Yosuke Saito himself.
— MASA@FGOイベ28参戦 (@MASA_ANINYU) July 28, 2017
— ✩nobu=ノブ (@nobuphoto7895) July 28, 2017
— まさと (@masato_furuya) July 28, 2017
— ガジェット通信（公式） (@getnewsfeed) July 29, 2017
— 齊藤陽介 Yosuke Saito (@SaitoYosuke_Z) July 29, 2017
The line may not be as long as those we saw eight years ago, but those were different times. Dragon Quest hasn’t yet lost its touch.
Series creator Yuji Horii himself left a message on Twitter thanking fans for the support, as you can see below.
【 #勇者はじめました 】『ドラゴンクエストXI 過ぎ去りし時を求めて』本日7月29日、発売！！！
— ドラゴンクエスト宣伝担当 (@DQ_PR) July 28, 2017
“Everyone, thank you for the release! It’s a new adventure! This is Horii. Thank you for your support. “
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this launch will let us test the pulse of the console market in Japan. There is probably no game that carries that flag more than Dragon Quest XI, releasing at the same time for the most popular home and portable consoles in the country. On Wednesday, when the Media Create sales charts will be out, we’ll have our verdict.
In the meanwhile, you can watch the first three hours of gameplay on PS4, some remote play gameplay on PS Vita, out a recent TV commercial of the PS4 version, 45 minutes of gameplay, the spectacular opening prologue video, more commercials starring celebrities, new screenshots highlighting the story, and more footage displaying riding monsters. You can also download a lovely PS4 theme for free.
Dragon Quest XI is currently available in Japan for PS4 and 3DS, and will get a Switch version at a yet unspecified time down the line. Its western localizatioon has been announced earlier today, for platforms yet unknown.