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Level-5 CEO on how the company ended up developing Dragon Quest VIII

Posted on March 6, 2021 by (@gamrah) in 3DS, General Nintendo, News

Level-5 has had a storied history with many iconic series on Nintendo systems, from the Professor Layton series to Inazuma Eleven among many others. One of the company’s earliest claims to fame however was Dragon Quest VIII.

In a recent interview with Yahoo Japan, Level-5 CEO Akihiko Hino detailed the events that led the company to developing a mainline entry in the iconic franchise. After expressing his disappointment with how certain aspects of Dragon Quest VII were handled, he was challenged by a producer to take on the project himself, leading to the development of one of the series’ most iconic entries.

We’ve translated Hino’s full comments after the jump.

Hino: Right around the time we were making Dark Cloud 2, a producer spoke to me about developing something like Dragon Quest, but it wasn’t something I could take on at the time. That said, one day I was at a drinking party with said producer and listed every little thing I disapproved of in Dragon Quest VII. My deep love for the series had me rambling about every minute detail, until he eventually said ‘if you love Dragon Quest so much, why don’t you make it?’ and so I… made a Dragon Quest demo in 3D. Characters in the demo had a more realistic look compared to the cartoonish character proportions seen in previous games. When he framed it as a competition, suddenly I was interested, and things began to take off from there.

What were those ‘details’ that you spoke to the producer about?

Hino: There are very particular rules when it comes to art in Dragon Quest.  As an example, the walls of the city near the sea are gray, but the houses near the sea have blue gradations with reflections from the light of the sea. The artists who have worked on Dragon Quest for that many years really paid close attention to details like that. I held those rules close to my chest when we developed Dragon Quest VIII and IX.

Dragon Quest VIII was originally released on the PS2 as a Japanese title in 2004, followed by the west a year later. It finally appeared on a Nintendo platform when it was launched for 3DS in 2015 in Japan – though it’d take until 2017 for it to be offered in North America and Europe.

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