Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies


Key events

Games have been attempting to make us feel like we're exploring a living cartoon for a large part of the medium's history, and some have achieved spectacular results. The Wind Waker-style Zeldas seem more suited to their expressive, beguilingly childish look with every instalment. Level-5's colourful, lively worlds are often bursting with animated verve, whether in Dragon Quest and Rogue Galaxy's animé cel-shading or Professor Layton's more laid-back but equally distinctive style.

StarCraft II US sales monstrous

StarCraft II US sales monstrous

Best-selling game in July.

Blizzard's science fiction real-time strategy game StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty obliterated sales of all other games released in the US in July, NPD said.

It sold an eye-watering 721,000 units at retail. StarCraft II was released on 27th July, so those sales were achieved in just five days.

StarCraft II is the fastest-selling strategy game ever.

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Horii: Attitudes to games have changed

Where once "people wanted to stone me".

Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii has said that one of the biggest changes he's noticed over his long career is the way mainstream media feels about videogames.

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

A young woman who works tirelessly to honour her father's memory by making the inn she inherited a success. A knight caught in purgatory under a witch's spell that, down the generations, has cruelly kept him from his one true love, her memory now limited to a likeness in a distant descendent. A village brought to its knees by sickness, its mayor wheezing desperate cries for help.

The stories found within the latest Dragon Quest are as straightforward as they are affecting. While Final Fantasy has swung between overcooked Tolkien epic and sci-fi fantasy over its 20 years, Dragon Quest has never aspired to more than the fairytale yarn. Placed somewhere between Grimm and Disney in terms of narrative light and shade, its creator Yuji Horii is a masterful storyteller, and his ostensibly simple fables pack more sincerity and weight than games with 20 times their ambition.

Dragon Quest IX - a game in which you guide an angel who has lost its wings to bring redemption and help to lost, broken humans, in the hope that their gratitude may sprout him new ones - is his best work yet. A perfect storm of creative input, it pairs Horii with the warm touch of Professor Layton developer Level-5, the inspired translation work of Square Enix's best localization team, and the DS hardware itself. The result is a JRPG less concerned with gimmickry than articulating, in perfect balance, the things which always made the genre irresistible for those with eyes to see.

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DQIX inspired by Oblivion, Diablo

Not part of JRPG genre, insists producer.

Inbound Japanese role-playing game Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies was inspired by some unlikely candidates: Bethesda's Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Blizzard's Diablo.

Eurogamer DQIX review inbound

Eurogamer DQIX review inbound

Verdict due 2pm BST on Friday.

Eurogamer's review of monster Japanese RPG Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies will be published at 2pm BST tomorrow.

DQIX, due out on 23rd July for the DS, sold a whopping 4.26 million copies in Japan, where it was given top marks by regional magazine Famitsu.

Dragon Quest IX picks up the series where the PS2 left off. You will create your own hero and grow them over the course of the adventure, discovering over 1000 pieces of clothing, items, weapons and armour. Companions can be customised too.

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Japan chart: DQIX swoops past 3m sales

Japan chart: DQIX swoops past 3m sales

As Monster Hunter Tri prepares to ruin party.

Dragon Quest IX swoops past 3m Japanese sales and tops the software chart for a third consecutive week, according to Media Create data.

The DS-exclusive - which received a perfect 40/40 review from regional magazine Famitsu - dwarfs competition by selling 270,000 units - taking its lifetime total to 3.2m sales.

Its reign is expected to end abruptly with the Japanese launch of Wii-exclusive Monster Hunter Tri tomorrow, however. And many believe the Capcom game can also trump DQIX's gigantic opening-week sales of 2.9m units, too.

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FeatureComing Attractions: MMOs & RPGs

Taking 2009 to another level.

This week we've already guided you through the coming year's hot picks for Indie and Esoterica and Sports and Music games. Still to come are Fighting, Strategy, Action, Adventure, Shooters and Racing. But today we're looking at two sectors with the same dice-rolling roots that are heading in more than two different directions in 2009 - role-playing games (RPGs), and massively multiplayer online games (MMOs).

More Dragon Quest for DS

VI, V, VI confirmed.

Square Enix has confirmed that the DS will be treated to even more Dragon Quest, in the form of spruced-up versions of IV, V, and VI.

Handhelds dominating - Squenix

Next-gen consoles too speccy.

Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada has explained the thinking behind his company's decision to make the next instalment in the hit Dragon Quest series exclusive to Nintendo DS, GamesIndustry reports.

Dragon Quest IX on DS

Series switches platforms.

Dragon Quest IX will be a Nintendo DS title, and is due out sometime in 2007, Square Enix has announced in Japan.