RetroVision – Glimpse Into The Inner Makings of Dragon Quest

To put it simply, Dragon Quest is one of the most important games ever made, both on a global level, and especially when looking at Japan’s history. Not only did it begin Japan’s longstanding love affair with the now termed JRPG genre, but it’s also credited as having heavily influenced other leading Japanese RPGs, such as Final Fantasy and Secret of Mana. Quite honestly you don’t get much bigger than Dragon Quest.

Nevertheless, despite being such an iconic title, it seems we’re still learning about how it became what it is today. In fact, only recently series creator Yuji Horii himself, offered gaming fans worldwide a chance to take a deeper look into the inner workings of Dragon Quest, with this coming via his own personal Twitter account @YujiHorii. Here Horii offered the world a look at some of the original Dragon Quest concept materials, which include not only map sketchings, but also original dialogue scripts.

Yuji Horii with Slime
Yuji Horii holding the famous Dragon Quest Slime mascot.

That’s not all, as Horii even went on to add some insight into the making of these documents too. For example he explained that all of Dragon Quest’s first stages were first drawn out on paper before being transferred into the game. A similar process to that of Shigeru Miyamoto’s whilst he was originally designing Super Mario Bros.

Moreover, Horii also revealed that all of the game’s original dialogue was written out by hand to begin with. He even goes as far as to apologise via Twitter for the state of the documents he is revealing by stating:

下手な字で、すいません。 (Apologies for the messy handwriting.)

All in all, it may be small but it’s definitely worth seeing, and can be viewed in full below:

Dragon Quest Maps
Original concept art for the map of Tangel castle. Purple denotes “barrier” areas, whilst much of the rest can be made out without the need for Japanese knowledge. This is especially true if you’ve played the game.
Dragon Quest Scripts
Images of Dragon’s Quest’s original Japanese script, handwritten by Yuji Horii himself.

This may not be the entire making of Dragon Quest, but any insight is a welcome one. Much like when Miyamoto recently revealed Super Mario Bros.’s original template designs as a part of Super Mario’s 30th Anniversary. So enjoy taking a look at what is quite honestly a priceless piece of gaming history. What’s more, keep your eyes peeled as later in the week I will be taking a deeper look into the development of Dragon Quest, as we build up to the game’s 30th Anniversary this May.

Simon Aubrey Drake

A lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that I've written a thesis on one and lived in the other. Currently on a quest to catch every last Pokémon. Follow me on twitter via @DudeXChill or @RingsandCoins.

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