Already a phenomenon in Japan, with over 4.2 million units sold, Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies, hits the UK on July 23rd and is set to be one of the biggest DS games of this or any other year.
Created by Square Enix and published in Europe by Nintendo, Dragon Quest IX bears all the hallmarks of an instant, enduring classic: a great story, customisation options, and the ability to share a near limitless experience with friends.
It’s the latest in Square Enix’s popular Dragon Quest franchise that began nearly 25 years ago on the NES. Since then the series has proven to be a massive success across Japan and has gone on to sell more than 50 million games worldwide.
“Dragon Quest IX was one of the fastest selling games of all time when it was released in Japan,” says Nintendo product manger Zoe Cooper.
“DS hardware also saw a 152 per cent rise during the same period, showing it was also attracting new customers and driving hardware sales.
“Dragon Quest IX is the first in the series to feature on the Nintendo DS, and we hope it will kick off a great new franchise across Europe following the success in Japan.”
Players and dragons
Before the adventure begins, players create their own heroes, choosing their face, hair and look to design their own individual character. Through their journey they will find over 1,000 items and equipment to customise their character still further. They can also change their ‘class’ at any time, choosing from a variety of vocations that will influence their abilities and strengths.
Gamers play as the guardian of a city who is sent to retrieve the fruits of a sacred tree that can grant wishes. As they travel the world, an epic storyline begins to reveal itself, with fearsome monsters to be conquered and mighty opponents to battle – plus a cast of colourful and rather more friendly characters.
Cooper adds: “Dragon Quest IX has the potential to appeal to all types of gamers from hardcore to casual. The title offers a real variation in gameplay and in-game features, and it really opens up the DS game to an array of audiences.
“It has so much to offer as an adventure title and is accessible for any level of gamer. Dragon Quest has limited heritage as a franchise in the UK, however it still has a fanbase who are very excited about this latest release.
“It is our job to ensure that this great title captures the interest of a whole new series of Dragon Quest fans and people new to the franchise in the UK.”
To garner players’ attention, Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies encourages co-operative play. The game contains special modes that allow up to four players to team up via a local wireless connection and tackle all the monsters and dungeons together.
There are also a whole host of special side quests. Some of these can be earned by progressing through the game, while others will be made available as free downloadable content after launch, providing hours of additional content. Some of these will continue the main plot of the game, while others will be standalone missions.
Nintendo has a comprehensive marketing plan scheduled for the UK (see ‘Quest To Market’) in order to attract as many new Dragon Quest IX players as possible.
“We have a long build campaign for this release, ensuring that we engage the Dragon Quest fans,” says Cooper.
“This is in addition to introducing the franchise to new audiences, with a strong focus on younger DS owners.
“With the level of support we are giving this title and the depth that it has to offer, it is definitely one of our biggest releases for DS this summer – and the rest of the year.”
Dragon Quest XI: Sentinels of the Starry Skies is released on July 23rd for DS.
Quest to market
Emphasising Nintendo’s mission to supercharge a franchise that is packed with potential, Dragon Quest IX is being backed by an impressive campaign...
A TV campaign kicks off on July 12th with a series of creatives tailored for different audiences. It showcases all the various features of Dragon Quest IX, from battling slimes to customising characters.
The campaign will deliver almost 1,200 TVRs over seven weeks pre and post launch. Nintendo is also executing a ‘takeover’ of all Turner’s children’s channels, including Cartoon Network and Boomerang.
The TV advertising strategy on the kids’ channels will consist of competition spots, idents and an online presence for Dragon Quest IX.
Display advertising has already started on major gaming, retail and kids’ sites. The trailer is also available on YouTube.
The slime and loads of other great characters from Dragon Quest IX will be taking over pages in kids and games press titles during the launch period.
As ever, Nintendo is supporting this major release with a wealth of Dragon Quest IX POS materials, including cubes and standees.