Though not exactly a household name for gamers here in the United States, the Dragon Quest series is one of the most popular gaming franchises in Japan. The release of Dragon Quest VIII in Japan was met with the same frenzy that typically accompanies the release of the latest edition of another Square Enix franchise, Final Fantasy.
Square Enix released Dragon Quest VIII on the PlayStation 2, which was a great boon for Sony. However, it appears as though the benefactor of Dragon Quest IX will be one of Sony's rivals. Forbes reports that Dragon Quest IX has been announced as an exclusive for the Nintendo DS.
Some analysts think this could be a big blow against Sony because the Dragon Quest franchise is considered a top-tier franchise and has sold more than 41 million copies worldwide. Hiroshi Kamide, analyst at KBC Securities, said the decision to put Dragon Quest IX exclusively on the DS "was rather unexpected, so it's not a huge vote of confidence for the PlayStation 3," reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
Square is also preparing a Dragon Quest game for the Wii, due early next year, and recently released Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, a series spin-off, for the DS.
[UPDATE] Square Enix has confirmed that the DS Dragon Quest is in development, and that it is tentatively called Dragon Quest IX: Guard of the Starry Night. The game will be more action-oriented than previous Dragon Quest games, and battles will "take place on the field." There will also be support for four-player multiplayer, presumably through the DS's Wi-Fi capabilities. DQIX is currently scheduled for release in Japan in 2007; no US release window was given.
Square Enix also reconfirmed that the Dragon Quest Wii title, Dragon Quest Swords: Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors, will be released in spring 2007.
But that's not the last of Dragon Quest news. Another DQ game, Dragon Quest Monster Battle Road, is headed to Japanese arcades and is a "card-battle game where players battle monsters in a coliseum to win real-life cards with monster data imprinted on them."