Dragon Quest IX hits US this summer

Nintendo of America set to publish Square Enix's blockbuster Japanese DS role-playing game in the Americas with Sentinels of the Starry Skies subtitle.

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Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
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When Dragon Quest IX debuted in Japan, the DS-exclusive role-playing game sold a whopping 2.3 million copies in its first week. That blockbuster success essentially guaranteed that the game would find its way to North America, but it didn't answer the questions of when or from whom.

The fearsome foursome sports some stylish headgear.
The fearsome foursome sports some stylish headgear.

Both of those questions were answered today as part of Nintendo's San Francisco media summit. During the event, Nintendo of America confirmed that it would be handling publishing duties for Dragon Quest IX, giving it the subtitle Sentinels of the Starry Skies. While the company nailed down release dates for much of its first-half lineup at the event, it gave only a "summer" launch window for Dragon Quest IX.

Dragon Quest IX is the first installment in the long-running series to debut on the DS. Developer Level 5 is taking advantage of the system's touch screen in ways that couldn't be done on previous systems, such as using the stylus to quickly and easily outfit character equipment by dragging options around the screen. Level 5 will get another chance to adapt its franchise to new controls, because Square Enix said the 10th installment in the series will debut on the Wii, though no release window has been revealed yet.

Despite the change in platform and controls, Dragon Quest veterans could still feel right at home with Dragon Quest IX. The RPG will once again put gamers in control of a quartet of adventurers from series character designer Akira Toriyama, and a variety of teardrop-shaped slimes should once again provide token opposition to each player's efforts.

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