Dragon Quest Builders 2 Interview: British accents, player feedback and PC potential (Pic: Square Enix)
A runaway success when it launched in 2016, Dragon Quest Builders is Square Enix take on the sandbox game, a Minecraft spinoff with a Japanese RPG at its heart. The game hit western shelves in late 2016, with the Nintendo Switch version landing in February of last year. At E3 2019 I sat down with three of the lead developers on the sequel, Dragon Quest Builders 2 to talk about reinventing the sandbox, listening to player feedback and those lovely localised European accents. Joining me was Kazuya Niinou, Noriyoshi Fujimoto and Takuma Shiraishi.
For my first question, I asked about the new features coming to the sequel – being able to fly and travel underwater. I wondered why this had been such a focus for the developers. I was told that these “are all elements that should be part of a sandbox” and that the director Niinou-san was actually embarrassed that they werent a part of the game to begin with!
The other features coming to the sequel that the development team want people to take note of are building together with NPCs, specifically when you get a “glimpse of their life”, as well as a new notice board system that allows you to share photos of your designs and terrain with your fellow builders. The developers believe that this is what distances Builders 2 from other sandbox-related titles.
On listening to player feedback whilst developing the sequel, Niinou pointed out that the game has done away with the separation between free build and the story mode.
Previously, the progress that you made or the items and friends you found couldnt be brought into the free mode from story mode – As of Dragon Quest Builders 2 “the story and the free build mode are intertwined, they coexist.
The Isle of Awakening, youll continue to build on that as you go and then youll also progress through the story while you do so, and youll befriend certain NPCs and characters along the way, and then you can potentially bring them back to your island and further expand on your building.” This was one of the fans most ardent requests for the sequel, so it's cool to see the developers are keen to adapt to criticism and feedback from the players!
Theres also multiplayer now and you can bring your friends to your Isle of Awakening – you cant bring players along for the campaign itself, but it is connected. As part of this experience, you can show off your customisable characters and scoot around the landscape in vehicles. One appreciated feature is that you can play local multiplayer on Nintendo Switch, whilst it is strictly online multiplayer in the PS4 release.
With Builders 2 comes an all-new story as well, an alternative history setting based on a different ending to Dragon Quest 2 from the main series – I asked the developers about what it was like to develop a fresh story like this from such important source material.
(Pic: Square Enix)
“The story within Dragon Quest Builders 2 is based on the idea – what if the organisation that follows the boss within Dragon Quest 2 lived on – then what kind of world would that be? Obviously, Dragon Quest 2 is already complete as a game and each and every player who experienced that has their own memories attached. We felt thats something we shouldnt break and something we should retain” Said Niinou-san.
“Rather than kind of carry on and create like an extension of the story, it was mainly focused on the kind of party aspect of it, so to speak, because if you recall back to DQ2, that's the first key game that introduced party characters. And so we wanted to build an experience around all this friendship.”
On the inspiration behind the Builders series – the developers were clear that the initial jumping off point was Minecraft, which they described as “amazing and quite innovative.”
From that, the team wanted to figure out how to blend that experience with the storytelling of JRPGs – specifically within Dragon Quest.
(Pic: Square Enix)
“The game evolving into a series was quite unexpected and it's all based on the response that the team received from players of the previous instalments.”
After talking about inspirations and features I moved onto localization – I talked about how its fun to play Dragon Quest games as a British person given the breadth of dialects available – lines are often shared as in-jokes online and the world is given a charming European vibe thanks to this intricate localization. I asked the developers what they thought about this aspect of the series and why they think its such a defining feature for Western players.
“From the original Dragon Quest, the series was built off of creating a world that was based on Medieval Europe – which is why when we were localizing games into English they felt like it was natural to kind of have the basis be British,” said Fujimoto.
“When you look at a lot of our mainline numbered titles, that's where we've really kind of built out our know-how on localization in general. So when you look at, you know, Dragon Quest 4 that's really kind of where we started experimentingRead More – Source