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"Dragon Quest Builders series director Kazuya Niinou leaves Square Enix"

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https://gematsu.com/2019/08/dragon-quest-builders-series-director-kazuya-niinou-leaves-square-enix

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Dragon Quest Builders series director Kazuya Niinou has left Square Enix, the developer announced.

"An announcement," Niinou said in a tweet. "With development on Builders 2 completed, I have left Square Enix. To Naoki Yoshida, Noriyoshi Fujimoto, Takuma Shiraishi, all of my colleagues, and everyone who enjoyed the games I made, thank you so much! I truly appreciate your support."

He continued, "I have been at Square Enix for about seven years now (my longest yet!). I felt a little burned out with Builders 2 and wanted to try out a development cycle different from Square Enix, so I set out for a new development environment."

Niinou mentioned that his plans for the future are already decided, and that he will share more information next week. Additionally, he will continue to watch over Dragon Quest Builders 2 and work as external staff for Square Enix. However, that does not mean there will be any additional downloadable content or updates.

Niinou is previously known for his work as director of Trauma Center: Under the Knife and designer of Etrian Odyssey at Atlus, and director of 7th Dragon at Imageepoch. Upon entering Square Enix, he worked as assistant director on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, before becoming the director of the Dragon Quest-themed sandbox RPG Dragon Quest Builders and its sequel Dragon Quest Builders 2.

Thanks, Games Talk.

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No, no, no… Why the heck do people keep leaving SQEX?

Am I overreacting, or does this sound like very bad news for the future of this series?

DQB2 and DQXI are the reasons I’ve preordered a Switch. There are other games I want to play, but these two sold the system for me.

Do any of you guys know the behind-the-scenes of DQB well enough to make predictions about the series from this news?

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Damn, He did a great job with the game. Sad to see him go but he needed it. I can see why he would feel burned out after Builders 2. It's a super massive game. Each island is a short game in itself. He really outdid himself on the game and deserves the rest.

1 minute ago, JustACorpse said:

No, no, no… Why the heck do people keep leaving SQEX?

Am I overreacting, or does this sound like very bad news for the future of this series?

DQB2 and DQXI are the reasons I’ve preordered a Switch. There are other games I want to play, but these two sold the system for me.

Do any of you guys know the behind-the-scenes of DQB well enough to make predictions about the series from this news?

If Square Enix wants it made, they'll get it made. He was the director for two of them. That does not mean the series dies with him.

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Thinking more on it, IF they want to make another one, it will cover Dragon Quest 3, Japan's favorite Dragon Quest, so if it was in the cards of happening even before the director left, they'll find a way to get it made.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Bururian said:

Thinking more on it, IF they want to make another one, it will cover Dragon Quest 3, Japan's favorite Dragon Quest, so if it was in the cards of happening even before the director left, they'll find a way to get it made.

They also have the game code, and it's clear Builders 2 is based on Builders 1, they just expanded from there.  Given the sheer volume of changes, there isn't much left for them in terms of tools and methods for building.  More in the storyline, combat system, types of enemies, perhaps even a party system (I wouldn't be surprised if we see a Luida's Bar).  Given Ramia's story, I wouldn't be surprised at 3 having easter egg visitors from other DQ worlds.

Though there is one core problem with DQ3 in DQB's world.  How would that fit?  It's only a hundred years or so between the end of DQ3 and the beginning of DQ1.  Given DQB1 establishes nothing changed prior to the evens of the Scion of Erdrick's choosing to join forces with the Dragonlord, they can't exactly use DQ3's story given it's past-tense, without creating massive gaping holes.

Then again, Hargon exists in DQB2, and Hargon shouldn't be alive in DQB1, as that's about a 50~70 year difference, with DQ2 being the grandchildren of DQ1's hero.  DQB1 implies hundreds of years have passed, so at least 200 years, so Hargon would be another 130~150 years older than in DQ2 at least, unless he's a monster or used his magic to remain in existence.  It's never explained from what I can find.  So I guess it's more about suspension of disbelief and ignoring general plotholes, or maybe better yet, parallel timelines in parallel universes.  It isn't like DQ11's

true ending gives real context to the connection between the worlds, beyond the storyline and the dialogue with a certain massive NPC about the future events to transpire.

Horii is nothing if not averse to giving absolute context in continuity...how does the world change in DQ11 to the upper world (this world) in DQ3, though the dragon queen's connection is a reasonable association, as well with the design of said certain NPC (where the fudge is Xenlong in all this in 11?...laughing in amusement at what transpires below no doubt, but then Xenlong is the God-head overseer of all universes, so what's one troubled place versus another for a being beyond space and time?).

 

====

As to the topic at hand.  He's onto greener pastures.  It kind of reminds me of Arte Piazza, and I have to wonder if they'll craft the next DQ remake.  They worked tirelessly from DQ4 DS -> DQ5 -> DQ6 -> DQ7, then did nothing for like 6~8 months after 7.  7's timeline was also the worst for them.  They were able to get to work on 5 and 6 within a month or two after the previous project, and had ample time to complete them.  6 had like 11 months of work, while 7 had like 3 months only, for such a large game, and with so many ambitious ideas.  It's a wonder they didn't up and quit the industry.

So I can't blame Niinou.  That type of hectic scheduling and deadline forcing has to be difficult, but I can't wait to dive into DQB2, it fills in everything, just about anyway, that I wanted to see in the building and construction side of things.  The number of variable building materials to work with as well, and the number of furniture and items to place in homes, etc. is kind of fun.  I really can't wait to finish my FAQs, get it, then really dig in.  Lego's were my thing as a kid.  So I have to thank Mr. Niinou for his hard work.  I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.  I mean going from Etrian Odyssey to Builders?  I'm really excited to see his next project.

As per his loss...well, it isn't like SE treats their staffers like Konami does, and shits all over them publicly.  It isn't just SE either.  There have been massive leavetakes in SEGA, Capcom, and other major companies in the West of late.  Blizzard is in worse condition.  They've lost ALL of their good developers in the last 3 years.  All of their good management.  About the only two large companies that seem to retain staffers are Atlus and Nihon Falcom.

It's not easy with the hectic scheduling, and given the nature of larger corporations, their first priority is to the investors, who are always, and I do mean always, shortsighted in goals.  SE seems to be the most long-term in their thinking however.  Look at Mana.  They're not taking on Mana in a heavy handed way.  They're going about it lightly, trying to rebuild an audience, and see if there even IS an audience, and doing releases more similar to Atlus in that they're not expected super numbers, but rather slow growth.  Though quality control isn't nearly as high on the low end, it's a start.  So there is some sense of realism in their outlook and approach to development.  Tokyo RPG Factory is another good foot in the right direction.  So even with lost talent, it also seems like they're not practicing what they did under Yoichi Wada, where they publicly humiliated former key staffers who built the company during its critical formative years  (Sakaguchi anyone?), causing rifts that may never be mended.  

Edited by ignasia

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uh..Is that a Dragon Quest XI spoiler I just read? I'm not done with the game yet, but it has almost been a year.

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2 hours ago, Bururian said:

uh..Is that a Dragon Quest XI spoiler I just read? I'm not done with the game yet, but it has almost been a year.

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28 minutes ago, Dwaine said:

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I ain't complaining. it's been a year. It's an admission on my part that I need to finish the damn game already.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Bururian said:

uh..Is that a Dragon Quest XI spoiler I just read? I'm not done with the game yet, but it has almost been a year.

It's provided in a non-spoilerific way, as virtually no context and little understanding related to the actual events in the end-game.  I thought about either writing it directly with a spoiler tag, or in that way, so it leaves a lot open to the imagination, without giving away the ghost or any real details, as I'm making implied correlations to elements of the final events.

When you get there, you'll realize nothing in how I wrote that would really constitute a true spoiler.  What is mentioned in terms of the connection to DQ3, and that DQ11 continues the Erdrick story, and that it's past-tense, so pre-Erdrick, was in the first announcements in both Japan and worldwide from SE.  They wanted this information known.  Just not the how.  I gave nothing away in terms of the how, so in terms of an actual spoiler, it doesn't break past what Horii already wanted fans to know going into the game.

I'm still putting it in spoiler tags now, just in case.  There are some people who go absolutely nuts if they feel they've been told even the slightly hint of a story spoiler.  Hell I've known a few people on GameFAQs who literally had #$*! fits over me stating place names, in threads they didn't create, for people who asked questions concerning those places, something even "spoiler-free" FAQs have to use.  Thank God those people are rare, but I'd rather not go through the hassle of dealing with one.

Edited by ignasia

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On 8/23/2019 at 11:53 AM, JustACorpse said:

No, no, no… Why the heck do people keep leaving SQEX?

Am I overreacting, or does this sound like very bad news for the future of this series?

DQB2 and DQXI are the reasons I’ve preordered a Switch. There are other games I want to play, but these two sold the system for me.

Do any of you guys know the behind-the-scenes of DQB well enough to make predictions about the series from this news?

You're overreacting.

This dude made Etrian Odyssey and then moved on. It's done just fine.  7th Dragon has had more than his 1 game, so they've done fine too.

This is nothing to worry about.

Heck, I was thinking they might not make a Dragon Quest Builders 3 anyway.  They made Dragon Quest Heroes 1 + 2 and then nothing's been heard about that sub-series forever.  Dragon Quest Builders 2 has pretty much upgraded everything a tiny bit from DQB1.  It's fine that they don't do another one.

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Posted (edited)

I wouldn't say a tiny bit.  I would say the number of sculpting tools, the finishing touches, the tile swaps, the line block placement from a stationary position, whether horizontal or vertical are pretty major improvements.  Nevermind water going everywhere, different forms of dirt.  Though the rest, the DLC content with multiple tile packs could be done just as easily on DQB1.  Those tweaks add a LOT of gameplay elements, a lot of refinement, and reduces build times by substantial margins, especially in lieu of rebuilding whole rooms because of one minor mistake in the design approach.

I have to stop watching DQB2 videos...

The Wind Cape adds a LOT...I mean you can continuously lift yourself up infinitely without needing to jump.

The specific switch from sword to hammer makes things more fluid in battle.

The inclusion of a more proper vehicle, and one that doesn't easily run into walls forcing me off each time, is a VERY nice touch.

The Golem adds a LOT of refinement to smashing up mountains.  Cannons are so inconsistent, and so difficult to maximize in potential.  Same with the bombs, though there's more control with them.

The ability to actually hang vines loosely, from a single wall position?  That might be a minor tweak, but it makes a huge difference.  Similarly with banners, which required whole walls before.  There are some tricks in DQB1, but they're a little touch and go, and difficult to pull off at times (I still can't get the hang of destroying blocks underneath me).

Edited by ignasia

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See, I don't do 95% of what you just listed. My idea of a building is a rectangle made of dirt. So, tons of improvements were lost on me . Sounds good that they did all that for the more hardcore builders. I enjoyed the game for what it was. It was fun, but I'd still place it in last place of DQ side games personally. Well, maybe the Mysterious Dungeon ones, but it's been more than a decade since I've played those and they are good memories, so maybe not...?

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While it’s a bust he’s left, I’m sure any future Builders games will be fine. Perhaps it will be like the Etrian games were each installment kept improving upon the last, keeping the core enjoyment of the gameplay intact while introducing new ideas. Some may be hit and miss, but I don’t have any worries.

Personally, I wish Mr. Kazuya Niinou all the success with whatever he does next. I mean, the man helped make one of my favorite RPG franchises and had a hand in two really great spin off games of the other.

Here’s hoping whatever he does next is as wonderful as the Etrian Odyssey games and the Dragon Quest Builders games.

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