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"Dragon Quest XII started development in 2019"

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6 hours ago, eal said:

All three of them are running on empty. Someone else will have to find it for me but I remember Toriyama also expressing running out of ideas as well.

I wouldn't say that about Horii.  I think 11 was his best work.  He's become far more sophisticated in his writing, as far as Dragon Quest sophistication can be carried, while still maintaining the same general feel and flow.  There's not nearly as much party chat as previous games, but then, only 7 PSX, and the DS remakes had substantive party chat, and reactive party chat to individual NPC conversations.  Since then it's related to specific story points almost exclusively, with only a tidbit of variety to some minor NPC conversations.  There were far more considerations to distinct personalities, far more so in this particular DQ than in any previous. 

Though at the same time, certain characters did suffer for lack of focus (Erik needed more padding, but more significantly, Rab and ESPECIALLY Jade, as Yangus has mentioned a few times as needing extra story).  Though this is more typical of a writer who is more used to hard focus on a few characters, and ignoring the rest.  Dragon Quest VI had a lot of character development holes, and even failed to fully flesh out the main hero and his significance.  V just thrusts several members onto the party without fully realizing their storylines and importance.  It's really Sancho + Hero + Hero's Parents + Bianca + to a MUCH lesser degree, the kids.  Despite being the prophesied hero, the son is kind of backburner and without the party chat in the remake, had no development, and Madchen had even less consideration.

There's a lot more going on in DQ11 than in most other DQ games, a lot more general twists, and surprises as well.

I can somewhat agree on Toriyama for a few reasons, though not completely:

1) As you said, Jump Force's final boss.

2) Dragon Quest VII and IX had the largest variety of new designs.  Since then they've become ever more simplified, with a few bosses here and there that have serious effort put in.  Though given VIII was VERY lackluster, and rehashed almost its entire roster, it could just be the normal Toriyama is bored, and Horii wasn't as engaged in picking monsters, as usually he gets engaged when he wants something new.

3) His DB Super work.  I get the impression he's as hands-on with the anime as he was with DB and DBZ.   The manga work doesn't seem entirely his either.  Like he has staffers handle some pages, or maybe detail work.

4) Like with DB Super, for the remakes and spinoffs, he clearly has staff handle the job, though in this case, bird studio instead of a separate studio.  Heck, all the mobile tweaks in DQ1, and the subsequent similar tweaks to 2 and 3  for 3DS/PS4/Switch was clearly NOT his work.  That was definitely a staffer.  So he's already delegating work more readily, but then he is involved in a LOT more projects.

 

One of the issues with assuming Toriyama is out of it, or that he's running on fumes, is that his work load of late has ballooned.  When he was doing work from Dragon Quest VII through to Dragon Quest IX, he wasn't doing much more than game work.  The manga was finished.  He wasn't spearheading any anime project.  He wasn't creating new manga or anime.  He was doing mostly work for game studios.  He was fairly open and taking it easy.

Since the Frieza revived movie, he's been really strained with multiple projects.  There's been a lot of new Dragon Quest titles as well.  So he's been pretty busy.  It could be said he's just tired and out of it due to general burnout, which is why he was fairly quiet with manga and anime for such a long time.  It's also a matter of how much inspiration or time he had to work on different projects.

DQ11's final boss, if we're talking the

Spoiler

Time Wyrm

, I get the criticism, as it's a cop-out move that required no effort.  He could have created something really cool, or maybe created a dark version of the Zenith Dragon, like the inverse, only corrupted.  If we're talking about

Spoiler

Calasmos

, I would strongly disagree.  I thought that was a clever design, it's a combination of various DQ final bosses rolled into one (Zoma, Psaro, and Esturk).  I DO however understand the Switch sidequest final boss that leads to the

Spoiler

Time Wyrm

.  That one should have been distinct, but instead it's a harder version of

Spoiler

Calasmos

who is a distinct creature all its own.  No indicator of them being from the same tribe that I recall.

So I wouldn't write of Tori yet.

Edited by ignasia
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I wouldn't say that about Horii.  I think 11 was his best work.  He's become far more sophisticated in his writing, as far as Dragon Quest sophistication can be carried, while still maintaining the same general feel and flow. 


Agreed. I still think somewhere he's got a book of basic outlines for DQ 12-20... or at I hope so!
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15 minutes ago, ignasia said:

I wouldn't say that about Horii.  I think 11 was his best work.  He's become far more sophisticated in his writing, as far as Dragon Quest sophistication can be carried, while still maintaining the same general feel and flow.  There's not nearly as much party chat as previous games, but then, only 7 PSX, and the DS remakes had substantive party chat, and reactive party chat to individual NPC conversations.  Since then it's related to specific story points almost exclusively, with only a tidbit of variety to some minor NPC conversations.  There were far more considerations to distinct personalities, far more so in this particular DQ than in any previous. 

Though at the same time, certain characters did suffer for lack of focus (Erik needed more padding, but more significantly, Rab and ESPECIALLY Jade, as Yangus has mentioned a few times as needing extra story).  Though this is more typical of a writer who is more used to hard focus on a few characters, and ignoring the rest.  Dragon Quest VI had a lot of character development holes, and even failed to fully flesh out the main hero and his significance.  V just thrusts several members onto the party without fully realizing their storylines and importance.  It's really Sancho + Hero + Hero's Parents + Bianca + to a MUCH lesser degree, the kids.  Despite being the prophesied hero, the son is kind of backburner and without the party chat in the remake, had no development, and Madchen had even less consideration.

There's a lot more going on in DQ11 than in most other DQ games, a lot more general twists, and surprises as well.

I can somewhat agree on Toriyama for a few reasons, though not completely:

1) As you said, Jump Force's final boss.

2) Dragon Quest VII and IX had the largest variety of new designs.  Since then they've become ever more simplified, with a few bosses here and there that have serious effort put in.  Though given VIII was VERY lackluster, and rehashed almost its entire roster, it could just be the normal Toriyama is bored, and Horii wasn't as engaged in picking monsters, as usually he gets engaged when he wants something new.

3) His DB Super work.  I get the impression he's as hands-on with the anime as he was with DB and DBZ.   The manga work doesn't seem entirely his either.  Like he has staffers handle some pages, or maybe detail work.

4) Like with DB Super, for the remakes and spinoffs, he clearly has staff handle the job, though in this case, bird studio instead of a separate studio.  Heck, all the mobile tweaks in DQ1, and the subsequent similar tweaks to 2 and 3  for 3DS/PS4/Switch was clearly NOT his work.  That was definitely a staffer.  So he's already delegating work more readily, but then he is involved in a LOT more projects.

 

One of the issues with assuming Toriyama is out of it, or that he's running on fumes, is that his work load of late has ballooned.  When he was doing work from Dragon Quest VII through to Dragon Quest IX, he wasn't doing much more than game work.  The manga was finished.  He wasn't spearheading any anime project.  He wasn't creating new manga or anime.  He was doing mostly work for game studios.  He was fairly open and taking it easy.

Since the Frieza revived movie, he's been really strained with multiple projects.  There's been a lot of new Dragon Quest titles as well.  So he's been pretty busy.  It could be said he's just tired and out of it due to general burnout, which is why he was fairly quiet with manga and anime for such a long time.  It's also a matter of how much inspiration or time he had to work on different projects.

DQ11's final boss, if we're talking the Time Wyrm, I get the criticism, as it's a cop-out move that required no effort.  He could have created something really cool, or maybe created a dark version of the Zenith Dragon, like the inverse, only corrupted.  If we're talking about Calasmos, I would strongly disagree.  I thought that was a clever design, it's a combination of various DQ final bosses rolled into one (Zoma, Psaro, and Esturk).  I DO however understand the Switch sidequest final boss that leads to the Time Wyrm.  That one should have been distinct, but instead it's a harder version of Calasmos who is a distinct creature all its own.  No indicator of them being from the same tribe that I recall.

So I wouldn't write of Tori yet.

I was trying not to say the name, but I was referring to Calasmos, not the Time Wyrm, which I didn’t even know about. Thanks for the spilling the beans on that one, Iggy. 😑

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I hate Calasmos' design so much.

One of my favorite things on going into Dragon Quest games blind is finding what the final boss looks like. So I was disappointed a little bit at the end. I mentioned it before. He just looks like an overweight bootleg Cell.

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I would say he’s running on empty in the exhausted sense, as was mentioned earlier, not a creative sense. Sakurai, for example, might have made a great Smash Bros. game but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s so worn out that he’s gone to work with an IV drip before.

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21 minutes ago, Twinkie said:

I hate Calasmos' design so much.

One of my favorite things on going into Dragon Quest games blind is finding what the final boss looks like. So I was disappointed a little bit at the end. I mentioned it before. He just looks like an overweight bootleg Cell.

And that’s what I don’t like about him. I think I said in a topic elsewhere at one point he looks like a baby faced, overweight Cell. Such a lackluster design for a being who is supposed to control all the darkness in DQXI.

Edit: Found what I originally said:

“It was hard for me to take Calasmos all that seriously when he looked like a giant version of Cell from Dragon Ball Z with a goofy fat baby face. However, I do like the way his text is presented, and the brief moment in the final battle where you hear how his text sounds with that incredibly ominous deep sound it was perfect for a villain. Honestly it made me wish we had the option for voices or text speech sounds because I would turn it to the latter just for that.“

Edited by YangustheLegendaryBandit

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11 minutes ago, YangustheLegendaryBandit said:

And that’s what I don’t like about him. I think I said in a topic elsewhere at one point he looks like a baby faced, overweight Cell. Such a lackluster design for a being who is supposed to control all the darkness in DQXI.

At least Nimzo, who shares a lot of traits of Cell looks really unique. So it isn't like he isn't capable of having things be "samey" but still unique.

Edited by Twinkie

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2 hours ago, Twinkie said:

At least Nimzo, who shares a lot of traits of Cell looks really unique. So it isn't like he isn't capable of having things be "samey" but still unique.

Yep. It’s why even though Dhuran/Nokturnus share a general design, Nokturnus has elements to his design that make him stand out a bit more, particularly in the DS version of DQ6.

Calasmos just straight up looks like a big baby faced guy wearing a Cell outfit with some modified arms.

Edited by YangustheLegendaryBandit
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3 hours ago, Twinkie said:

At least Nimzo, who shares a lot of traits of Cell looks really unique. So it isn't like he isn't capable of having things be "samey" but still unique.

Also, I feel like voice acting like puke sound more like this if they tried to be more accurate to his appearance.

 

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5 hours ago, ignasia said:

I wouldn't say that about Horii.  ...He's become far more sophisticated in his writing, as far as Dragon Quest sophistication can be carried, while still maintaining the same general feel and flow.  There's not nearly as much party chat as previous games, but then, only 7 PSX, and the DS remakes had substantive party chat, and reactive party chat to individual NPC conversations. 

...Though at the same time, certain characters did suffer for lack of focus....  Though this is more typical of a writer who is more used to hard focus on a few characters, and ignoring the rest.  Dragon Quest VI had a lot of character development holes, and even failed to fully flesh out the main hero and his significance.  V just thrusts several members onto the party without fully realizing their storylines and importance.  It's really Sancho + Hero + Hero's Parents + Bianca + to a MUCH lesser degree, the kids.  Despite being the prophesied hero, the son is kind of backburner and without the party chat in the remake, had no development, and Madchen had even less consideration.

Horii's writing really has improved leaps and bounds with each game, though he really didn't grasp character arcs until VII (Maribel), and didn't have much to show for it until VIII (Yangus, Angelo, Marcello, numerous minor characters like Kalderasha and Dominco).

Still, even with his exceptional character writing in VIII, some characters got left out in the cold (like Jessica, who by all appearances seemed like she was meant to have her arc doubled-up with Angelo's, except he was too busy with Marcello).

IX was kind of a mixed bag in story terms, with a strong overall plot (and a vastly superior final boss to most if not all previous games), but it sacrificed a lot of its character writing due to going all in on its proto-MMO gameplay and the blank slate party members it implied, and had to rely on its vignettes for the bulk of the story's heart. Even then some of those vignettes don't match the consistently good characterization of VIII, partly because some chapters leave deliberately incomplete character arcs (Ivor), partly because some chapters are too agog with lore to focus on the characters (the Wight Knight arc), and partly because pieces of the story and character arcs are experimentally parceled out to side-quests (King Schott).

Still, the impressive trajectory of Horii's writing is undeniable. I have yet to play XI (or X), but I'm still stoked for it.

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@YangustheLegendaryBandit Oh, sorry mate, I didn't really think about that given it's been awhile since release, and things have relaxed a bit.  I did edit my post to fix that.  That was a bit out of character for me, but I was in a rush to finish that before leaving to do a bunch of things, so I had like 10 minutes to whip that together.  Too late to fix my oversight now, but yeah...

@JaybirdC Sorry if I spoiled anything for you (not that you mentioned anything in your post).  That was unintentional, and I wasn't thinking.

========

@Twinkie and Yangus ...when I first saw video, I wasn't overly fond of C's design, but over time, and after beating the PS4 version, I grew to like it.  It's like a combination of Psaro and Esturk in terms of the bug-like design, and the eye shape and simple facial structure feel more disturbing in a way, with a hint of robotic elements, reminiscent of the cold dark world of the abyss, and the robotic mindset of an absolute desire to fulfill a destiny 

Spoiler

of destroying the world of the light and order, to bring all creation back into the chaos and darkness of the abyss

much like an AI that can only function in one direction.  No personal desire, but rather the physical manifestation of the 

Spoiler

abyss itself.

Which also fits well with the simple design aesthetic, and the

Spoiler

manifestation of small versions of itself, along with his barrier, much like Zoma's minions are implied to be born of Zoma .  Kind of like King Picollo, which I think was inspired by Zoma, given the Picollo arc was written as a manga immediately after DQ3 was released, and King Picollo's first main henchmen looks nearly identical to Baramos, and the outfits of both Picollo and his wyvern-like henchman, seem inspired by Zoma and Baramos.  Though going back to the insect design, Insects are very robotic in nature (thus the hands of Calasmos are very similar to the Red Ribbon Army mecha, and the mecha in Blue Dragon), so it fits the more overly simplistic embodiment of hatred and darkness that Calasmos is...while Mordegon is more a man with a plan, someone with a desire to conquer and rule rather than destroy.

So in that sense there does feel a bit of an inverse connection to DB, in that Cell really was the original planned ultimate enemy in the Dragonball universe, and in some respects, the nature of Cell and "C" are parallel in that they exist

Spoiler

in near perpetuity so long as some element of their original existence remains.

=============

Jay ...

True, 6 was disjointed.  It's arcs were split randomly throughout the story, and almost all are optional, and some scenes can be missed (two scenes with Carver and his parents).  The exception, and seeming start of his understanding of character arcs being the moments with Terry to build him up as a potential enemy, only to bring it around after his battle and some connecting story points provided by Milly.  Though without the optional backstory from their hometown, it's very shallow.  Even then it could have used more moments as the story progressed.  Something that yes, Dragon Quest VII began with the constant interjections in the main story from the characters, mostly Kiefer at first, then Maribel, but also Gabo/Ruff, Melvin/Mervyn, and Aira/Aishe.  It's not just about character arcs in 7, though I see what you're pointing to, with Maribel's family and her personal suffering and feeling of exhaustion.  It's also that the characters actually take part in the general story in a more meaningful and direct way at every point than they did in all previous games.

Kiefer moves the story along as the main driver for the first half, and the entire portion of the story surrounding his presence, is his arc, as his relationship with his father, and desire to shirk his responsibilities are directly applied at every element.  His need to escape and seek adventure, while also feeling obligated to keep up with the Hero's desire to save the world (based on Kiefer's responses), is its own arc.  In a way it's more expertly done than later stories, in that the main story is laced together with the individual character storylines.  Though after Kiefer, it becomes just a mystery quest, and uncovering new stuff, until Maribel's smaller arc.  So I would argue Kiefer's arc is the first true arc he developed, alongside Maribel.  Gabo would have been better served with more attention given to his connection to the Woodsman, or his ability to speak to animals in the later islands.  Similarly with Melvin's historical significance.  He actually does have an arc, though not until the very end, and it's less concerned with him directly, than both he and the Hero.  It's also rather sad there wasn't as much emphasis put on developing Aira/Aishe, especially given they give her a small arc before the last stretch, where she helps the King and Lisa connect to Kiefer, given their similar personalities and desire to escape the lifestyle they lived, only Aira is the inverse, in escaping the free roaming life in favour of a more stringent life of rules and regulations, but high responsibility, more so because Kiefer didn't want a purpose that was forced, while Aishe did not want a responsibility she may never fulfill.

DQ8, sure, it felt like Jessica was dropped rather hard, and her experience as a possessed enemy was only to move the story along, less to build her up.  Horii didn't use it to develop her further, rather the nature of the staff alone, as foreshadowing of the real enemy.  Though at least they used it to develop her gameplay abilities, and unlock her as a truly useful mage.  I get the impression the Alexandria arc was meant to be more extensive but perhaps time was short, and they had to rush the game.  Afterall, look at the end-game itself?  The moment the castle is destroyed, it feels like a bit of a rush job.  There's also the statues and reliefs of Rhapthorne, which indicate other forms we never see.  Neither of the two forms we see in game are represented anywhere.  The closest we see are Dhoulmagus and Sir Leopold.  So it's possible a lot of later planned arcs, including Jessica, and potentially Jessica + Angelo, were scrapped.

Afterall, we see some indicators after Angelo finishes his arc with Marcello, that Jessica seems to develop some feelings for him, or is more open to him as she sees him now as a man of wisdom and less a playboy (or realizes the playboy was a facade to cover his childhood wounds).

True in 9 there were some character arcs that were left unfinished.  However I didn't see a need to complete Ivor, as he wasn't as important given the nature of 9, and if you revisit Angel Falls, he is complete in and of himself, as he finds his calling but clearly isn't up to snuff in keeping up with Erinn, nor is there a need to expand on that friendly rivalry.  Though it would have made for a fun mini-game that allowed developing Erinn's inn, instead of using multiplay, which I grasp why this was done, but it would have made the process of developing the inn more engaging.  Plus it would have been a lot of fun to see what happens to Angel Falls if Ivor actually develops it due to the growth of his Inn, though in the end leading to Erinn ultimately taking the crown after a special quest at the end, for something to add to the Inn that's one-of a kind...like maybe the fountain below ground is as a result of an earlier quest, with the coup-de-grace being the final post-game quest.

That said I think for the nature of the game, the focus is on the larger complexities involving the world, and why every scenario focuses on the most important character in each town, less so the individual suffering in each area, and various intriguing individuals in each town more common to all previous DQ games.   Where some towns it's the mayor or maybe the only doctor, and in others, it's some random kid who isn't particularly important, or the entire town as a whole, or a monster that everyone would be expected to hate but shouldn't because it's actually good at heart (especially given it takes after the human who adopts it).  So I'd say in the case of 9, the focus is on the larger story elements and lore inherent to each area, thus the nature of its story telling is less focused on finalizing every arc, even in the post-game quests, as if said character isn't tied to some more significant mythos in it's specific area, it's of less import to world at large, and to the overseers, the Celestrians.  This despite the introduction to the Celestrians.  I think it more a practical application of the reality of what would be seen as more important for such a role, as it's one being per each area, and over the course of the game, it becomes one Celestrian who must protect the whole world.  So the initial import of individual issues is overcome by the import of larger more global/regional issues.

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Sorry for the delay, but I wanted to take my time and digest the response a little before responding.

On 1/13/2020 at 7:52 PM, ignasia said:

Story stuff.

That's true, Terry does have a fairly definable arc (likely part of why he's the most popular character from VI); I neglected him when I wrote the rest of it off.

Kiefer has part of an arc, but it collapses once he decides he's found his calling after spending some time with a cute girl, when he hadn't really expressed much interest in his calling before (I remember encountering a rumor that him leaving early was due to development issues). I highlight Maribel as someone who goes through deliberate personal phases throughout the whole of the story and is presented with defining moments that allow her to grow (Spoiled Brat but Longing for Adventure --> horrified by the first adventure but dutifully & cautiously continuing on --> sets the quest aside in order to take care of her dad out of obligation --> returning to active duty because the situation calls for it), but she admittedly whines a lot during the whole affair.
    
And you're right about how the characters integrate well with the story in VII; that's one of VII's understated triumphs of storytelling, much better than VI, and better executed than V (which bends over backwards to tell the same story no matter who is actually there). In hindsight, I think VI was where Horii might've copped to how to integrate character development into the story (given that most of the party in VI is on their own journey of self-discovery, which is directly tied in to the activities of Murdaw), though he didn't really start to figure out proper arcs until VII (though none as well as Maribel, as you pointed out).

You are correct DQ8 drops the ball with Jessica (whose arc peters out after Angelo arrives) and Rhapthorne (who I've criticized before for being irrelevant to the theme that shows up everywhere else in the story). And the failure regarding Jessica is really surprising, since everything after Dhoulmagus is about the sages and their heirs, and since Jessica has the closest connection to that group, that act of the story should've been hers by right.
    
Now that I think of it, it occurs to me that there's more going on there. I notice that the Sages' Heirs arc is rather suddenly eclipsed, with the last heir completely written off to make way for the business with Marcello, the corruption in the church, and Rollo's redemption arc; and frankly, given that nothing in the corrupt church hierarchy has anything to do with the established theme of families and obligations, I get the sense that somebody was tampering with the story in a way they shouldn't have during development. To that end, I don't think Jessica actually grows to see much more in Angelo after the Marcello arc concludes, I think the clues we see -- like her tsun-tsun fireball during the ending -- are the leftovers of what was originally there.

Regarding IX, it's true that Ivor wasn't as central a character, but his development was very deliberately interrupted to make room for Patty and Erinn, and he remained very far in the background, only developing periodically with every act and in Erinn's DLC quests (compare Jona from the same game, who goes through a solid arc about learning to stand on her own two feet in her own chapter). Simona never quite had much character development to work with, passing through whatever happens to the kingdom and a little too much sentiment to be healthy -- she practically leaps off the slippery slope during the DLC quest. The writing on the whole is iffier, especially during the Fygg Hunt arc; despite the fairly obvious premise of Wishes Gone Wrong, the fight with Master of Nu'un is just a random turn of events and Tyrantula is downright rote, just there for the sake of having one (although the fact that at least one version of that spider is mechanical, I think there was a missed chance to make the main character of that chapter the final boss).

On the other hand, I agree with you that IX does a good job integrating the vignettes into the drama of the Celestrians, so much so that I wonder if it's compensating for VIII and Rhapthorne. It has a better final boss than all previous games bar none, and the game is comparatively rich with lore. Still, there is clearly space for personal arcs (as with Jona) and several of them seem like they were whiffed.

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