Last night, Square Enix and designer Yuji Horii announced Dragon Quest XII: The Flames of Fate during a 35th anniversary livestream for the franchise. The teaser trailer only offered a darker narrative and an edgy logo, with no gameplay or characters shown, and aside from the fact that there are plans for a worldwide simultaneous release, there were no details about release date or platforms. However, in a statement aimed at recruiting more staff to work on Dragon Quest XII, Horii today revealed that the game will be built in Unreal Engine 5 (UE5) and the story is finished. The statement also confirmed that Takeshi Uchikawa, the director of Dragon Quest XI, is returning as director of this new title.
Unreal Engine 5 will allow for the creation of incredibly beautiful games, as Epic Games showcased in tandem with Sony and PlayStation 5 in May 2020. (Dragon Quest XI was created with Unreal Engine 4.) However, importantly, Unreal Engine 5 will also be compatible with the less powerful Nintendo Switch, meaning it is definitely possible that Dragon Quest XII will make its way to the platform (and possibly with fewer visual downgrades on the seemingly imminent “Switch Pro”).
The fact that Dragon Quest XII: The Flames of Fate will have a darker story is worrying some fans (along with the fact that the battle system is changing), but the truth is that the franchise has always dabbled in dark elements. Fans are quick to point to the cruel hardships faced in the narrative of Dragon Quest V, though it is also worth noting that Dragon Quest V was a visually simplistic 2D game on 16-bit hardware. Ultimately, it is likely Square Enix won’t make the game too dark, as it would not want to alienate the huge all-ages fan base it has garnered. It can tell a mature story without F-words, vigorous sexual activity, and decapitating people left and right.
It is exciting that Dragon Quest XII: The Flames of Fate is being built with Unreal Engine 5 and that the story is already finished. Now we just need to hope it gets confirmed for Switch. At the very least, Dragon Quest III HD-2D Remake seems like a slam dunk for the platform.