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Top ‘Dragon Quest’ Producer Steps Down in Square Enix Overhaul (CEO shutting down many unannounced projects; placing checks on producers' influence)

Joseki

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The top producer of Square Enix Holdings Co.’s flagship Dragon Quest franchise is stepping down from the role, people familiar with the matter said, following delays in developing the next installment of the popular series.

Yu Miyake, a director of the board who long oversaw the role-playing franchise, is moving to head up the Tokyo-based company’s smartphone games, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing nonpublic information. Miyake, 56, has been behind numerous Dragon Quest titles since he joined the company in 1992.

[...]

The move is part of a large-scale reorganization that took effect on Monday, the people said. Square Enix is overhauling its game development pipeline under new President Takashi Kiryu, 48, who’s vowed to reverse flagging sales of both big-budget console games and smaller mobile titles. He told investors in February that the new structure will help the company rely less on external resources and focus more on in-house triple-A games.

Yosuke Saito, 53, who’s best known for his role in developing the hit NieR games, is a strong candidate to take the helm of Dragon Quest production, some of the people said.

Since becoming president last year, Kiryu has streamlined game production by shutting down many unannounced projects and placing checks on producers’ influence, the people said.

The company has promoted a new group of creators, including Naoki Hamaguchi, Tomoya Asano and Takeshi Nozue, appointing them to executive officers on Monday. The company plans to announce its midterm strategy plan in May.
 
The company has promoted a new group of creators, including Naoki Hamaguchi, Tomoya Asano and Takeshi Nozue
As much as I'm a fan of Asano, this round of promotions seems to be focused on folks that managed to deliver games within shorter development cycles/with no delays (and backed by the reasoning behind Miyake's step down), a caveat of this is that all of their recent projects built upon work done in games before, so when the time will come for completely new games to be made, they might face the same kind of issues Miyake had. Of course we can't see stuff behind the curtain and all three could indeed be the best people at Square direction-wise, but I think it's something to keep in mind. It's obvious completely new creative endeavours would take longer than direct sequels or games building on the same engine/game structure as before.
 
Makes sense, DQs presence in the last couple years has been a disappointing. We havent gotten any news from 12 in years and even 3R seem to take way longer than most of us anticipated.
Missing out on most of the Switch prime is wild and that system has been around for 7/8 years.

Whatever process they had for these projects clearly isnt working when the best you had released are lower budget looking Switch spin-offs that dont run to well on the machine despite being exclusives.

At the end of the day this is a business and you have to deliver at some point.
 
it makes sense, especially the part of putting some check on producers output (globally within the company)
 
Recent DQ except for monster were disappointing both critical reception and sales wise...

And holy shit even the DQ3 remake is still nowhere to be seen

Plus A new Nier/Yoko Taro game is missing too
 
Sounds like SE is reviewing their internal culture which is a good thing. Am all for creative control but they have to actually produce stuff.
 
Square has had a huge quantity vs quality for the last few years. Like their 2022 line up was full of both gems and trash that released very close to each other. Like this is the same company that launched both Triangle Strategy and Bablyon's Fall on the same day. While there is a mountain difference between both games, it was a really bad idea to drop two games on the same day and nevermind that one of them was poorly received and sold so badly, that you can no longer play it anymore.
 
DQ as a franchise has been massively mismanaged in recent years IMO. The output simply hasn't been there and what they have released has been poor quality. They're failure to capitalise on the switch is just a colossal failure. DQ is a game which is almost entirely reliant on the Japanese market and has always been one of the biggest brands in Japan. Now we're seeing the switch become EASILY the highest selling HW whilst also selling more SW than any previous gaming device and DQ has completely missed the boat. DQ12 absolutely should have been landing on the switch and DQ3 also should have been landing on the switch by now. DQ isn't a GTA type game that takes a decade to make, there is no reason that the mainline games have been on ice for so long.
 
DQ III HD-2D is the real element missing. It should never have gone three years without a single update.
 
The last three spin-off (Treasures, Dai and Monster) released on mixed to good reception, which is disappointing for DQ.
 
DQ as a franchise has been massively mismanaged in recent years IMO. The output simply hasn't been there and what they have released has been poor quality. They're failure to capitalise on the switch is just a colossal failure. DQ is a game which is almost entirely reliant on the Japanese market and has always been one of the biggest brands in Japan. Now we're seeing the switch become EASILY the highest selling HW whilst also selling more SW than any previous gaming device and DQ has completely missed the boat. DQ12 absolutely should have been landing on the switch and DQ3 also should have been landing on the switch by now. DQ isn't a GTA type game that takes a decade to make, there is no reason that the mainline games have been on ice for so long.
Yeah, its straight up disrespectful how Switch and DQ have been handled the last couple years especially when you consider how they set things up on DS when it was clear that the system, the one to rule them all.

Sometimes it really fills like without moneyhats SE dont know how to move and which direction to follow - which is really sad.
 
DQ9 (2009) - DQ11 (2017): 8 years gap
DQ11 (2017) - DQ12 (2025?): 8 years, this time without a new mainline MMORPG to fill the gap
 
Speaking Square Enix and Dragon Quest on Switch, its weird how there is still no way to play DQ 4 through 9 on Switch. You have the mobile ports of the original trilogy, the vaporware known as Dragon Quest 3 2D-HD, 10 and 11 all on Switch. Yet Dragon Quest 4 through 9 are all missing on Switch and while there is the mobile ports of 4, 5, 6, and 8. On the flipside 7 and 9 aren't on any modern platforms, they aren't on Switch, Playstation, Steam or even Mobile.

At the very least with Final Fantasy, the first 12 (minus 11) are all on Switch and PS4. Yet Dragon Quest isn't given such luxury, despite also being Square's premium franchise.
 
Yeah, its straight up disrespectful how Switch and DQ have been handled the last couple years especially when you consider how they set things up on DS when it was clear that the system, the one to rule them all.

Sometimes it really fills like without moneyhats SE dont know how to move and which direction to follow - which is really sad.
I know we always talk about how 3rd parties have missed the boat on nintendo platforms and the switch in particular but usually I can kind of understand why. With DQ I just don't get it. The brand has a strong association with nintendo and the best ever selling DQ was on a nintendo device. It's also a franchise that entirely relies on Japanese sales. If ever there was a 3rd party franchise that should have been absolutely desperate to get a release on the switch it's DQ. I genuinely think this is one of the biggest missed opportunities since i've been following games sales.
 
Yeah, its straight up disrespectful how Switch and DQ have been handled the last couple years especially when you consider how they set things up on DS when it was clear that the system, the one to rule them all.

Sometimes it really fills like without moneyhats SE dont know how to move and which direction to follow - which is really sad.
DQ like all other major SE games are made for current gen first. That is why Switch got a late port of previous mainline DQ. And given that SE is now making a new Mana game with the PS5 in mind the same will probably be true for next mainline DQ game. Can't even rule out a PS5 exclusivity deal there.
 
I know we always talk about how 3rd parties have missed the boat on nintendo platforms and the switch in particular but usually I can kind of understand why. With DQ I just don't get it. The brand has a strong association with nintendo and the best ever selling DQ was on a nintendo device. It's also a franchise that entirely relies on Japanese sales. If ever there was a 3rd party franchise that should have been absolutely desperate to get a release on the switch it's DQ. I genuinely think this is one of the biggest missed opportunities since i've been following games sales.
Yeah it weird. 3R should have been out. The mobile 4-6 ports/remasters should have been on the eShop, they should have just go ahead and let Hino Remake/Reimagine DQ9, they should have put more effort behind some of the spin-offs, there is no reason for most of them to look like mobile/phone games pre Genshin.

Sometimes it feels like they dont release the surefire hits because this might decrease the willingness for a plattform holder like Nintendo to support/push their smaller new franchises like Bravely Default or Octopath.


DQ like all other major SE games are made for current gen first. That is why Switch got a late port of previous mainline DQ. And given that SE is now making a new Mana game with the PS5 in mind the same will probably be true for next mainline DQ game. Can't even rule out a PS5 exclusivity deal there.
Seems unlikely but i kinda wanna see it happen just for the reaction.
 
It's interesting seeing the difference between FF and DQ right now. From a sales perspective I don't think it makes sense. A ground up DQ12 made specifically for the switch had the potential to sell as much in Japan as rebirth will sell WW. It should have been a much bigger priority for the company.
 
'Top Dragon Quest' could actually be a good name for a Top Gun/Dragon Quest crossover (referring to the thread's title). However, I'd imagine the development time would be twice as long.
 
Switch set the record for the most hardware and software ever sold in Japan, yet it didn't receive a single new mainline Dragon Quest game.

It's genuinely crazy.
 
Since becoming president last year, Kiryu has streamlined game production by shutting down many unannounced projects and placing checks on producers’ influence, the people said.
So much for all the teeth-gnashing about that Bloomberg report and how totally untrue it supposedly was, since these actions are being taken for a problem that was alleged to not exist, because one former executive (who worked at Shinra, so his knowledge of the day-to-day of the Creative Business Units is questionable) said that SQE producers were an asset rather than a liability and to not listen to the Bloomberg report.
 
Switch set the record for the most hardware and software ever sold in Japan, yet it didn't receive a single new mainline Dragon Quest game.

It's genuinely crazy.
...in 8 years, which the crazier part.

It feels like SE thought they had done more than enough after porting over DQ11 and just went straight ahead developing something for likely PS4+ or PS5 hardware. Which is wild when you think about it considering how successful Switch has been, but as we have seen in the past not many expected Switch to sustain it dominance for so long.

Their plan of having big current-gen only games built up on each other to move people towards PS5 isnt really working.

FF XVI 2023
FF Rebirth/New Mana game 2024
DQ XII likely planned for 2025

Sometime in the last couple years they must have realized that this shit is not gonna work out without the Switch audience, which messed up the development pipeline and they might want/need to wait until Switch 2 is out in addition to PS5/PC for Japan.

Seems like 3 Remake is supposed to be the swan song of the Switch DQ releases and not DQ 12.
DQ11 released on 3DS and PS4 on the same day.
It was developed first as PS4 only game, the 3DS safety port was a late decision when they realized they about to make a big mistake.
 
Despite the last few years' mismanagement that led to only last year looking like the series' pipeline was starting to get back on a track of some sorts, Square Enix has clearly indicated how the Switch or Nintendo overall are either part of their multiplatform plans for the series (DQX Offline, DQ Dai) if not the *main* ecosystem for their plans, as highlighted by Dragon Quest Monsters 3 which also turned out to be an important seller for them (mainly in Japan, but still). As a matter of fact, the last few years have seen more DQ games on Switch than on the other platforms. Therefore, I see no sign that the next titles in the Dragon Quest series will suddenly decide to skip the Switch and / or the Switch 2.
 
"Producers' influence" doesn't really explain how management/executives have completely fumbled both the Switch and PC, which were no-brainer targets for growth for both DQ and SE this generation but have completely failed. Like, even if you're working without hindsight during the WiiU era, these 2 things were easily observable:

-The PC market was a very obvious growth area for JRPGs in an environment where international sales are more important, especially if you were insisting on targeting DQ for PS/Xbox rather than Nintendo
-If you wanted mass sales in the domestic market, the smart bet would have been 3DS as the target platform rather than PS4, and using that as a basis for a HD version, rather than desperately trying to make a PS4 game work on 3DS and later Switch

Obviously Miyake has overseen serious failings relating to DQ in particular - but at the end of the day the producer can only work within the remit of what has been greenlit by upper management/executives, even if the producers treat studios like "fiefdoms", as reported. I'm not sure any producer can thrive in a situation where you're told to develop for one platform and then later desperately pivot to 2 other platforms with completely different specifications at the last minute. Of course, it's possible Miyake advocated for this direction - if so, he has indeed helped the company waste most of a console generation that should have seen DQ thriving.
 
Good news as far as I'm concerned.

There needed to be a shake-up. While fully acknowledging DQXI and its excellence, the development of the DQ series has been a mess for a while now.

It is quite insane to me that SE went the entire Switch generation without an original mainline DQ game release. Like imagine if Enix/ SE did this during the PS1/PS2 era.

Now the extensive wait continues.
 
Honestly? That's good. Square really needs to get their shit together with Dragon Quest.

Their output has been severely lacking on both quality and quantity for a while now. Dragon Quest was a franchise were a certain level of polish and overall quality was guaranteed even on the more obscure and quirky projects... And not you have stuff like Treasures being released, which is honestly just a bad game in all aspects. Even the latest Monsters game, which is really good, is severely lacking polish and definitely does now look and run as well as it should on the switch... It really looks like a downscaled port instead of something made from the ground up for the switch.
 
We talk plenty about SE's obvious platform issues, but this one smells like a good ol' fashioned dev hell situation. 7 years after the last title with not even a trailer in sight is crazy.
 
SE does seem to be one of the most mismanaged companies in the industry, wonder if this will change anything on the DQ side, but the company wide problems come from higher up than just the DQ producer.
Makes me wonder what a full multiplatform DQ12, with the Switch as the main version, could have done. Maybe we will get it on the Switch 2? But I don't doubt SE might have taken a check to sabotage their own franchise at this point.
 
Too bad they will ignore the franchise that actually needs an overhaul.
 
An absurd amount of time between mainline games. Several spin-offs of questionable quality.

DQ could be something much bigger, if real care was taken.

I hope this change will make the announcements only occur when the game is ready for completion. It's absurd to take the time to announce DQ XII and DQ 3 HD and only have a few smaller videos.
 
I’m not sure how Dragon Quest’s unique ownership situation (ie it technically being owned by Armor Project/Yuji Horii instead of SE) affects things here, but the series looked like it was pretty much always targeting Nintendo over the last several years, even when considering production delays. The major games always seem to releases on the console that’s sold the most at a given time, and there’s nothing that’s really disproven that (aside possibly DQX and some of those games released before the Switch).

I think pretty much everything major in the series is either on Switch or iOS atm (the two biggest platforms in Japan), so I doubt SE and Horii were ever really willing to push the series to release on platforms that didn’t include one of those.

This seems more related to overall production issues than anything else. It does make whatever’s happening with DQ12 and DQ32DHD concerning though, especially with the looming launch of the Switch successor.
 
If Dragon Quest 3 Remake isn't releasing this year or Q1 25 at the latest I'm buying into the "there have been development issues" camp but right now I'm personally in wait and see mode.
 
Crazy how they haven't even gotten DQ 4-8 on non-mobile devices. Would have been a slam dunk after FF Pixel Remaster Collection
 
Good news as far as I'm concerned.

There needed to be a shake-up. While fully acknowledging DQXI and its excellence, the development of the DQ series has been a mess for a while now.

It is quite insane to me that SE went the entire Switch generation without an original mainline DQ game release. Like imagine if Enix/ SE did this during the PS1/PS2 era.

Now the extensive wait continues.


They almost did for both PS1 and PS2 eras tho, with VII releasing on PS1 after the PS2 was out and VIII releasing only a year before PS3.

When you consider that during this time it took to release 2 DQ games 5 mainline FF titles were released you know there was already something wrong with their output at that time and it continues today

SE does seem to be one of the most mismanaged companies in the industry, wonder if this will change anything on the DQ side, but the company wide problems come from higher up than just the DQ producer.
Makes me wonder what a full multiplatform DQ12, with the Switch as the main version, could have done. Maybe we will get it on the Switch 2? But I don't doubt SE might have taken a check to sabotage their own franchise at this point.

Dragon Quest is pretty far removed from Square, I believe. Isn't it co-owned by the creators too? I wonder how much weight Square even has with decisions regarding this franchise tbh, it seems like it's mostly Yuji Horii calling the shots from the start, for better or worse.
 
Crazy how they haven't even gotten DQ 4-8 on non-mobile devices. Would have been a slam dunk after FF Pixel Remaster Collection
but we did get the awful DQ 1-3 collection with the artworks everyone hates!
 
They almost did for both PS1 and PS2 eras tho, with VII releasing on PS1 after the PS2 was out and VIII releasing only a year before PS3.

When you consider that during this time 5 mainline FF titles were released and only 2 DQ games you know there was already something wrong with their output at that time and it continues today



Dragon Quest is pretty far removed from Square, I believe. Isn't it co-owned by the creators too? I wonder how much weight Square even has with decisions regarding this franchise tbh, it seems like it's mostly Yuji Horii calling the shots from the start, for better or worse.

There's a pretty big time difference though.

Dragon Quest 7 released when PS1 was 5 1/2 years old roughly

Dragon Quest 8 released when PS2 was 4/12 years old roughly

Hypothetically if Dragon Quest 12 came to Switch late next year the system would be 8 1/2 years old roughly
 
There have only ever been 2 DQ games that have been on schedule, that's DQ8 and DQ10. I don't think there is anything to worry about.
 
No chance that they will port Dragon Quest 12 to Switch, i think its being made for PS5, a downport to Switch 2 is possible, maybe at a later date which happened with Dragon Quest 11 to Switch. But it will all depend on Sony if they are interested in having Dragon Quest 12 as an exclusive title for PS5 to help drive some growth in the Japanese market. Square Enix has proven time and time again that if Sony is offering to moneyhat something they will accept that offer 10/10 times.

And all the talk about ''Moving Dragon Quest in a new direction'' from Square Enix can just be translated to ''Try to make changes to make Dragon Quest bigger in the west'', which in reality always leads to only focusing on PS, PC and Xbox from big Japanese publishers.
 
No chance that they will port Dragon Quest 12 to Switch, i think its being made for PS5, a downport to Switch 2 is possible, maybe at a later date which happened with Dragon Quest 11 to Switch.
Yeah 2 of the last 3 DQ games skipped switch and were exclusive to PS5, so skipping Nintendo system day 1 checks out…wait a minute.

Ultimately it could be exclusive to PS5, but it would also tank the brand and at this point they know it based on how 11’s production went. They are free to make that choice but then we have to assume they are being incredibly dumb.
 
I don't trust SE to not have signed DQ12 into full PS5 exclusivity.
Yeah that's my point. It basically will just boil down to if Sony has offered them money for DQ12, if they have Square Enix will have accepted it, they never refuse Sony exclusivity if offered. The collapsing PS5 sales in Japan will just make it more appealing for Sony to buy exclusivity for DQ12.
 
DQ XII isn't going to be PS5 exclusive, let's stop here.

DQ XI PS4 barely passed over 1+M on a much stronger environment for software sales. Imagine if DQ XII was to be PS5 exclusive. There's no magical west to recover the lost sales in Japan.

12 is probably being made with Nintendo and Sony multiplatform release in mind. And I wouldn't discard at all a possibility of a Switch 1 version also existing, even if the game releases in 2026.
 
Yeah 2 of the last 3 DQ games skipped switch and were exclusive to PS5, so skipping Nintendo system day 1 checks out…wait a minute.

Ultimately it could be exclusive to PS5, but it would also tank the brand and at this point they know it based on how 11’s production went. They are free to make that choice but then we have to assume they are being incredibly dumb.
But none of those arguments is something Square Enix cares about. What we do know is that every time Sony wants to moneyhat Square Enix they accept it. They like the security of having guaranteed money for the bigger titles they make over selling more copies with multiplatform releases. That is just their tried and tested business strategy.

And Nintendo will never enter into a bidding war to prevent Sony from buying any exclusivity they want, so it just boils down to if Sony wants DQ12 exclusivity to boost their Japanese hardware and software sales.
 
the problem is Sony can't front enough money to keep DQ12, IMO. Final Fantasy was a far sure-er bet, globally. DQ needs a lot of work to grow in the west and Sony ain't gonna front that cash, especially after their SE flops
 
Echoes of an Elusive Age built up a lot of momentum and got a good deal of new players into Dragon Quest. They squandered a lot of that now.
 
DQ XII isn't going to be PS5 exclusive, let's stop here.

DQ XI PS4 barely passed over 1+M on a much stronger environment for software sales. Imagine if DQ XII was to be PS5 exclusive. There's no magical west to recover the lost sales in Japan.

12 is probably being made with Nintendo and Sony multiplatform release in mind. And I wouldn't discard at all a possibility of a Switch 1 version also existing, even if the game releases in 2026.
For me the fact that Sony is selling badly in Japan just makes it more likely that they see DQ12 as a way to boost those sales. And i don't think DQ12 selling less with PS5 exclusivity is a deal breaker in any way at all, Square Enix prefers guaranteed money for exclusivity for their bigger titles over selling more copies with multiplatform releases. They are not Capcom in terms of business strategy.
 
But none of those arguments is something Square Enix cares about. What we do know is that every time Sony wants to moneyhat Square Enix they accept it. They like the security of having guaranteed money for the bigger titles they make over selling more copies with multiplatform releases. That is just their tried and tested business strategy.
We don’t actually know that, as we have no idea if they ever tried to money hat other DQ games. Not to mention exclusivity hasn’t exactly panned out for them on some of their big shot releases, which judging by the shrinking exclusivity windows, PS isn’t thrilled by either.

Besides this, they clearly do care about their performance in Japan for DQ, it’s why like I said 11 shifted from ps4 exclusive to adding 3DS and Switch. It’s why every DQ game they (barely) managed to put out since has been on switch. They can’t afford to injure the brand continuously as it has mobile and multimedia aspects that need the Japanese public engaged in.
 
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