Dragon Quest XI was the first Dragon Quest ever released on a Microsoft console, and the next title to come to Game Pass should be Dragon Quest VIII.
On December 4, 2020, history was made when the long-running Dragon Quest series finally made its debut on a Microsoft console. Believe it or not, the release Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age was the first Dragon Quest that could be played on an Xbox. Even now, it is still only accompanied on the Xbox One by Dragon Quest Builders 2, with no news of other ports coming down the pipeline. The recent announcement of the upcoming Dragon Quest XII: The Flames of Fate didn’t mention which consoles it would land on either.
That being said, Microsoft seems happy to tease the possibility of more Dragon Quest in their future. Now that the series has appeared on the Xbox, it isn’t too farfetched to hope that Dragon Quest XII and the upcoming Dragon Quest III remake will also make their way to Game Pass. However, there’s another title even more apt for Game Pass that fans will surely clamor for: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King.
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Dragon Quest VIII is arguably the Final Fantasy VII of the series, considered by many to be the best entry in the franchise one that earned Dragon Quest international acclaim. Before VIII, the series was exclusively released under the title Dragon Warrior in the West. Though North America got Dragon Warrior titles I through VII, the PS2 release of Dragon Quest VIII established the franchise worldwide. Like Final Fantasy VII, Dragon Quest VIII was the series’ entry into full-3D graphics. Other Dragon Quest mainstays were also established here, like the transition from a first-person to third-person battle camera. Dragon Quest VIII‘s legacy is obvious — VIII‘s Hero is even featured as a Fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Bringing Dragon Quest VIII to Game Pass would also follow a precedent set by Dragon Quest XI. Both titles received enhanced ports on Nintendo systems. Dragon Quest XI S debuted on Nintendo Switch in 2019, and that enhanced port made its way back to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One a year later. Likewise, the Nintendo 3DS got an upgraded port of Dragon Quest VIII in 2017, featuring new side quests and party members. Though the orchestral soundtrack was replaced with sequenced audio, various quality of life changes such as a quick save and faster battling make the 3DS version the definitive way to experience the game. Moreover, Dragon Quest VIII also received ports to Android and iOS, so Square Enix clearly has the drive to make VIII more accessible.
A high-definition remaster of Dragon Quest VIII, including the 3DS release’s updates, would be incredible on modern consoles. The 3DS and Switch proved that Dragon Quest is excellent on the go, but Dragon Quest is just as excellent an adventure when enjoyed on the big screen. VIII‘s cel-shaded graphics would upscale cleanly in HD. The 3DS release’s quick save and speed features would also make it just as easy to pick up and play on the Xbox One or Xbox Series X.
Dragon Quest XI and Dragon Quest Builders 2 went straight to Game Pass the day they hit the Xbox store. Giving the same treatment to Dragon Quest VIII opens up a classic, foundational JRPG experience to a brand-new audience. Old fans and series newcomers alike would enjoy a fresh romp in the kingdom of Trodain. If gamers’ demands for backwards compatibility and better game archival sends any message, it is that classics such as Dragon Quest VIII deserve a life beyond the PS2 and mobile devices.
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