The most eagerly awaited blockbuster RPG for some, Dragon Quest IX: Hoshizora no Mamoribito (Guardian of the Starry Skies), for the DS, was recently released, but instead of the usual rapturous reaction its release has turned into a major fiasco, with piracy, negative reactions and dubious characters all spoiling what was doubtless expected to be the biggest DS release for some time, though it is not clear whether sales are affected by this.
The first upset to strike the game, if we exclude some dubious rumours about major misconduct in the design team, was it being leaked to warez groups several days ahead of the official release, not an uncommon occurrence, but one which with a title of this magnitude filtered into the mass media and was a cause of some discontentment.
Dragon Quest games are known to include additional non-standard copy protection to thwart this sort of casual piracy (checks which stop people advancing at certain points in the game), but unfortunately for them their efforts were cracked within a day.
Then came a wave of critical Amazon reviews, with the store’s customer review system totally dominated by harshly critical voices:
A two and a half star average was topped off by virtually every single positive review being marked “unhelpful”, and the converse true of negative reviews.
Soon the 2ch reaction became apparent, and it was pitiful in comparison to the sort of hysterical reaction Final Fantasy incited, with only a few threads:
Many fans have also been rather sceptical of the addition of “Sandy”, a ganguro fairy, to the cast of characters. She was supposed to be a cheeky streetwise fairy speaking in the slang of the ganguro subculture, but she has instead been received as an egocentric annoyance…
There has been some positive attention directed towards the game (for example towards its character designer, which is apparently well suited to loli design), but this rather painful release seems to have completely overshadowed that, with reports all zeroing in on the juicy controversy rather than the game itself…
The enthusiasm of some fans was undampened, such as that of mystery dakimakura man here:
Those wishing to find out for themselves about the highs and lows of what will still probably become a major blockbuster of the sort Nintendo seems adept at releasing can order the game now.