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Dragon Quest Builders embarks on a Minecraft-inspired journey in January

Square Enix’s Minecraft-inspired spinoff in its long-running Dragon Quest RPG series, Dragon Quest Builders, will launch in Japan in early 2016, the publisher confirmed at the Tokyo Game Show event this week.

Merging sandbox-styled exploration and crafting elements with traditional Dragon Quest trappings, Dragon Quest Builders lets players build their own retro-styled RPG world that hosts a quest of epic proportions.

Taking place in the original Dragon Quest‘s kingdom of Alefgard, Dragon Quest Builders challenges players to rebuild a fallen empire and drive out armies of invading enemy creatures. Players will use crafting mechanics to build weapons and tools during their quest, and enemies will grow more powerful as built environments stretch into dangerous territory.

Like its series predecessors, Dragon Quest Builders features combat and character-building mechanics, but gameplay focuses more on environmental shaping and town construction. Story elements provide structure, however, giving players incentive to expand their empire and foster productive citizens.

Dragon Quest Builders follows up on a recent string of successful Dragon Quest games in Japan, including the Dynasty Warriors-styled brawler Dragon Quest Heroes. Developed by Omega Force, Dragon Quest Heroes features several playable characters plucked from throughout the Dragon Quest series, and challenges players with a series of battlefields filled with hundreds of enemy characters.

At Tokyo Game Show this week, Square Enix announced that a sequel, Dragon Quest Heroes 2, is currently in development for the PlayStation 4, PS Vita, and PS3, and is expected to hit retail in Japan in 2016. The first entry in the series, Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below, will make its North American debut in October as a PS4 exclusive.

Dragon Quest Builders will launch for the PlayStation 4, PS3, and PS Vita in Japan on January 28, 2016. Square Enix has not announced plans for a North American release.