Square Enix’s Dragon Quest series channels Minecraft in PS4 spinoff

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Publisher Square Enix today revealed Dragon Quest Builders, a building-block Japanese RPG with an aesthetic similar to Mojang’s indie hit Minecraft.

Described as a “block-building RPG,” Dragon Quest Builders takes place in Alefgard, the same setting as 1989’s Nintendo Entertainment System RPG Dragon Warrior. Few other details were revealed in the wake of the announcement, though the screenshot above showcases character designs and environmental details ripped straight from its 8-bit inspiration.

Launched in 1986, the Dragon Quest series is a singular phenomenon in its native Japan, and every core entry in the series has sold millions of copies upon release. The latest numbered entry in the series – the MMORPG-styled Dragon Quest X – premiered for Nintendo’s Wii, the Wii U, and Windows PC platforms in Japan in 2012, and to date is the only core series entry to never be released outside of Japan.

In decades prior, the Dragon Quest series was known in western territories as Dragon Warrior, and multiple sequels, spinoffs, and remakes have premiered for consoles ranging from the NES to the Sony PlayStation to the Nintendo 3DS. The Nintendo DS family of systems in particular has hosted the majority of recent Dragon Quest releases, including Dragon Quest IX and Japan-exclusive remakes of Dragon Quest VII and Dragon Quest VIII for 3DS.

Square Enix recently announced that its combat-oriented spinoff Dragon Quest Heroes will launch in North America and Europe for the PlayStation 4 later this year. Developed by the creative team behind Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors series, Dragon Quest Heroes pits a party of heroes against swarms of enemies in hack-and-slash scenarios inspired by previous Dragon Quest games. Nintendo and Koei Tecmo produced a similar team-up effort last year with the release of the Zelda-inspired brawler Hyrule Warriors.

Square Enix has issued no details regarding Dragon Quest Builders‘ gameplay, and a release date is not yet known. The game is currently in development for the PlayStation 4, PS3, and PS Vita platforms. A North American release has not been confirmed.