Bringing video game characters to life through augmented reality and having gamers interact with them via their mobile devices is a growing business opportunity. Niantic knocked this idea out of the park with Pokémon Go and Square Enix is hoping to do the same with another popular Japanese franchise. Reported by The Verge, Square Enix announced the mobile AR game Dragon Quest Walk for iOS and Android.
The trailer for Dragon Quest Walk doesn’t feature actual gameplay but shows off a plethora of the series’ characters in Japan. The trailer ends with clips of gameplay and a sword blocked off with caution tape. Thus, the game may incorporate searches around participating areas for gear that will help you fight against the creatures you come across while walking around. There’s a party system as well but we’ll have to wait and see how it works. As far as what will be powering the map for this gaming experience, Dragon Quest Walk will be using Google Maps.
One of the unsung strengths of Pokémon Go is the use of Niantic’s database that was utilized for the developer’s other game, Ingress. Ingress is a location-based AR experience much like Dragon Quest Walk and it focused on points of interest around the world like landmarks, murals, historic buildings, businesses, and more. With Pokémon Go, those landmarks were turned into Pokéstops and Gyms and many of the businesses represented took advantage of this by offering deals to those participating in the game and hosting events. Businesses that weren’t a part of the database even reached out with hopes to be added.
The Dragon Quest franchise garnered a lot of love in its 1986 debut and has continued to grow into one of the most well-loved JRPG series in addition to being one of the longest-running. It hasn’t reached the level of popularity of the Pokémon brand, though, and Dragon Quest Walk won’t likely reach the incredible heights that Pokémon Go attained.
As it stands, we do not know if Dragon Quest Walk will be released for mobile devices outside of Japan. As reported by Gematsu, Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Illusive Age sold 4 million copies globally as of November and more than 3 million of those copies were sold in Japan. There’s a market outside of the game’s home base, but it’s not nearly as massive. With that understanding, it’s likely Square Enix would consider Dragon Quest Walk a success even if it only blows up in Japan.
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