- Adored by the Network: While Square-Enix has always had a rocky relationship with the franchise outside of Japan, the same cannot be said for Nintendo, who enthusiastically publishes and promotes many of the games internationally when SE refuses to, in spite of their typically niche levels of sales. The success of Dragon Quest XI helped put a dent in SE's reluctance, at least.
- Fountain of Expies:
- Killer App: Like with Monster Hunter after it, Dragon Quest games will generally serve as a killer app in Japan for most of the consoles they appear on due to their massive popularity in the region.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: A lot of the older Dragon Quest games, particularly the original trilogy, have been hit rather hard with this. About the only things the US audience gets in that regards are mobile ports of the games, with any and all re-releases of the original games being Japan exclusives. As the NES carts after DW1 had rather conservative print runs (with 4 being in the sub-100,000 range) this has made them fairly pricey collector's items.
- Late Export for You: Generally why the games didn't have the same kind of thunderbolt impact in English-speaking territories as they did in Japan, particularly Dragon Quest III. The Erdrick Trilogy was released in English three years after coming out in Japan, by which point domestic games, especially RPGs, had progressed on their own in many ways, leaving the DQ games looking more primitive than they should have and easier to dismiss.
- As an example, III came out in early 1988 in Japan - roughly the same time as, say, Ultima V or D&D: Pool of Radiance, who both make for reasonably good comparative partners in terms of scope and technology. The English version came out in early 1992 - over a year after Ultima VI and Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire, after basically the entire Gold Box series had come out, and all of five weeks before Ultima VII would land with its own kind of thunderbolt and Ultima Underworld would introduce a much different way of playing an RPG. Never mind the fact that Square, at the time, got wise, and bumped Final Fantasy IV up to "II" and released it as soon as they could. Dragon Quest never contributed to the RPG conversation in America because it arrived far too late to the party to do so.
- In modern times, the VII and VIII remakes on the 3DS took 3 years to release, thanks only to the publishing efforts of Nintendo. Also XI S on the Switch is only happening thanks to Nintendo's support. It seems like Nintendo cares more about the series than Square Enix does.
- In mid 2019, to coincide with the release of Dragon Quest XI S on the Switch, the ports of I, II, and III that Japan enjoyed on the PS4 or 3DS (they even got I for free up completing XI) were finally, finally released on the Switch. This is the first time the original trilogy is available on dedicated game systems in North America and Europe since the Game Boy Color releases in 2001.
- Market-Based Title: The series was originally called "Dragon Warrior" when released outside of Japan. A pen-and-paper game called Dragon Quest already existed when the first Dragon Quest video game was released, so Nintendo of America changed the name during localization to avoid any potential legal issues. Square Enix eventually got the rights to use the intended name and made the switch starting with Dragon Quest VIII when it released in North America in 2005.
- Network to the Rescue: As detailed below, Dragon Quest has had a history of shaky publishing in the West. After the DS Remakes for IV and V flopped in sales, Square was reluctant to release anymore of the titles in the West. Nintendo ended up stepping in to distribute IX and VI, the former doing decently well but the latter doing relatively poorly. Years later, the 3DS remakes for VII and VIII come out and Square once again refused to publish the game outside of Japan. Nintendo once more stepped in to publish both games, even localizing the games themselves.
- Nintendo not only published XI S on the Switch, but bankrolled some of the new features including the previously 3DS-exclusive content as well as the 2D mode, new story content, orchestral music, and Japanese voice acting in order to justify anybody double-dipping.
- No Export for You:
- While the release of XI was met with great happiness from the fanbase, the news that the 3DS version would NOT be localized caused a great deal of consternation. The 3DS version had not only a completely different art style but some exclusive content as well. This also put doubt on the idea of the 3DS ports of I, II, and III being released in the future. This was especially sad because every main series game would otherwise be playable on a single 3DS system, missing those 4 games and X. The pain was relieved when XI S included most of the content, but it still stung.
- For whatever reason, VII is the only game from 1-8 that is not available on mobile devices outside of Japan. The likely culprit is some kind of exclusivity contract between Nintendo and Square Enix, as Nintendo took on publishing duties for the 3DS remake of VII.
- The series as a whole entered an age of this after the release of IX, the remake of VI, and Monsters: Joker 2 in 2010-11. The West missed out on Dragon Quest X, Slime Morimori 3 and the remakes of Monsters Joker 2, Monsters: Terry's Wonderland, and Monsters: Cobi's Journey and Tara's Adventure. The drought finally ended in 2016, with Dragon Quest Heroes and the remakes of VII and VIII all receiving English-language releases and XI getting a decently timely release in 2018, but for ages it looked like the VII and VIII remakes would miss the boat, too, and naturally all of the previously-mentioned titles seem to be in permanent export limbo (which is maddening for X).
- And of course, people are/were extra sore about this, VII in particular, because this wasn't even the franchise's first trip out into the woods. After Dragon Quest IV's awful-because-it-was-years-late showing in 1992, the franchise entered a years-long period of missed or sporadic releases in the 90s, with V & VI infamously left to molder and only sporadic releases of spinoffs happening, along with VII somehow making it over. It was only after VIII in 2004, and in the lead-up to IX, that the newly-formed Square Enix seemed to be interested in making a new push for the franchise.
- Before Dragon Quest VIII, none of the Dragon Quest games were released in Europe, except Dragon Quest Monsters. The Erdrick trilogy took nearly three decades from its original release year before the region finally saw a release, but on smartphones.
- Then there are the Arcade games that Square Enix released under a partnership with Marvelous AQL. So far Monster Battle Scanner is available outside of Japan at certain arcades, notably Aeon Molly Fantasy outlets. Whether they'd become available in more countries however remains to be seen - which is kinda sad since the English localization was rather well done and apparently they got Side UK as their talent agency.
- Promoted Fanboy: Koichi Sugiyama joined the series because he wrote Enix a letter about a Shogi game; Enix was excited that a celebrity composer such as him wrote them a personal letter that they asked him to compose for their games.
- Screwed by the Network: All the problems discussed in Bad Export for You and No Export for You above are because the American branch of Square Enix seems to have no faith in this series outside of Japan.
- Network to the Rescue: Nintendo. They are the ones who are responsible for the western releases of IX, Monsters: Joker 2 and the remakes of VI, VII and VIII. Sometimes they even took on the responsibilities of translating and marketing the games themselves.
- Trope Namer;
- The Wiki Rule: The Dragon Quest Wiki and Gamepedia Dragon Quest Wiki, as well as Wikia Dragon Quest Wiki.
Trivia / Dragon Quest