Heart Beat, one of the companies who worked on the Dragon Quest series, has announced they're going to retire from the game development business and pursue other occupations. During their 10 years in the industry, Heart Beat had participated in the development of Dragon Quest VI, VII, the remake of III for the Super Famicom, and more recently the PlayStation version of DQIV, after ChunSoft left Enix. Heart Beat had contributed a lot to the series, such as the AI system and DQVII's short load times, among other things.
The reason invoked for the withdrawal is "because of the raise of development costs, Heart Beat can no longer ensure its financial independence." This announcement comes as a surprise, given the decisive part Heart Beat has played in the last DQ games, and with DQVII and IV yielding enormous sales in Japan, it can be suspected there may be other reasons behind this.
Additionally, Enix disclosed some new information about DQVIII in the TV program "World Business Satellite" on TV Tokyo. Enix is aiming to release Dragon Quest VIII by March 2004, and has not decided yet who will replace Heart Beat for the next DQ game. "DQVIII is still in the planning stages, so the change of team will not have a significant effect on the game", Enix commented.