Square Enix has held a Dragon Quest Spring Meeting 2004 at the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall yesterday. The event started off with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra conducted by composer Kouichi Sugiyama performing the Dragon Quest March, followed by Battle and Tenguu no Hanayome. Following this introduction, Square Enix president Youichi Wada took the stage to speak about his company's second flagship series behind Final Fantasy. Apart from noting the series' impressive track records of more than 34 million copies sold to date, he pointed out Square Enix's moves to draw new audiences to the series, for instance by developing titles like the recently released Slime Mori Mori Dragon Quest for Game Boy Advance and the TV toy Kenshin Dragon Quest.
Afterwards, the series' newest main installment was shown off. As previously reported, its official title will be Dragon Quest VIII: Sora to Umi to Daichi to Norowareshi Himigemi. The company also eyes to release the game outside Japan. Considering that Square Enix has laid out its strategy to promote the awareness for titles coming from the Enix-side of the company (like Dragon Quest VIII and Star Ocean: Till the End of Time) already shortly after last year's merger, this announcement however did not come as a surprise.
Following a commercial for the PlayStation 2 version of Dragon Quest V: Tenguu no Hanayome, series mastermind Yuuji Horii, composer Sugiyama, production team 9 head Ari Miyake as well as art director Shintarou Mashima entered the stage. Sugiyama revealed that starting with Dragon Quest V he was re-recording the soundtracks of the first seven Dragon Quest installments in cooperation with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. Beginning in June, the new albums would be released over a time period of two years.
Following a message by character designer Akira Toriyama, Yuuji Horii commented on how Dragon Quest V even after 12 years has not lost its charm. After listening all the enhancements of the upcoming PlayStation 2 release, he jokingly remarked that the greatest hardship was developing the remake while working on Dragon Quest VIII. The meeting was concluded by the presentation of the Dragon Quest VIII Premium Disc, which will ship with Dragon Quest V later this month.
Dragon Quest V: Tenguu no Hanayome for PlayStation 2 will be available in Japan on March 25th for 7,800 yen ($69.64 US). Dragon Quest VII: Sora to Umi to Daichi to Norowareshi Himigemi is only listed for a release sometime this year.