With the game out in the wild for you to tame, we had a chance to speak to The Dark Prince’s producer, Kento Yokota, who also worked as a producer on Dragon Quest XI. We spoke about why The Dark Prince is revisiting one of the most popular games in the series, Dragon Quest IV, what the Monsters series brings to the monster-catching RPG table, and advice for newcomers to this sub-series.
Nintendo Life: Why did you decide to revisit Dragon Quest IV, specifically Psaro?
Kento Yokota, Producer on Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince: While we were talking to Mr. Horii Yuji (the creator of Dragon Quest) about choosing the protagonist for the game, Psaro’s name came up because he is a well-known and popular character from the series past and also has a monstrous heritage himself, so we felt he was a great fit for the Dragon Quest Monsters series. Once that choice was made, we decided to set the story in the world of Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen, the original game that Psaro comes from.
What differences do you think Dragon Quest Monsters brings to the monster-taming genre?
There are a lot of other games out there where you team up with monsters to fight, but the unique feature that makes Dragon Quest Monsters stand out is the synthesis system that allows you to create new monsters to use. I would be delighted to see this concept more recognised and synthesis systems spread to be used in more games.
We felt [Psaro] was a great fit for the Dragon Quest Monsters series
Aside from remakes, this is the first time Dragon Quest Monsters has been playable on a home console. What challenges did that bring when developing the game?
With the move to bigger screens than on the previous handheld platforms, we can show more information, but because you can play the Nintendo Switch in portable mode too, it was important to adjust the screen layout, so the action was not difficult to follow on the screen in that mode either.
Each environment changes with the seasons in The Dark Prince. Why did you decide to implement a seasonal system in the game, and how does it affect gameplay and monster taming?
All the monsters that appear in the Dragon Quest series are so characterful and unique. We felt that it would be a great idea to tailor the areas that they live in to match that individuality and came up with the seasons system. We made sure that the passing of the seasons would not interfere with the progression of the story in any way, but there are lots of monsters that will only appear if you visit their habitat in the right season, so watching out for the changing seasons becomes another enjoyable aspect of the gameplay.
There’s a huge number of monsters in The Dark Prince. How hard is it to narrow down which monsters make the cut?
It is indeed quite tricky to balance everything in order to get a roughly equal number from each monster type, monsters of different sizes and varying silhouettes and also an even selection from the various Dragon Quest games, so we tweaked the lineup many times before settling on the final cut. However, the work to decide on which monsters to include is a lot of fun in itself.
How do reserve monsters work in The Dark Prince? Are there any new mechanics to your back row?
Much like with the comrades who wait in your cart in numbered Dragon Quest games like Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen, Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride and Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation (known in Europe as Realms of Reverie), the reserve monsters in the Dragon Quest Monsters series are on stand-by to be tactically swapped out with your starting lineup depending on the opponents you find yourself facing or developments during a battle. They are a very important element, especially when battling against another player.
For solo play, when you are progressing through the story, putting a monster that can use healing spells in your reserve slots can be really convenient, as it will let you heal at any time.
We’ve seen the Goomulonimbus already, but what other new Slime variants can we expect to see in The Dark Prince? And do you have a favourite Slime from earlier Dragon Quest games?
Yes, there are other new Slime monsters in addition to Goomulonimbus. Personally, my favourite Slime monster is the Slime Knight. Many Japanese players cannot help but tell of his heroic exploits in Dragon Quest V!
Do you have any advice for players who love Dragon Quest IV, but have never played a Monsters game and might make this one their first Monsters title?
my favourite Slime monster is the Slime Knight.
The biggest difference between the mainline Dragon Quest series and the Dragon Quest Monsters series is that, in Monsters, it is monsters rather than people who do the fighting, and you progress by synthesising monsters together to create new ones.
Some people might feel as if these mechanics are complex and different, but for Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince we have tweaked and streamlined the entire system to be simpler and more accessible than before, so it is the perfect title for fans wanting to get into the sub-series.
You can also look forward to a great story featuring the protagonist Psaro and various characters connected to him, with many twists and turns along the way. The gameplay and the story are both solid and enjoyable, so please give Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince a try. You can even start with the free demo!”
This interview has been edited lightly for clarity.
We want to thank Yokota-san for speaking to us about Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince. The RPG is out now exclusively on Nintendo Switch. Let us know if you’re enjoying the game in the comments.
This story originally appeared on Nintendo Life