The next game in the Dragon Quest series will be bringing its iconic monsters into the real world, as Square Enix has announced Dragon Quest Walk for smartphones, which is a game that greatly resembles Pokémon Go.
Dragon Quest Walk is an upcoming ARG that will feature the monsters from the Dragon Quest series. The player will take on the role of a hero and will encounter monsters in the same way as Pokémon Go - by walking around in the real world. The map shown on the Dragon Quest Walk website not only has monsters, but seems to have dungeons, towns, and random treasure chests.
Dragon Quest Walk will also give players a base in the form of the "My Room" feature, which they can decorate with items that they acquire in the game. No guesses for which part of Dragon Quest Walk will be heavily monetized.
The popularity of Pokémon Go has prompted other developers to try and create similar games using iconic franchises, with both Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Minecraft Earth arriving in the future to try and dethrone Pokémon Go's grip on the wandering smartphone-users of the worlds. Dragon Quest Walk is just Square Enix's first attempt at creating an ARG, which is surprising, as the Final Fantasy series would have been a more appropriate choice, considering the greater worldwide popularity of Final Fantasy compared to Dragon Quest.
Dragon Quest Walk has only been announced for Japan so far and there is a chance it might stay there. The Dragon Quest franchise is a national phenomenon in Japan and its popularity outstrips the likes of the Final Fantasy series, but Dragon Quest has only ever found a niche audience in other countries, even with its association to Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball fame. It's possible that Square Enix might keep Dragon Quest Walk in Japan, as it likely won't ever come close to rivaling Pokémon Go or the other upcoming ARGs outside of its homeland.
The turn-based nature of the Dragon Quest series means that it will be easy to emulate the games in an ARG format. Dragon Quest Walk will likely be a smash hit in Japan, but the question remains if it will see an international release and if the game can finally bring the Dragon Quest series to mainstream popularity in the west?
Dragon Quest Walk is currently looking for beta-testers in Japan.