Dragon Quest 12 and Final Fantasy 16 take iconic franchises to dark places

Final Fantasy, and more so Dragon Quest, have long been light fantasy adventures, but it looks like both are exploring a darker tone.

Dragon quest 12 was announced recently and marks a change of tone as its sister series Final fantasy has been walking for years. Final Fantasy 16 and Dragon quest 12 seem to bring both franchises into darker territory, especially for the Dragon quest franchise. However, both series are in full swing right now, and reaching out to a more adult audience for such classic franchises will be interesting if nothing else.

It seems clear, based on what little information fans have so far, that Dragon quest 12 may be drastically different from previous main games. Series creator Yuji Horii has made some vague but pointed remarks about the game’s departure from its predecessors. Its title reveal trailer is also ambiguous but looks like solid proof. Dragon quest has always featured dynamic visuals designed by Dragon ball creator Akira Toriyama, but the new trailer showed dark colors and fierce flames etching the new logo. This probably represents a change of tone for the playoffs.

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Dragon Quest 12 and Final Fantasy 16 move to darker places

final fantasy 16 close-up fire

Final fantasy on the other hand, he’s much more familiar with murkier waters and heavier storylines. Death of main characters, life-changing events, and villains with levels of serial killer depravity are all places Final fantasy went before. But often those heavier tones are offset by bright colors, whimsical characters, and mini-games that sometimes even feel at odds with the tone of its overall stories. Final Fantasy 16 seems to be heading for a much darker place, however.

Contrary to Dragon quest, Final fantasy has had a tendency towards darker stories for a while now. The immediate predecessor, Final Fantasy 15, dealt with the themes of loss and inevitable sacrifice. This game featured some of the same more colorful distractions along the way, like fishing and other mini-games. Final Fantasy 16 can end up standing out from older games in a number of ways. While there haven’t been many disclosures about the game since its initial trailer, these debuts and the information added to the official site about its world all carry a very heavy atmosphere.

For Final Fancy, this is a notable but expected evolution towards more mature themes. The surprise of Dragon quest going in that direction is probably more shocking to fans. Dragon quest has long been marked by its colorful visuals and generally lighter stories. His heroes still need to save the world, but they often don’t see the kind of horrors that many Final fantasy some have. Especially after the success of the incredibly traditional Dragon quest 11, it seems surprising to bring the series into heavier territory, although that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

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Dragon Quest 12 Moving to darker territory is more surprising

Montage of the main character of Dragon Quest

Since the announcement of Dragon quest 12 many are probably reflecting on the development decision to move into darker territory. The series wasn’t designed specifically for kids, but its lighter tone and colorful aesthetic continued to attract new fans with every entry. Deciding to move the franchise to a more adult-oriented location may be a reflection of Square Enix’s acknowledgment of its dedicated fan base who has aged with the franchise. Giving something more suited to those older fans might turn out to be a good move on his part.

The darker direction for both Final fantasy and now Dragon quest also talks about their growing appeal in the West. Real-time combat movement for the Final fantasy franchising has been largely an effective decision so far, and the same may turn out to be Dragon quest. It’s not confirmed, but Horii has also said there will be changes to turn-based combat as well. Now that Dragon quest Approaching its 35th anniversary, the series has established a very powerful foothold in Japan, but this darker direction could be an attempt to sway the West even more. It is worth bearing in mind that with so little Dragon quest 12, this is entirely speculative.

While bringing Final fantasy and Dragon quest in more adult areas, it looks like Square Enix may be using its spinoff games from each franchise to maintain a more traditional and lean approach. Despite being heavily influenced by Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts has largely evolved into its own entity. Dragon quest can do pretty much the same with games like Dragon Quest Builders 2 and the newly announced Treasures of Dragon Quest. Keeping two distinct tones might work well for Final fantasy and Dragon quest, because they theoretically seek to attract new fans while keeping a segment of their respective brands lighter.

Dragon quest the games are among the most popular in the industry. It is likely that fans will fear a change in the trajectory of the series. For a long time Final fantasy fans are used to spooky stories, this could be a big start for Dragon quest Fans. But every franchise will still need to pay attention to the scope of this change. While Final fantasy gamers are probably less averse to adult themes or dark tones, there is still a certain charm that many will want to see preserved. Part of what makes the heaviest stories of Final fantasyThe story of these are the moments of rest and reprieve. Dragon quest will walk an even tighter rope in this regard.

So much of what made Dragon quest games throughout its history has been this light and charming tone. That’s not to say that turning to more adult themes will be a bad thing for the series, but it will need to be handled with care. Not just for the sake of the fans but for the plot of Dragon quest 12 himself. It could be confusing for players to find themselves racing to stop a violent or doomsday event and then delve into battling Slimes and Cruelcumbers. While it’s unlikely to be such a drastic change, it will certainly be interesting to see how Dragon quest 12 and Final Fantasy 16 manage their movements towards darker themes.

Dragon Quest 12: Flames of Fate is currently in development.

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About Johanna Gooding

Johanna Gooding

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