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The villainous Dhoulmagus has placed a curse on the entire kingdom of Trodain, transforming the people into thorns and freezing the land in time. The curse left one untouched, however... a young guardsman... you! Now you must embark on an epic journey to save your king and country and lift the shadow of the evil jester's curse.
Ni No Kuni...epitomizes the old-school console RPG; in fact, it feels more like a classic Dragon Quest game than recent Dragon Quest sequels do...Imagine if DQVIII's sequel had appeared on an HD system rather than on the tiny DS, that Akira Toriyama's artwork had been swapped out for image design by Studio Ghibli, and that the combat system added a real-time element and played up the monster-collecting mechanics of Dragon Quest V and Dragon Quest VII...To top off the Dragon Quest vibe, Ni No Kuni's English localization has been spearheaded by Richard Honeywood, the former head of Squaresoft localization who defined the Dragon Quest dialogue style with his work on DQVIII. Ni No Kuni reads and sounds exactly like it was ripped from the DQ world; characters speak with a variety of European dialects (including a persnickety Welsh monster companion) and puns abound. A feline fortune teller is called a "Purrognosticator"; a pig soldier is called a "Boarrior"; and the mechanical pig boss you battle at the demo's end is called "Porco Grosso." That... is Ni No Kuni. And it's endlessly charming.
The results are in for the first quarter of the current fiscal year and Square Enix has turned a profit of 888 million yen ($7.60 million USD) from 37.20 billion yen ($318.21 million USD) of sales. This constitutes a tripling of sales and no less than sixteen times the same quarter's profits last year. More specifically, titles such as Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria and Dragon Quest VIII selling in Japan and Europe contributed to the 363 million yen ($3.11 million USD) profit of the Square Enix game division, while the official Final Fantasy XII strategy guide also did its part by increasing the profits of the publishing division more than one hundred percent. A new Final Fantasy XI expansion (along with original title's XBox release) helped boost online sales sixty percent. The only loser was Square Enix's subsidiary Taito, whose acquisition you may recall to have been just under a year ago; it has since suffered an operating loss of 663 million yen ($5.67 million USD). No, there is nothing clever to say. Merely weep at the loss of money.1
Five hundred thousand. That is the number of copies that Square Enix's Ultimate Hits budget series has sold since its inception in September 2005. Since then, it has been a remarkable tool for the company to curb the high prices associated with the sales of used titles and personally pocket the popularity of their classics. To accompany this tremendous success, Square Enix will be releasing no fewer than sixteen more titles into the Ultimate Hits line on July 20, including Valkyrie Profile and Final Fantasy Tactics. Are you listening, Konami? I want my Suikoden II. Read on
Square Enix has registered the name Monster Battle Road with the United States patent office; a clear reference to a Dragon Quest VIII minigame of the same name. It is likely that this title will be a US port of the Japanese Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker. More interestingly, the subtitle "Scars of the War" has been published for opposition, which means as long as no one else sues for property of a common phrase, Front Mission 5 may actually get a stateside release.1
According to German GameFront, Square Enix has registered several new trademarks with the United States Patent Office, including "Dragon Quest Heroes", "Dragon Quest Swords", "Rocket Slime", and "The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors". A Dragon Quest theme is quite apparent; the games themselves are not. Perhaps "Rocket Slime" is really Slime Morimori in disguise, and "The Masked Queen and the Towers of Mirrors" an English subtitle for Dragon Quest Yangus. Then again, perhaps not.