While in the middle of a concert the other day, Dragon Quest composer Kouichi Sugiyama said "Things are going to get busy since I'll have to begin converting the compositions into data for Dragon Quest VIII, which is going to be released during the year," while talking about the progress of the game's music production. While Square Enix has officially announced that the new addition to the Dragon Quest legacy will come out sometime during the winter of 2004-2005, I think we can all put our full faith in their composer's prediction of the release date.1
Koichi Sugiyama is a classically trained conductor who has been acknowledged as an inspiration by such game music composers as Nobuo Uematsu. With Yuji Horii and Akira Toriyama, Sugiyama co-created the Dragon Quest series and has since been a key figure in the development of the series.
A self-described "game freak," Sugiyama counts game collecting among his favorite hobbies. In fact, his first contact with Enix was through a fan letter he sent regarding a PC version of the Japanese board game shogi that was released in the early '80s. After Enix's staff overcame the shock of receiving a handwritten postcard from a celebrity of Sugiyama's stature, they were so impressed by his depth of knowledge and appreciation of games that they requested he write the music for new game called Dragon Quest.
The composer's 1986 recording of Dragon Quest I Symphonic Suite with the London Philharmonic Orchestra marked the first orchestral arrangement of a game music soundtrack. Apart from the Dragon Quest series of games, he has also created game music for Enix's E.V.O.: Search for Eden, Torneko and Fuurai no Chiren series, and Square's Super Famicom sequel to Hanjuku Hero. The composer claims that he will not retire from game music but will continue writing Dragon Quest songs until the day of his ultimate demise.