Image Via Square Enix

Dragon Quest 12 Will Target Adult Audience For First Time In Series History

Dragon Quest 12 is courting an adult audience for the first time.

Dragon Quest XII: The Flame of Fate will be heading into uncharted territory, as it will be the first entry in the series intended for an adult audience. This is in stark contrast to most of the other entries in the series, which have their darker moments but are still games that all ages can play, partly due to the iconic cartoon designs of Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama. that are used in the franchise.

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The Dragon Quest series only really started to make an impression outside of Japan during the Nintendo DS era, as that system received many updated ports of the classic entries from the SNES era, many of which were localized for the first time. These games generally received an E for Everyone or a T for Teen from the ESRB, as some Dragon Quest games have light blood, alcohol references, gambling, and tame instances of fan service.

Related: Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince Returns To The World Of DQ4 In 2023

Dragon Quest 12’s Development Is Facing Issues Due To Shift To Adult Audience

Dragon Quest XII
Image via Square Enix

Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii was recently interviewed by Denfaminicogamer in Japan (translated by Ryuji from Noisy Pixel), and he discussed the ongoing development of Dragon Quest 12. When asked about the game’s release date, Horii revealed that the team was having a lot of trouble due to the game being directed toward an adult audience. This follows from an earlier statement made when the game was first announced, as Dragon Quest 12 was always promised to have a darker tone than the other entries in the series.

Exactly how Dragon Quest 12 will be more adult than its predecessors is unclear. There’s a chance it could have adult content in terms of nudity and gore, but it’s unlikely, considering how strict the rating boards are in Japan, especially for a series as big as Dragon Quest. The appeal to an adult audience may be the darker tone, which is saying something considering how dark games like Dragon Quest 5 and Dragon Quest 9 could get.

Horii also revealed that production was affected by the pandemic, with many of the team having switched completely to remote work and many meetings being performed on Zoom. Many games faced development issues during the pandemic, and the shift to a fully remote or hybrid approach is something that many studios had to adjust to, causing delays in projects that started before the switchover.

Related: Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at GDC 2022

It’s interesting that Dragon Quest 12 is taking an adult approach, as a lot has been said about how jarring Final Fantasy 16 is, as it’s filled to the brim with swearing, blood, and sexual activity, even if no nudity is shown. This more adult tone might help the series reach a wider audience outside of Japan, though it’s unclear if it will have the same effect in its home country, where its popularity is tied to people of all ages enjoying it.

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Scott Baird
Scott has been writing for Gamepur since 2023, having been a former contributor to websites like Cracked, Dorkly, Topless Robot, Screen Rant, The Gamer, and TopTenz. A graduate of Edge Hill University in the UK, Scott started as a film student before moving into journalism. Scott covers Dungeons & Dragons, Final Fantasy, Pokémon, and MTG. He can be contacted on LinkedIn.