It’s obvious that Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest are two of the most venerated role-playing game franchises of all time. The two series have each left their own indelible marks on the world of gaming in terms of how stories are developed, character designs, gameplay mechanics, and much more. More recently these games have been signaling another radical change for video games, and it’s not in a way you might expect. In many ways the mini-games included within the RPGs are often just as popular as the games themselves, and their popularity appears to be growing.
This is something that we’ve already touched on in our recent story for the upcoming Dragon Quest XI. A recent announcement by Square Enix for the newest installment in the long-running franchise has revealed a number new mini-games, including a horse racing game and, most notably, the beloved casino. The casino mini-game has been a staple of the series ever since Dragon Quest III, and it will feature a full range of classic games like slots, poker, and roulette.
The popularity of these mini-games reflects the rise of internet casino platforms. These sites also feature a wide range of games, just like those we see in the Dragon Quest series. However, these are often free-to-play titles with unique themes ranging from fantasy settings to licenses from popular games, movies, and more. Players can even find more rare games like baccarat, one of the oldest casino card games available. The famous game has long been a favorite of discerning players and is so revered that it actually lent its name to the city in Dragon Quest VIII where players can find the casino. It’s a perfect example of art imitating life in one of the greatest RPGs ever.
These same kinds of casinos have also made their way into the Final Fantasy series. The most famous is the Golden Saucer from Final Fantasy VII, which was also adapted into a casino area of the same name for Final Fantasy XIV, the popular MMO iteration of the series. The game is also home to player-run casinos where gamers can wager in-game currency in the hopes of striking it rich to afford rare items. Games of chance are fun distractions from the larger quests and stories of an RPG, which is likely much of the reason why they’re such hits. With epic, sprawling adventures, these distractions are welcome as much needed respite from the usual grinding and dungeon crawling.
That the latest Dragon Quest will continue the tradition of including the beloved mini-games that have been a hallmark of the series for so long should comfort fans that revel in the traditions of the franchise. There’s little doubt that the newest main series entry will continue the sterling tradition, but with the radical changes being seen in other titles like Final Fantasy XV, it’s nice to know that some series are content to keep things old-school.
Dragon Quest XI is expected to be released in Japan later this summer on July 29. It’s been five long years since Dragon Quest X came out, and has still yet to see a Western release. There’s currently no word on when the version for the Switch or the United States will arrive.