During a press release presentation in Tokyo, Square Enix showed gameplay from the PS4 and 3DS versions of Dragon Quest XI: In Search of Departed Time.
Normally showing two different ports would boil down to a form of redundancy so great that they would be filed at The Department of Redundancy Department. However, untypical to most port jobs, the graphical style and gameplay are very different. Different enough to be done by slightly different development teams, with Orca working on the PS4 version using the Unreal 4 engine while Toylogic is helping with the 3DS version. Perhaps it is better to just show than describe just how different the games are.
Despite the radical difference in graphics and gameplay (although there was no showing what combat would be like on the PS4), it has been confirmed the story will remain the same.
On top of this, there have been rumblings that the up-and-coming Nintendo NX console (which inspires less enthusiasm than Nintendo Wii’s working title Nintendo Revolution) may also receive a port. However, in a statement to IGN, Square Enix stated that Dragon Quest XI and Dragon Quest X ports to the system are under mere consideration rather than confirmed.
I think it is interesting for Square Enix to take this approach to porting, although it is likely an expensive method of porting that will leave a small minority grumbling that to experience both gameplay modes they need both ports. However, it isn’t without a noticeable way it is going to pay off. As the 3DS is one of the most popular consoles in Japan currently (not just handheld, but consoles overall), this release will likely be the main source of revenue.
Meanwhile, the PS4 port is likely part of an on-going push by Square Enix to justify buying a PS4 in Japan as there has still been some reluctance to move onto the current gen there. Which I do hope it works out, as it would be a shame for Japanese developers to be held down to handheld devices and previous gen consoles due to a lack of love for current gen consoles. Even though there is a popularity across seas of the PS4, X-Box One and WiiU, there have been various instances of in-country failure (despite foreign success) being a death knell for a series, or popularity with the series despite general dislike abroad. So if the unpopularity of current gen consoles can’t be shattered, it will potentially reflect future titles being released from Japan.
Square Enix is hoping to release both ports in Japan during 2016, during the 30th anniversary of the series. Although no word has been mentioned on an EU or US release date, or if it even will get a release. Hopefully so really.