Akira Toriyama Shares 30 Years of Feelings About Dragon Quest Designs
Dragon Quest game character designer Akira Toriyama shared his thoughts about the series on the “Dragon Quest 30th Soshite Arata na Densetsu e” (Dragon Quest 30th: On to New Legends) television special. Toriyama provided a letter for the program that looks back at his decades of work on the franchise. The special aired on Thursday to celebrate the 30th anniversary since the original Dragon Quest game debuted.
Toriyama never thought the Dragon Quest series would continue for 30 years and become so popular. He said in the letter, “Honestly, I was refusing if [something] continued so long.” He said that he is unable to keep doing the same work for a long time. For the first Dragon Quest game, Toriyama designed more than 500 characters and monsters. The popularity of role-playing games had not yet taken off when the series’ original game debuted. At that time, his work on the series was a rather casual pursuit.
Toriyama described his time with the series as “fun and hard work.” Recently, Toriyama has been drawing a lot of main human characters that are “basically serious good guys.” He has no particular interest in those kinds of character images, and he has had little variation lately. Toriyama also said he has plenty of troubles because has to consider the fantasy setting. “Each time I repeat, it is steadily getting harder,” Toriyama said. “It’s a situation where I’m really drawing with every trick I know.” He said in the letter that some unusual designs he enjoys are rejected, and his freedom in creating detailed designs decreases.
The artist said he now has some nostalgic memories of the days when he could freely draw easy small-fry monsters. Despite having to persevere through problems over the years, Toriyama said he will devote his energy to working on Dragon Quest XI. The game is slated to ship for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo 3DS, and Nintendo Switch in 2017.
In addition to designing characters for video games such as Dragon Quest, Blue Dragon, and Chrono Trigger, Toriyama is known as a manga creator. He gained prominence with Dr. Slump, and his Dragon Ball manga has become a classic.