Dragon Quest VI Soundtrack (Mobile), Koichi Sugiyama, 2015
Dragon Quest V was the first game in the franchise to hit a 16-bit platform. But while it sported one of the era’s more original and moving narratives, its presentation felt like a relatively minor upgrade over its NES predecessor. Thankfully, Dragon Quest VI fixed this particular issue. Released in 1995, Dragon Quest VI wholeheartedly embraced the SNES’ technical capacities, featuring far more detailed and colourful graphics. Players also got to enjoy a much larger game world, thanks to Dragon Quest VI’s ‘real world / dream world’ set up. Development duties passed from Chunsoft on to Heart Beat, founded in 1992 by Manabu Yamana, director of Dragon Quest III-V. Needless to say, Dragon Quest VI became the best-selling game of 1995 in Japan. On top of those 3.2 million SNES cartridges, it later also sold an additional one million copies on the Nintendo DS.
Of course, Koichi Sugiyama returned once more to deliver the Dragon Quest VI soundtrack. On this occasion, he was joined by two unusually famous collaborators: seasoned fellow game composers Hitoshi Sakimoto and Tsukasa Tawada, who handled sound design duties. Maybe as a result, Dragon Quest VI’s instrument samples are a marked improvement over those used on previous SNES Dragon Quest games. However, their quality is strangely inconsistent – listen to the watery strings on “Monsters” and “Eternal Lullaby”. Then again – as always – all eyes were on the orchestral arrangement of the score anyway, released less than two weeks after the game and once more performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. A re-recording with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra followed in 2006. Compared to other games in the franchise, Dragon Quest VI received relatively few ports – to the Nintendo DS in 2010 and smartphones in 2015.