Square Enix's Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
, a massive success in Japan, has received its long-awaited U.S. launch date: July 11, thanks to a previously-announced
publishing partnership with Nintendo. It launches in Europe on July 23.
The game, developed by Level 5, was a sales and cultural phenomenon, drawing out huge lines at retailers, and selling over 3 million units in its first two weeks. The game also helped publisher Square Enix to a record year thanks to a total 4.2 million units sold
in Japan alone.
Its smash launch, alongside a red special DS bundle, also helped drive sales of Nintendo's portable -- making a Western launch partnership a sensible move for the platform-holder. Nintendo hasn't published a Square Enix title for U.S. release since the Game Boy Advance generation.
Calling the title "one of the biggest games ever to hit Nintendo DS," Nintendo of America sales and marketing EVP Cammie Dunaway commented: "This new game has all of the elements of an instant classic: customization options, a great story, and the ability to share a nearly limitless experience with friends."
games, however, aren't nearly as big in the U.S. as they are in Japan. 2004's Dragon Quest VIII
for PlayStation 2 shipped 3 million units in its first three days following its November release in Japan. When the game launched in North America in November 2005, the game shipped a respectable-but-not-phenomenal 430,000 units through the end of the year.