This time in Dragon Quest Around The World, Bálint Bánk Varga shares his love for the Dragon Quest series. You may know him from his amazing game, Chicken Police – Paint It RED!.
Austin: Can you tell everyone about yourself and Chicken Police?
Bálint: I’m Bálint Bánk Varga, a writer and video game developer. Most of you may have heard of me from our first game with The Wild Gentlemen team, Chicken Police – Paint it RED!, which was a pretty big critical success. I am also a dad and a “cat and dog” guy. I love books, movies, and of course video games with all my heart. My team and I are currently working on several very, very different projects, but I can’t talk about them yet.
Austin: What was the first Dragon Quest game you ever played?
Bálint: I played Dragon Quest VIII first, on my PS2. I had heard a lot about the series before, but I was more of a Final Fantasy fan, and I was into series like Persona and such. Well, that changed radically after DQ8, and I started to almost fanatically seek out and devour the episodes. First on emulators, and then on Nintendo DS with the amazing remastered versions. I think I’ve had the pleasure of playing every DQ game in existence, including the spinoff ones, but DQVIII remains and will always remain my favorite, although V and XI came very-very close.
Austin: Any cool stories about the Dragon Quest series?
Bálint: I don’t have any really interesting stories… Although I do remember that the aforementioned Dragon Quest VIII was the first (and still the only) game that made me completely forget to go to bed at one point and it was already morning when I noticed myself.
Austin: What about Dragon Quest characters? Do you have a favorite?
Bálint: Bianca from DQV definitely! (Team Bianca forever!!!) Yangus and King Trode from DQ VIII, Torneko from DQ IV, Veronica from DQ XI, and of course Sylvando, whose English voice was also the voice of Marty MacChicken, one of the main characters in our game Chicken Police! So we also have a personal connection with that character and with Shai Matheson (the voice of Sylvando and Marty), with whom we have been on very good terms ever since.
Austin: Can you tell people a bit about what Dragon Quest is like in your country? What kind of following does it have? Is DQ pretty rare?
Bálint: Almost no one knows this series in Hungary, which is one of the reasons why I came into contact with it so late. In Europe, the series has a very unfortunate fate, but here in Hungary, the situation is even worse. But I am proud of the fact that I spread the word about the series in the local Final Fantasy community and got a lot of people into the fandom. And wherever I can, I spread the word to this day!
Austin: What was the first Dragon Quest game to release in your country?
Bálint: Well, I can’t answer that 100% precisely, but I have a very strong suspicion that the first DQ game released here was the seventh episode. Then came the eighth for PS2, then the ninth for Nintendo DS, and then of course the remake episodes were released here in a row at the same time as in other countries.
Austin: Is there any way Dragon Quest has gotten you to interact with other fans from around the world?
Bálint: The fact that we are doing this interview now, for example, is also thanks to my “loud” love of the series. I love to tell people everywhere how much of a fan I am of the series, and as I’m slowly becoming more of a voice in the noise as an indie developer, I’m able to talk to more and more people about it, which I’m really happy about.
Austin: Is there a Dragon Quest game you’re most looking forward to playing next? Maybe one of the announced ones or an entry you haven’t tried before?
Bálint: I’m looking forward to the next episode of the main series, as XI exceeded all my expectations and I expect the same from the next one. But the Builders and Heroes titles have also become big favorites of mine, so I’m looking forward to the next episodes in both series. And I recently played Dragon Quest Tact on my phone, which was surprisingly good, so I’d love to see a second installment that isn’t just aimed at the mobile market, but also for bigger consoles.
Austin: Anything else you’d like to add?
Bálint: We need a Breath of the Wild / Elden Ring like real-time, open-world ARPG in the universe of Dragon Quest, and we need it fast!!!