In an interview with EDGE magazine, Dragon Quest XI executive producer Yu Miyake provided the first tease of the game getting a western release.
When asked about the series’ appeal in the west compared to Final Fantasy, Miyake said:
We’re still trying! [Laughs] It’s a topic we have been thinking about a lot internally: the question of why Final Fantasy is so much more popular than Dragon Quest in the west. […] One thing that does stand out: in Japan the target audience for Dragon Quest is vast. It ranges from primary-school students to people in their 50s. Now, Akira Toriyama’s art style is cartoonish, and in Japan that doesn’t alienate anyone; it’s not seen as childish.
But outside of Japan, I think there’s often a stigma attached to that kind of aesthetic. Now, when an adult tries the game, they will discover that the subject matter is actually quite mature. Nevertheless, players are still left with this disconnect between how the game looks and how it plays. That’s a tension that just doesn’t exist in Japan. What we’re seeing now is that the age of people who are playing is rising. Interest is also increasing. We’re trying to put a lot more effort into promoting overseas the spinoff titles we’ve been working on – Dragon Quest Builders and Dragon Quest Heroes – in order to soften up the ground for Dragon Quest XI.
While it may of seem obvious that Square Enix is planning to bring the JRPG west, the fact that the west never got Dragon Quest X made XI not releasing outside of Japan a very real possibility.