We’ve learned Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii received the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Game Developers Choice Awards in San Francisco last night.
The Game Developers Conference notes the Lifetime Achievement award will celebrate the career and achievements from a game developer who “has made an indelible impact on the craft of game development and games as a whole.”
While Yuji Horii received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades of work on the series – he’s still working to this day, even on the latest game in the series – Dragon Quest XII: The Flames of Fate. We still don’t know much the next flagship game, but Square Enix’s president said it will define the next 10 or 20 years of the series.
Here’s the full acceptance speech from Yuji Horii:
Hello, Yuji Horii here.
Thank you very much for choosing me to receive the prestigious GDC Lifetime Achievement Award.
When I was little, I loved to read manga, and throughout middle school and high school, I dreamed of becoming a manga author. In university, I joined the manga society, where I drew my own manga, helped professional artists with their manuscripts, and provided illustrations and articles for magazines.
Even after graduating from university, I worked for a while as a freelance writer. But then something happened that changed everything-the arrival of the home computer. I first read about computers in a newspaper article, and I was absolutely fascinated with this new invention. I went out and bought one right away.
I had always liked maths, too, so I quickly got to grips with my new toy. I taught myself how to code, and started making my own games for fun. It just so happened that Enix – now Square Enix – were running a game programming contest around that time. I put one of my games forward, and won. That’s how my career in the games industry started—and it’s continued for nearly 40 years now.
I won the contest with an action game that I made to amuse myself. However, I was more into adventure games at the time, so that’s what I decided to make next. A game where you progress through the story as you play, with murders occurring one after the other – The Portopia Serial Murder Case. In Portopia, the person giving you the “What will you do next?” command prompts is actually the murderer. That twist got me a lot of good reviews, and a lot more requests to make new games.
One of the fantastic things about computers is their interactive nature. You just have to imagine what a player is going to do, and then program the system to react to it. I really enjoyed that kind of systematic storytelling. I also loved RPGs like Wizardry and Ultima, where gameplay followed the rails set down by the story. So I made my own version – Dragon Quest.
To me, Dragon Quest was like a manga, with the story unfolding through short conversations. It was like a manga that you could play on your computer. My team and I are currently working on the latest installment to the series, Dragon Quest XII, as well as a lot of other titles. I hope that everyone around the world enjoys them as much as you did Dragon Quest XI. We’ll have some more announcements for you soon!
You can watch an archived stream of the acceptance speech here via the Game Developers Conference – Horii begins speaking around the 1:57:46 mark.