Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is the eleventh mainline entry in the storied role-playing franchise created by Square Enix and Yuji Horii's production studio, Armor Project. The title was initially released in Japan simultaneously for the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo 3DS on July 29, 2017. Square Enix released Dragon Quest XI in North America and Europe on September 4, 2018 for the PlayStation 4 as well as the PC via Steam. The localized version featured a number of improvements including newly added voice acting that was not present in the Japanese release, reworked menus and an extra difficulty mode among other additions. A year later, an enhanced port of Dragon Quest XI was released for the Nintendo Switch in 2019 around the world under the name Dragon Quest XI S.
The two different releases of Dragon Quest XI were co-developed by an additional company for each iteration. The PlayStation 4 version saw assistance from ORCA, who used Unreal Engine 4 to develop the title, and Toylogic collaborated with Square Enix to created the 3DS version. Both interpretations of XI feature a polygonal 3D presentation, with the PS4 containing fully proportioned characters while the the 3DS has a more super-deformed art style. However, the 3DS version contains an option to experience the entire game with a classic 2D sprite-based art style as well which, in the game's opening hours, is displayed on the 3DS's bottom screen while the 3D visuals play out on the top screen. The PS4 release also contains two different options for the battle camera: a traditional camera style, where the party members are arranged in a line in front of the enemies similar to past entries in the series, as well as a real-time camera where the player can directly control the hero during battles and move the camera around freely, although it does not effect gameplay in any way. So in total, with all the different iterations and graphical modes, there are three distinct versions of Dragon Quest XI that all contain the same story but vastly different presentations.
The Nintendo Switch port, published two years after the previous versions, combined elements from both the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo 3DS releases. The core game featured the same presentation as the PS4 edition but also contained the ability to swap to the 2D sprite-based graphical style seen in the 3DS version of the game. Along with containing all of the optional side-quests that were exclusive to the 2D version of the game, the Nintendo Switch port also featured a plethora of gameplay tweaks, new story content, a photo mode, orchestrated music and Japanese voice acting among many other improvements. Once again, Dragon Quest XI was ported to even more platforms in 2020 with the Definitive Edition being released for the Xbox One, along with the PC and PS4, which was identical to the Switch release in terms of content but with better graphical fidelity.
- Development of Dragon Quest XI initially began on the PlayStation 4 and was originally planned to be released for the system exclusively. However Square Enix wanted to have the game available on the Nintendo 3DS as well due to the system's much larger installed base in Japan. Yuji Horii agreed to the idea after it was suggested that the 3DS version could have a feature to switch between 2D and 3D graphical styles in order for 3DS players to not feel like they were getting an inferior version of the game.
- Even though the title wouldn't be released on the platform until two years after its launch, the Nintendo Switch version of Dragon Quest XI was one of the very first titles to be announced for the system. Way back in 2015 when the game was initially revealed to the public, Square Enix mentioned that XI was in development for Nintendo's new system which was being called the "NX" at the time.