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May 22, 2019
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Online Games with Dragons: The Marketing Success in USA 2016

by Mike Charanslot on 07/01/16 10:02:00 am

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


The History of Dragon-Themed Games

The history of video games is pretty long, but so is the past of dragon ones. While playing, children began to pretend they were the mythical reptiles long before the first games such as RPG ones were invented, and this was a firm foundation for game developers to use in the industry. Creators of the first dragon video games such as Dragon Slayer, which became a major success in Japan when released in 1984 right after the Dragonslayer film from 1981, still pick the fruits of their creations. The game was limited by the technology of that time and had a pretty low number of screen dots, which didn’t depict a real-looking dragons and a thrilling action that well. However, what nowadays seems to us as outdated, back in the day looked pretty modern.

Since then, over 50 dragon video games were released, and even more of them with dragons shown as an additional feature. But what shook up this fire-breathing world and inspired the creation of some of the greatest games regarding the theme are definitely the two well-known, up-to-date films, Eragon and How to Train Your Dragon. This led to the making of the same-named games, and because of the positive reviews, movies served as a great marketing for them.

The Typical Look of the Prosperous Dragon Game

  • RPG fantasy action/adventure game;
  • The ultimate goal is to defeat the dragons;
  • The targeted audience is adults;
  • Combats are backed-up with a good story, such as descending dragons trying to take over the world, and the human race must defend itself;
  • Player is given a choice between characters, or is able to customize his own character;
  • Different abilities and/or weapons are at the character’s disposal while fighting;
  • The focus is not only set on the combat; the player is mostly allowed to communicate with other characters such as citizens or villagers, and has time to develop his role and move through the area.


The Examples of Successful Dragon Games

It takes more than just a decent theme to make a successful game, meaning that featuring dragons are promising, but won’t do all the work. The top-notch games consist of all the necessary features that make them a “full package”, which resulted in their high profitability.

RPG Games

  • Dragon Quest

Back in May 1986, one of the first RPG, worldwide best-selling series of dragon video games, called Dragon Quest (initially published as Dragon Warrior), were released. The success of the franchise led to the further creation of games in the series, the last sequel being released in 2016.

  • Dragon Age

This high fantasy game series was created by BioWare. The Dragon Age: Origins was the first game to be released in 2009. The sequels were published later in 2011 and 2014 called Dragon Age II and Dragon Age: Inquisition.

The Inquisition part is the newest and therefore its graphics are of the highest quality, but what actually differs it from the other dragon games in general, is the variety of options, the character’s high mobility, and a possibility to make your own story by choosing between different dialog options and explore different areas on the map.

  • 7th Dragon

The single-player game was developed by Imageepoch and published by Sega in 2009 for Nintendo DS only on the territory of Japan. However, the English translation was completed in 2014. Even though the storyline is poor, you are allowed to choose between four fighting classes which are Samurai, God-Hand, Agent and Duelist, represented by the Japanese animation that is, without exception, recognizable and catchy.


  • School of Dragons

Based on the two How to Train Your Dragon films, this massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), released in 2013, is devoted to raising and training the dragons by using various activities and quests. The game’s success was accomplished by, firstly, the films’ fame, and secondly, by its original gameplay that is recommended for all generations. The ability to interact with the movie characters and other players is also included.

Slot Games

  • Dragon Slot

Created by the Leander software company, 5-reel, 30-payline Dragon Slot is considered to be one of the most entertaining video casino machines. It features bonus rounds, free spins and scatters and wilds that are represented as the fierce, colorful dragons.  Besides being rich in bonus features, the slot differs from other dragon-themed ones because its reptiles are shown more realistically instead being represented in a cartoon-like way.

The Partial Implementation Is Also Profitable

Dragons can affect the game’s profitability without being its main theme. These are the examples of the games that received a completely new meaning just by adding dragons in certain gameplay stages:

  • Sacred

The world of Ancaria is not all about the mythical creatures. Nonetheless, featuring them gave a different perspective to this action RPG game and completed its map and story in the best way possible. The dragons are shown differently regarding the region in which you are fighting against them, and are set on the different sides of the Ancaria’s map. The main goal is to defeat them, and doing so is definitely not an easy task. However, if you want to complete the game, you must deal with all of them.
More than 1.8 million copies of Sacred were sold worldwide.

  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The main story revolves around the gamer’s character and his effort to defeat Alduin, a dragon who is prophesied to destroy the world. Skyrim allows the movement through its open world by allowing the player to travel anywhere at any time, no matter what point of the story is evolving at the moment.

Approximately 22.7 million copies were sold around the globe.


The Future Plans and Development

The upcoming games planned for the year of 2016 are Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 and Dragon Quest XI: Sugisarishi Toki o Motomete.

  • Dragon Quest XI

The eleventh sequel of the Dragon Quest series will be available to play on PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo 3DS platforms. The sequel continues the same known gameplay of its predecessors, in which you are allowed to explore the world and battle against monsters. 3D and 2D graphical styles will be at the disposal before starting the gameplay.

  • Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is an upcoming fighting role-playing action video game based on the Dragon Ball franchise and is being developed by Dimps and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. It will be released in autumn 2016 with both single-player and multiplayer modes, but will be available to play only on PlayStation 4 console.


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