A staple of traditional JRPG game design has officially been put to rest in the upcoming 3DS remake of Dragon Quest VII. The original PlayStation version of the game was an epic quest that spanned dozens if not hundreds of hours, and was, in part, extended by an extremely high random encounter rate.
Such was the case even as recently as Dragon Quest VIII and, on the DS, Dragon Quests IV, V, and VI.
Dragon Quest IX, however, did away with random encounters in favor of making monsters visible on the map as one explored. They would pop into being and chase you down, initiating combat, but offering a fair chance for one to avoid them and at least a basic idea of what one would be facing. The remake of Dragon Quest VII is adopting this approach, doing away with random encounters and making enemies visible on the world map. This is in addition to visible party members during combat (as opposed to the static first-person view of the original), unique battle actions to help distinguish enemies and make them more memorable, and entirely new monsters.
Dragon Quest VII will come to the 3DS in Japan on February 7, 2013. There is, as of yet, no solid word on a Western release, but Square Enix is reportedly “evaluating the title for the Western markets.”