Dragon's Dogma 2 director apologizes for the long wait for the JRPG, says its best ideas were inspired by lack of sleep

Dragon's Dogma 2 Medusa
(Image credit: Capcom)

The original Dragon's Dogma from developer Capcom took some time to find its audience, but it eventually became a cult favorite in the years following its 2012 release. As Capcom's first attempt at an open-world action RPG, it blended a swords and sorcery high-fantasy conceit with the developer's pedigree for delivering fast and epic action from similar games like Monster Hunter and Devil May Cry. 

But with the upcoming sequel, Dragon's Dogma 2, the developers are looking to up the ante in many ways -- even including ideas that wouldn't have worked for the first game. In a recent issue of Play magazine (issue 35), which is on sale now, game director Hideaki Itsuno took some time to reflect on the original game and what he hopes to achieve with the long-awaited sequel -- and how exactly he came up with the sequel's massively upgraded world.

"I've really wanted to be able to make a sequel right after [the original game] came out, so sorry for making everyone wait so long," said game director Hideaki Itsuno in the Play magazine interview. "I've been so grateful to see so many fans appreciate the quality of the game and support it for so many years. Having fans support the game - both inside Capcom and out - is definitely something that helped push the project towards realisation."

What has held Dragon's Dogma in high regard with Capcom fans and fans of the fantasy genre was its unique approach to the familiar swords and sorcery concept. On the surface, it looks like a fairly standard high-fantasy RPG, but Dragon's Dogma features many weird concepts that make for a compelling and action-packed experience.

Along with some deep combat mechanics that reward experimentation and risk-taking during combat, it also features a fairly robust character creation system for the protagonist and for your main companion who joins your adventures. The Pawn system allows players to evolve their companions and share them online for other players to have in their party -- allowing the Pawns to gain new knowledge on adventures that their creators have yet to see.

Altogether, Dragon's Dogma was a genuinely clever and thrilling take on an open-world action RPG, and the sequel looks to build upon many of those core pillars while building out a grander adventure with new vocations and a deeper focus on storytelling. According to Itsuno in the Play Magazine interview, it took a lot of time and energy to help flesh out the concept for the sequel, which features a world nearly double the size of the first game. And that meant no idea, no matter how wild, was off the table.

"We held multi-day sessions where the team came up with ideas for things that could happen in the game, and the funniest ideas were always the ones people came up with when our work kept us up late at night," said the game director. "When we actually went to implement those ideas, we put aside the question of 'can we really put something this silly in the game?' and put as many of them as possible in it."

I had the chance to play a preview of Dragon's Dogma 2 earlier this year, and it really kept its focus on what made the original game such a gem of an action RPG. That focus on traveling with your party across the dangerous countryside and then walking right into a wild, dangerous encounter with roaming Griffons was still very much present in the early preview of the sequel. I'm really interested to see just how much they can push the game's concept of a grand adventure further, especially with how it deals with warring nations and different cultures not seen in the original.

The Dragon's Dogma franchise is in a much better state than it was at launch. With Dragon's Dogma 2's release on March 22, 2025 fast approaching, it's looking like the sequel will continue to keep up the momentum built up in the nearly 13 years since the original game out thanks to the many die-hard fans pressing Capcom for another go at the series. 

The latest issue of Play Magazine has more details on Dragon's Dogma 2 and Tekken 8, and if you want to check it out, you can head over to Magazine Direct to subscribe or buy individual issues.

Alessandro Fillari

Alessandro is a freelance writer and editor based in the San Francisco Bay Area who has covered the games, tech, and entertainment industries for more than 13 years. Having previously worked at GameSpot, CNET, and various other outlets writing features and coordinating event coverage, Alessandro enjoys playing games on PC, but also gives plenty of time to his Nintendo Switch. You can find him on various socials at @afillari.