Gaming Posts

Dragon Quest IV DS Party Chat Patch – Proquestination #004

Current: 2024-02-21

Previous versions:

DQ4PartyChatPatch1.0 For JP.NDS
DQ4PartyChatPatch1.0 For JP.NDS Mirror (Romhacking.net)
DQ4PartyChatPatch1.0 For US.NDS

Credit for the new patching method goes to scbroede on Github — https://github.com/scbroede/dq4-partychat-patcher


THERE IS A NEW VERSION OF THE PATCH THAT USES A NEW METHOD. PLEASE NOTE THAT MOST OF THE FOLLOWING TECHNICAL DETAILS ARE NO LONGER APPLICABLE

Download links for the patch files above in case you don’t want to read my ramblings. NOTE: THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE IN THE END RESULT OF THESE TWO PATCHES. I’ve included a version that patches the USA game just in case a user doesn’t have access to the Japanese version. When you use the patch on a USA ROM, you are essentially just changing it into the JP version of the game with English text. Please check the GitHub’s Known Issues section.

Link to concreted’s GitHub page.

If you’re like me, then you love Dragon Quest. And if you’re especially like me then you love the dialogue in Dragon Quest. Usually when I play through these games for the first time, I talk to EVERYBODY, including the party members.

Party chat was a feature introduced in Dragon Quest VII for the original Playstation that provided added story and characterization to the characters of the world as well as gave the player a bit more direction on where to go or what to do next.

Yuji Hori liked this addition so much that he started putting it in every Dragon Quest game going forward (although the feature is a bit of a pain to access in DQVIII and DQXI). In fact, it’s been stated that a contributing reason for why he wanted to remake DQIV – DQVI on the DS was so he could add party chat to these beloved characters. Having originally released a decade before on the NES and the SNES, the OG versions of these games didn’t have enough free space for something as extensive as party chat.

Party members have something unique to say after every major event in the game. They have something new to say after you speak to any NPC for the first time. They have different things to say when you first enter a new area and sometimes they even have different dialogue depending on the day/night cycle in each area. Also at different stages of the game’s story the party chat dialogue for each area will update and be different as well.

It’s A LOT of text. I don’t have any hard numbers in front of me, but as someone who (at least in DQIV – DQVII) hits the party chat button after every NPC conversation, I will guess that it comprises 50% of the game’s dialogue and I wouldn’t be shocked if it was revealed to be more.

A lot of people never press the party chat button, either because they don’t have time or they forget it’s there. I’ve noticed that, presumably due to this, some DQ fans have slightly different opinions about the characters of these games. Maribel in the PS1 version of DQVII is rather insufferable if you engage in regular party chat, much more so than the minor rewrite she got in the 3DS localization.

And while not party chat related, I’ve seen some players completely miss all of the romantic implications between Gemma and the Hero at the very beginning of DQXI because they didn’t talk to all the villagers in Cobblestone. That’s a big thing to miss, but I can see it happening if you don’t talk to the right people.

When the DS remake of Dragon Quest IV was being localized for western audiences, the decision was made to not translate the party chat at all. It was excised entirely, forcing the party to endure their adventure together in awkward silence.

This was done, I assume, to save time and money. It’s clear that a lot of time went into properly localizing the text into phonetic representations of the world’s dialects (perhaps a bit too much time). The decisions to drop party chat probably freed them up to focus on the puns and NPC dialogue. Dragon Quest IV DS is often hailed and lambasted for having the most pun heavy and unique text in the series. And writing party chat is lot of work for just the one or two instances when most players will actually see it.

Thankfully, when the mobile port of the DS remake was released in the US, the powers that be saw fit to finally translate and localize the party chat and include it, a full six years after the DS release. Fans simultaneously rejoiced and groaned. The long-desired DQIV party chat was finally here, but it was on iOS and Android.

With touch controls. Ew.

There are a lot of people who just do not enjoy playing full length games on mobile. I’m usually one of them, though I must say that the touch controls for all the Dragon Quest mobile ports are pretty intuitive and not very clunky. It’s not the same as having physical face buttons, of course, but it’s a much better solution than some I’ve seen.

Still, there are some people who will not play Dragon Quest on mobile. They buy the games from the Play store to support the franchise and then go emulate the ROMs of the old DS originals. I get it. If I have my pick between DQV on Android or on DS, I would go with DS, even though the mobile version has the new Monster Magnet item and slightly enhanced visuals.

But when it comes to DQIV, I can’t recommend anything other than the mobile port because the DS original is missing half the game’s dialogue.

Not anymore.

A while back, a user on Reddit, concrete_d, posted a github link to a DQIV DS party chat patcher. It’s an extensive manual process that requires the user to obtain the party chat files from their purchased copy of the Dragon Quest IV Android installation. The user then uses a program to dump the remaining English dialogue files from a dump of the DQIV DS ROM and then they use the patcher to patch a dump of the DQIV Japanese DS ROM into English.

Because this is the Japanese version of the ROM some things are different, like the speaker names for each dialogue box is in the text instead of above it as this is how the Japanese version worked. Also, you cannot give your Hero an English name. Sorry. This seems to be a part of the code of the ROM itself and is unrelated to the game’s script. The creator of the patcher didn’t know how to fix this. There are some other text issues scattered around that are detailed in full on the github page.

Anyway, this process is far from user friendly so I’ve included a patch from my finished product. You will need to get a ROM dump from a Japanese DQIV DS cartridge to do this and the Xdelta patcher will be needed to apply it. The download links are at the very top of this page.

If you’d rather use the USA Rom Dump, then you will need the XDelta Patch.

I did test this but not extensively. If there are any issues with the patch please leave a comment here letting me know. I don’t have the know-how to fix this stuff but at the least I can add a disclaimer.

And that’s where I end things this time. There’s turkey to eat. Happy holidays!

List of known issues with the original patch, compiled by concreted.

Link to GBA Temp Thread on this release

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