In 2018, we think nothing of telecommuting. This very site you're observing with your eyeballs is run by ragtag groups of heroes scattered throughout North America and Britain. It's much weirder to hear about projects put together without much face-to-face contact through the '80s and '90s—which is exactly how the Dragon Quest series was made up until Dragon Quest XI.
The Dragon Quest series kicked off in 1986, and the same three people have been its figureheads ever since: Creator Yuji Horii, character designer Akira Toriyama (of Dragon Ball fame), and composer Koichi Sugiyama. But during an interview at his studio in Tokyo on February 7, Horii admitted the three of them never met face-to-face until they finally came together to discuss Dragon Quest XI.
"I don't meet up with [Toriyama] that often, really, so it always feels fresh and new every time I do," Horii said when he was asked what it's been like to work with the world famous manga-ka for 30 years. "Just last year, we had a meeting between the three 'heads' of Dragon Quest. [We] all met right here in this room. In the 30 years of the history of Dragon Quest, that was the first time all three of us met together in the same room."
He laughed and added, "I never knew Mr Toriyama and Mr Sugiyama had never met each other, either!"
Horii has met with Toriyama and Sugiyama separately several times, and Horii worked closely with Toriyama on 1995's Chrono Trigger for the SNES. But as far as Dragon Quest is concerned, the creators' schedules just don't mesh as much as you might believe. Horii says he generally meets with Toriyama at the start of the creative process for a Dragon Quest game and meets up with Sugiyama towards the end. Middlemen deliver messages between the parties as necessary.