You heard it, folks: at Square-Enix's annual Jump Festa event, they let the bomb drop: the next entry in the venerable Dragon's Quest series, entitled Dragon's Quest IX: Defender of the Stars (another silly "DS" subtitle) will be coming exclusively to everyone's favorite little handheld. This is huge news: this franchise is second only to perhaps Final Fantasy in Japan, and still one of the most respected names in gaming worldwide. Having the title being developed exclusively on a Nintendo system is a clear show of faith from SE (they're also releasing a Final Fantasy XII sequel, Revenant Wings, sometime next year), and hopefully, even more Wii and DS support will follow.
Development of the game is being passed over to Level 5 (also working on White Knight Story for the PS3), and it'll feature a four-player co-op mode as well. Of course, there's no definite release date, but the team mentioned that they'd like to have it out sometime in 2007.
Let this news wash over your Tuesday, and make it full of glee and joy. Bring on DQIXDS!
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in, and GoNintendo for the pic!]