What was set to be the biggest game in Japan this year will now be the biggest game in Japan next year. Dragon Quest is easily the most popular RPG series in Japan, and the latest numbered chapter was previously due out on the Nintendo DS in September. Japanese site Game watch reports that the game has disappeared from Square Enix 2007 schedule and reappeared with a 2008 date.
There are a few possible reasons for the delay, and the most likely is that Square Enix want to make room for their other games to sell, such as the recently announced Dragon Quest remakes, also on DS. The Dragon Quest producers have previously mentioned that IX was being put to the side temporarily so they could work on these re-makes (which use the same engine as IX), as well as the recently released chart-topping Wii game Dragon Quest Swords, so the delay isn't really surprising for fans who have followed these developments.
What is certain is that whenever it does get released Dragon Quest IX has a legitimate shot at becoming the highest selling individual game of all time in Japan (not counting combined Pokemon versions). Based on current sales rates the DS will surpass the PS2's lifetime sales in Japan in about three months to become the highest selling game platform of all time in the region. Combined with the always sky high popularity of the series, this release could make history.