After 15 Years, ‘Dragon Ball Z’ Video Game Sequel Announced by Bandai Namco
The PS2 era of anime games is considered to be a time when anime games finally got the love they had long deserved. American Dragon Ball fans got an especially good deal because, before this era, we only got things like Dragon Ball GT Final Bout. If you were really hardcore, you imported the Japanese games with a modchip for your system. People were raring to get any kind of DBZ game–and Bandai delivered. It started with Dragon Ball Z Budokai, or simply just Dragon Ball Z in Japan, in 2002. There was nothing else like it at the time, and it became a massive hit with DBZ fans. DBZ Budokai then got sequels and PSP spin-offs that cemented Dragon Ball Z as a profitable game property.
After DBZ Budokai 3 was released in 2004, Bandai decided to go in a different direction and tasked the developers at Spike to make a new series. Spike eventually created what would become the template for several anime games since, Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi. Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi, or Dragon Ball Z Sparking in Japan, featured a roster of 64 playable characters and 10 stages.
The game’s release wasn’t without criticism though. Some disliked the simpler playstyle compared to the previous series and the less-detailed character models. But it still sold well and eventually received 2 sequels, plus its very own PSP spin-off. DBZ Budokai Tenkaichi 3 is considered the peak of the series, including its whopping 98 characters. The series has since been dormant while other game series replicate its playstyles– games like DBZ Raging Blast and the more recent DB Xenoverse series.
But after 15 years, the latest Dragon Ball Games Battle Hour gave fans a welcome surprise.
Return of the King
Bandai Namco held its 3rd annual Dragon Ball Games Battle Hour, and after a wonderful performance by Hironobu Kageyama, there came a surprise announcement. The room went dark and the host presented a clip. A small trailer played showing a CRT TV playing clips of Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3. Goku then starts his transformation animation only for it to cut to a brand new Goku model turning Super Saiyan Blue the way he does in DB Super: Broly. Budokai Tenkaichi 4. It’s real, everyone!
The host let everyone know the game is in early development and the developers made the teaser specifically for the event. It was also mentioned that more info would be coming soon regarding the release date and console info. The Japanese Twitter account for the vent also released the Japanese version of the trailer– in case you were worried it was just a dream.
The landscape of Dragon Ball has changed immensely since DBZ Budokai Tenkaichi 3 came out in 2007. Goku and his friends have gotten new movies, a new anime series, mangas, transformations, and so many more characters than ever before. The possibilities of what the roster and story modes could be are absolutely huge. The trailer using Goku’s Dragon Ball Super: Broly transformation to Super Saiyan Blue means it will at least go up to that point. I am so incredibly excited to see what an official sequel will look like!
The Legacy of Goku
Dragon Ball Z fans are rabid when it comes to the Budokai Tenkaichi games. They give us a hit of nostalgia and it’s an easy-to-pick-up game. Modders were so impatient that they made their own Budokai Tenkaichi 4 with voice acting and everything! The Dragon Ball Xenoverse games kept the style of the game alive, but it was never really the same due to not having a versus system or a more straightforward story mode.
The story of Goku and his friend’s adventures is a tale that resonates with so many people. It’s time for the next generation to feel that excitement those 2000-era kids had once more.
“KKAAAA! MEEEEE!!! HHHAAAAAA!!! MEEEE! HHHAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!” – Goku