We caught up with Dragon Ball FighterZ producer Tomoko Hiroki to find out all about the hotly anticipated new fighting game title.
It’s easy to see why everyone’s talking about the visual style of this game – it looks beautiful. How did you achieve those gorgeous hand-drawn looking visuals?
While recent games often have photorealistic visuals, ever since the beginning we wanted this game to have a visual that “evolves anime expression”. Visually, at first sight, this game might be seen as a normal 2D anime; but when you take a closer look you’ll realise that the characters moving on your screen are 3D models—not to mention the dynamic camera work that furthers the user experience. Since the anime of Dragon Ball has been running for such a long time, there’s this impression of “old-fashioned visuals” simply because of the history Dragon Ball has, but we saw that as a charm of its own, and for that we work closely with Arc System Works to maintain, replicate, and evolve the animation into a whole new level.
I guess you could say there are two main audiences for DBFZ: fans of the animé and the more hardcore fighting game fans. Has it been difficult to design the game to cater to both?
Since this game was meant to fulfill the needs of both sides, to be honest, I was worried on how to make this work—ever since the beginning of the planning. “Fighting Game” as a genre, is often labeled as a difficult genre for casual users to play. In my mind, in order to break this stereotype, I would need a dashing visual—good enough to bring out the curiosity out of these users to at least try the game. The next step was to make sure that this game has no complicated commands, to ensure that it is playable for every kind of users. The 3v3 format kicks in to ensure that we deliver a deep gameplay experience with strategy and mind games. With these three pillars, we really hope that this game can cater to both the FGC and fans of the anime.
Fans have been excited to hear that the content of the game will be expandable with the DLC Season Pass, adding 8 characters, announced. Are there plans to continue expanding the character roster this way after that first round of DLC?
Currently we’re yet to have any plans. However, since we want the game to carry-on long-term, we would like to put this into consideration, while looking at the reaction from users.
We’re especially hyped about those huge set-piece ultimate abilities. Are there any particularly awesome moves we should look out for?
Honestly, I like how everything pans out in terms of the Meteor Ultimate Attacks. But, I personally recommend Android 18’s Ultimate Attack; “Accel Dance”. Usually, when performing this move, Android 17 joins Android 18 for the attack, but when you have Krillin on the same team—he’ll replace Android 17; thus making it a cute couple-like attack! These kinds of small details are the elements that I think especially Dragon Ball fans should look out for when the game releases.
The fighting game community is understandably eager for this game to become established as an eSports. Are there any internal plans to grow that scene?
It has been our initial goal to have the game established as an eSports. However, since we are still in the development, we believe that our first agenda, is to brush up the game, in order to fully convince users that DRAGON BALL FighterZ is an eSports worthy game.
What are the challenges of balancing the 3v3 format?
The biggest challenge was; I would say the “amount” of balancing we had to go through. Unlike a 1v1 Fighting game, it’s not just about your character, and the opponent’s character. We need to find the right balance between not only the opponent, but your two other team mates as well. So every time we would add in a new character, it was back to balancing out the entire roster.
We’re talking a lot about the multiplayer prospects, but what about the story mode? How did you go about writing the story to make it feel true to the animé?
While the story of the game is created on Bandai Namco Entertainment and Arc System Works side, we also work with Shueisha & TOEI Animation to supervise and ensure the game’s trueness to the anime. Also, with an exclusive design of Android 21 supervised by Akira Toriyama, I personally think that this game marks a new chapter of Dragon Ball—in its own respective right.
…And exactly WHO is Android 21?
Are you that curious? Then keep your curiosity and play the game to find out who Android 21 really is!