With over 2.5 million units sold, Dragon Ball FighterZ is an unequivocal success for a fighting game. Eurogamer recently got to talk to the game’s producer, Bandai Namco’s Tomoko Hiroki — as well as its director, Arc System Work’s Junya Motomura — about its success, and the factors that led to it. This includes the appeal of the game’s source material, as well as how the game’s broken out beyond the core audience. To this, Hiroki replies that it’s because they were “able to deliver to users quite a surprising animated expression, as well as a genuine fighting game mechanic,” continuing with, ” we believe the fusion of these two was quite impactful for the users.”
In regards to being able to stay true to the style of the original anime, Motomura cites their experience with the Guilty Gear games — they knew how to achieve that look. The main challenge was in taking their previous work, then getting the style to match the visual style of Dragon Ball. This was helped by paying homage with a lot of references to moments in the series in the games itself, something that came easily because they had fans of the franchise on the team. “A lot of us are fans of Dragon Ball, so we had a lot of people who were well informed about Dragon Ball, who knew the basic aspects of it,” Motomura states.
The other challenge was to create a game that appeals to both fans of the Dragon Ball franchise, in addition to fighting game fans. They cite the 3-on-3 tag team system as something that helps, since fans would like to play different characters. Additionally, they decided that they wanted to focus less on execution, and more on mind games.
That said, the system Dragon Ball FighterZ is built on is pretty free and open, allowing players to pull off a lot of things — including touch-of-death combos. On the latter, Motomura stated that the team didn’t want to limit the players’ freedom to discover things. In addition to this, he also stated that there was a lot more to discover in the game, and that some characters were underutilized as of yet. Hiroki actually points to Frieza in particular as one such character.
Of course, this is just part of what they talk about in the interview. Head on over to Eurogamer to read the whole thing.