Bandai Namco has announced that Arc System Works are developing a new 2.5D fighting game in the Dragon Ball universe, entitled Dragon Ball Fighters and releasing in 2018 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
According to the press release, the Guilty Gear developer is taking the game in a new direction for the series, presumably in reference to the recent Dragon Ball Xenoverse series of 3D fighting games. Dragon Ball Fighters will feature 3 v 3 team battles with various character combinations providing strategic benefits and aims to capture the "ultra-fast battles" and flashy special moves that Dragon Ball is renowned for.
The game's Producer, Tomoko Hiroki, gave his comments on the decision to use a 2.5D viewpoint for battles. Translated from the original Japanese, the producer explained,
At first glance it looks like 2D animation, but because the camera is made in 3D, the camera can move at various angles. In order to expand the range of expressions, we were able to incorporate our own original production which can not be done with 2D or 3D alone
He went on to explain that he feels the unique visuals afforded by this method of production help capture the feeling of the original Dragon Ball anime series, with the familiar 2D animation captured from multiple angles. If the concept is a little confusing to visualize, it's likely a similar technique to that used in the studio's recent Guilty Gear Xrd series.
The information on Dragon Ball Fighters seems to have emerged a little prematurely as the Japanese press release from which the details came was dated the 12th of June and was removed, although we've preserved a copy here in this archive. We'll likely get an official announcement in our native language on June 12 which would line up with several E3 conferences, most notably Sony's. The official website, found here, will go live once the official announcement is made.
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My favorite games to come from the Dragon Ball franchise were the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai games and most specifically Budokai 3 on the PS2. None of the 3D fighters since have captured me in the same way and I'm personally excited to see the series go back to 2.5D. Arc System Works are certainly a developer who knows their stuff when it comes to anime fighters, so my expectations for this title couldn't be higher. Hype!
How do you feel about Arc System Works making a Dragon Ball fighting game? Is going 2.5D a wise move? Give us your take down in the comments!