Goku—or Kakarot if going by his Saiyan name—may be the main character in the long-running Dragon Ball franchise, but he’s far from the only character. Gematsu reports that in a recent issue of the Japanese manga magazine V-Jump, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot will now include series mainstays Gohan, Piccolo, and Vegeta as playable characters.
The three will also be support characters like Krillin, Tien Shinhan, Yamcha, and Chiaotzu—but unlike the former, Krillin and company will be support-only. Gematsu explains that characters assigned to the support role will be able to provide backup by guarding against offensive actions, taking pursuit action, and responding to the player character and commands.
Gematsu adds that the player character will grow through fighting and eating food, something particularly appropriate for Dragon Ball and its inclination toward warriors fueled by huge appetites. Gematsu also notes that enemy characters that appear to be a cross between robots and pirates guarding an underwater base have also been sighted.
It sounds like the game’s pulling from young Goku’s conflict with the Red Ribbon Army, specifically the time when he fought Pirate Robot. It would be interesting if Kakarot also covered Goku’s earliest adventures, even as unlockable content.
According to Game Informer, Gohan will have a new story set during the time he trained with Piccolo in preparation for the arrival of Vegeta and Nappa, galactic empire-affiliated Saiyans set to conquer Earth. It’s not the first time that new content has been added to that part of the series. The anime adaptation expanded on the original story of Gohan’s training in the manga, adding lost robot companions and dead dinosaur friends to further traumatize the young warrior-in-training. Whether Kakarot will take a page from the anime expansion in their approach to exploring Gohan’s training remains to be seen.
Gematsu shared that Vegeta will be playable once Kakarot hits the Namek part of the original story. Hopefully, this means there will be a chance to play as Vegeta mowing down Frieza’s forces right under the galactic tyrant’s nose.
The chance to play as more characters in the latest Dragon Ball title is welcome news. Goku’s obviously the lead, but arguably the large cast is a major part of the franchise’s appeal and longevity. Goku can’t be everyone’s favorite, and different characters can attract other fans. Gohan, Piccolo, and Vegeta open up possibilities for more variety in the game, like the chance to add the Androids/Cell saga, even as post-game content.
Imagine playing as Vegeta demolishing Android 19. Or Piccolo hunting down an Imperfect Cell as he consumes cities, maybe even with a new element of stealth that recognizes the more horror movie tone the story experiments with at that point. And of course, taking on the role of Gohan as he ascends and challenges a fully Perfect Cell.
Or what if a villain mode can be unlocked and a playable Frieza becomes available, just like in Dragon Ball FighterZ? Honestly, in a long-lived franchise like Dragon Ball, this is essentially territory that’s been covered before in many other game adaptations. But it seems strange to have any Dragon Ball game that locks the player into one character at this point. The addition of playable Gohan, Piccolo, and Vegeta feels more in tune with part of what makes Dragon Ball games fun. (Though it’s not without precedent; for instance, the GBA game Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku had Goku as the only playable character.)
Though the game’s named after Kakarot, there’s a lot more to Dragon Ball than just one character.
Which new playable character in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot excites you the most? Are there other characters from Dragon Ball’s long history that you want to see become playable in the new game? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.