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Bandai Namco Brings Back Budokai Tenkaichi With Dragon Ball Sparking Zero

The strongest in the heavens tournament has returned

Image: Bandai Namco
Image: Bandai Namco

For several years now, Bandai Namco has been trying new things with Dragon Ball games. From Kakarot to Dragon Ball FighterZ, it’s been a while since we saw the word “Budokai” on a video game box. Technically that’s still not happening (the games are just called “Sparking!” in Japan), but with Dragon Ball Sparking Zero, Budokai is back!

The return of the Budokai Tenkaichi series was already announced earlier this year. But with the introduction of Sparking Zero, the game has now been fully revealed. The trailer shown at the 2023 Game Awards shows off the look of the game, which is the fourth in a series of arena fighters set in massive environments.

The trailer shows off what Sparking Zero looks like, but it also shows what is clearly in-engine combat footage and several early roster confirmations. Obviously, the trailer starts off with Goku and Vegeta, both transforming into their infamous Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan (or simply Blue) forms.

We also see Frieza, the Dragon Ball Super version of Broly, Bardock, Piccolo, Androids 17 and 18, Cell, Mr. Satan, Krillin, Tien, two versions of Trunks, Majin Buu, Jiren, and even Bergamo. Since the last time a Budokai Tenkaichi game launched, a lot has happened in the world of Dragon Ball, making plenty of room for several debuts.

No release date for Dragon Ball Sparking Zero was provided in the trailer, but a “wishlist now” call to action rounded things out. It also appears the game will be launching for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and the PC.

The last time a Budokai Tenkaichi game came out was for the PlayStation 2 and Wii in 2007. A PSP game with the branding dropped in 2010 but was more of a spinoff. The biggest draw of the series is its over-the-top, cinematic techniques and huge arenas to fly around in.

Sparking Zero’s early marketing materials note that the environments will take damage over time, a nod to the destructive nature of battles in the Dragon Ball series.

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