Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi is back. At the official Dragon Ball Games Power Hour 2023, in between tournaments for Dragon Ball Fighter Z and the Dragon Ball Super card game, a video began to play on screen, showing a CRT monitor with gameplay and scenes from the Dragon Ball Budokai Tenkaichi franchise: and then the screen flashed and cut out. When the video returned, series protagonist Goku was suddenly rendered in a much higher resolution. The crowd was literally leaping with excitement as Goku entered Super Saiyan Blue and the words “A New Budokai Tenkaichi Begins” played across the screen, setting the internet alight with excitement over the surprise return of the series.
A lot has changed in the 16 years since Budokai Tenkaichi 3. Queen Elizabeth was still alive, many of those who played as kids now have kids of their own, and two entire generations of PlayStation have come and gone. The game’s developer, Spike, merged into Spike Chunsoft, with their latest projects being big-budget spectacle fighters based on popular Anime, such as the recently deceased One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows and the commercial juggernaut Jump Force fighting game. The overwhelming financial success of the latter title likely influenced the decision to suddenly revive the Budokai Tenkaichi franchise after nearly two decades of the series and its fandom being kept on life support by a dedicated community of modders and fans.
The Budokai Tenkaichi 4 announcement comes on the heels of Naruto X Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections (try saying that five times fast), another anime spectacle fighter published by Bandai Namco. With that title releasing “later this year,” it seems that Budokai Tenkaichi fans will have to wait a little while longer for the franchise to return.
No further details have been released about Budokai Tenkaichi 4, but with a reputation as being “the video game equivalent of smacking two action figures together while fireworks go off,” it’s easy to imagine that the series will retain its popular appeal going forward. While we don’t yet know details like the release date, platforms, presence of rollback netcode, or how the game’s release will impact the careers of modders in Latin America, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the situation.
Wren Romero is an art school dropout, fighting game scrub, incorrigible drifter, and the most corrupt jester in games journalism. You can find them on social media @CUIDAD