For anyone that had questions about the appearance of a game called Dragon Ball: Sparking! ZERO instead of the classic Budokai Tenkaichi that fans were expecting, your confusion was warranted because Bandai Namco decided to rebrand the series—with no clear reasoning.
Bandai has since confirmed that Sparking! ZERO is the sequel to Budokai Tenkaichi 3 and the first entry in the series since 2010’s PSP-exclusive, Tenkaichi Tag Team—we still don’t count Ultimate Tenkaichi. This was our first glance at modernized gameplay for the series running in Unreal Engine 5, and it carries over a lot of things fans wanted to see.
Multiple instances of afterimage usage, grabs, character launching, freedom of movement, and, most importantly, the ability to destroy the map around you are all back. Beam clashes weren’t confirmed, but they were heavily hinted at in the initial bout of gameplay between Goku and Vegeta, while it was shown you can deflect certain beams if you time things right. Bandai also confirmed that Spike Chunsof, the studio behind the original Budokai Tenkaichi games, is returning to work on this entry.
“This is the Dragon Ball fighting game players have been waiting for, bringing a new sequel for one of the most beloved game series based on the franchise to a new generation of players,” Bandai VP of marketing Mike Chang said. “It has been more than 15 years since Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi pioneered arena brawlers, and Dragon Ball: Sparking! ZERO continues the legacy while adding new genre-defining features made possible only with the latest game platforms to deliver one of the most immersive anime game experiences of all time.”
Sparking! ZERO emphasized classic Dragon Ball battles while also tossing in new elements to show fans of every DB era that something is being included for everyone. Goku and Vegeta both powered up to Super Saiyan Blue, Freiza destroyed a planet, Broly’s iteration from the Super movies made an appearance, and a quick slideshow at the end showed off all of the Z Fighters, Hercule, Majin Buu, Android 18, Cell, and several other Super characters like Jiren.
As of now, the game does not have a release date or window, but it is available to wishlist on Steam. Bandai confirmed the game will be current-gen only and is set to skip the Nintendo Switch at launch, only coming to PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S.