E3 2014: Dragon Ball Super Saiyans Onto Next-Gen In Dragon Ball: Xenoverse

The Dragon Ball franchise spans multiple industries from manga to TV to video games. Bandai Namco has consistently released brand new games in the franchise, which range from excellent to downright poor. Dragon Ball: Xenoverse is the first Dragon Ball game to appear on the PS4 and Xbox One, and Bandai Namco hopes to usher in a brand new era on brand new hardware.

Xenoverse retains many of the same game mechanics of the previous games. In order to make this the best Dragon Ball game ever, Bandai Namco has enlisted Dimps to develop the game. Franchise veterans will remember Dimps as the team that developed the critically acclaimed Budokai trilogy. This is still a 3D fighter where players will zoom across the land, sky, and underwater as they fight their opponents to the death. Like many recent fighting games, Dimps is aiming to make the game accessible for casual players, but still including enough depth to please fighting game fans.

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The developer’s goal is to create a new Dragon Ball story that the player can experience through the world. In past games, most of the experience has come from character interactions, but Dimps really wants the world to tell a story. Yes, there is a story and a mystery. Bandai Namco has unveiled a brand new character and futuristic city that will both play a very important role.

The game was shown to me running on a PS4, and looks and runs quite well for being a pre-alpha build. I got to see a total of three different matches with Goku being the player character. I saw him fight Frieza, Cell, and Buu. The fighting was fast and intense with Goku dodging fists, energy blasts, and Super Moves. It was confirmed that players can switch between different Saiyan modes, though Dimps isn’t ready to discuss how players can do this in game. Overall, what I saw though pre-alpha was highly entertaining and polished.

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Using the capabilities of the new consoles, Dragon Ball: Xenoverse is aiming to be the most impressive entry in the franchise. Enhanced particle effects, realistic destruction and improved facial expressions help usher Dragon Ball into the next-generation of gaming. Bandai Namco did tell me that they are aiming for 1080p, 60fps on both PS4 and Xbox One, with PS4 being closer to reaching that goal than the Xbox One.

When asked to comment on whether it was easier to develop for the PS4 or Xbox One, Dimps mentioned that both consoles have their strengths and weaknesses. One console can be better at some things than the other, and vice-versa. However, they ultimately said that the PS4 was easier to develop for, though only slightly. Hopefully the developer can get the game to those magical numbers on both consoles.

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It isn’t just the new consoles that Dragon Ball: Xenoverse will launch on. Players will also be able to pick the game up on PS3 and Xbox 360. The publisher and developer confirmed to me that PS3 and Xbox 360 owners will get the full Dragon Ball: Xenoverse experience. The main difference will be the graphical downgrade. Future details regarding platform differences will be announced sometime in the near future.

I also took the time to pick their brains about possible Wii U, PS Vita, and PC versions. On the Wii U, they mentioned that they liked the platform a lot. However, they conceded that for the type of game they want to make, the Wii U just doesn’t meet the criteria. As for PS Vita and PC, they wouldn’t comment on the possibility of the game launching on those platforms.

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So, should fans be excited for Dragon Ball: Xenoverse? It looks good for the state it’s currently in. Bandai Namco and Dimps are offering with Xenoverse what Dragon Ball fans have come to expect from the franchise. You’re going to get a huge roster filled with fan favorites, amazing stages recreated from the TV show, and brand new content to boot. From everything I’ve seen, there’s plenty for Dragon Ball fans to get excited for.

Dragon Ball: Xenoverse launches sometime in the future for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360.