Even before its launch, Namco Bandai’s newest venture Dragon Ball FighterZ was turning heads. Developed with Arc System Works (creators of the popular BlazBlue and Guilty Gear fighting games), this new entry into the storied Dragon Ball series of games looked to be like nothing fans had ever seen before.
Upon release, this hype proved to be more than just talk, as 2 million copies sold within just the week of release made it the quickest selling Dragon Ball game ever made. This momentum hasn’t slowed a month later, as the competitive scene is finally taking off at tournaments, with some interesting developments not commonly seen within the community.
With most fighting games, a certain niche of players is the goal of any developer. Rather than attract a wide variety of players, they try to court certain groups that like a particular franchise, combat system, or other feature that their game has that others don’t. As a result, many of the biggest names in fighting games stick to their particular title of choice for competition.
Not so for FighterZ, as it has somehow managed to draw in some of the most highly ranked gamers from other franchises, many of which do not typically stray from their game of choice. According to Steve Barthelemy, a longtime veteran of the anime fighting game genre using the name “Lord Knight” at competition, FighterZ has done what few games before it could and attracted a sustainable number of players post-launch.
In his experience, all four lobbies the game has at present are consistently packed with players, and offline spaces like Esports Arena in Santa Ana, California draw huge crowds wanting to compete in or watch the game being played. Others, too, like Dominique “SonicFox” McLean, champion of games like Skullgirls, Mortal Kombat, and many more, as well as his longtime rival William “Leffen” Hjelte, the undisputed “god” of Super Smash Bros. Melee, have both joined the fight in FighterZ.
It’s easy to see why, though. With so many people having grown up with the Dragon Ball franchise across the world, it makes sense many of those people would want to take a crack at the series’ newest venture into video games. And momentum doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon, meaning there might be more than just nostalgia attached to this game.