More Anime IPs Deserve The Dragon Ball FighterZ Treatment

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What About Naruto or One Piece FighterZ?

Story Highlights
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ provided a fresh take on this IP’s gaming adaptations.
  • It was a breakout success and sold 10 million units.
  • With the declining quality of modern arena fighters, shounen anime like Naruto and One Piece need their own 2D fighting games.

Over the past couple of decades, there have been many different Dragon Ball game adaptations. From story-based games like Kakarot to arena fighters like the upcoming Sparking Zero, this franchise has never been limited in variety.

However, 2018’s Dragon Ball FighterZ was perhaps the most different. Breaking away from traditional Dragon Ball arena fighters, it became an instant hit. Today, this 2D fighting game has sold 10 million units, which begs the question, why have other anime IPs not received similar treatment yet?

In my opinion, this is the obvious way forward to deliver fans the video game adaptation they deserved for years.

Why It Matters: Video game adaptations of anime games are criticized for being repetitive and safe. Dragon Ball FighterZ was the exact opposite, bridging the gap between hardcore and casual fighting game fans through the popularity of the late Akira Toriyama’s IP.

Dragon Ball FighterZ
Dragon Ball FighterZ Was A Nearly One-to-One Recreation of The Source Material

Dragon Ball FighterZ’s Success

The Dragon Ball franchise is built around martial arts combat in general. Dragon Ball video games have barely been able to deliver a good fighting experience reminiscent of these concepts recently.

Even the most recent Dragon Ball Z Kakarot had limited combat and relied on cinematic presentation to make up for the basic gameplay, diverging from the martial arts focus of the series.

FighterZ takes a beat ’em-down approach. The game is more akin to Street Fighter or anime fighting games like Guilty Gear. It features just enough accessibility, depth, and flashy presentation to make it appealing to casual fans and fighting game players alike.

The game’s mechanics are not rocket science. Compared to most fighting games, it’s fairly simple. However, the blend of two genres meant that Dragon Ball FighterZ was always destined to be a hit.

The fighting game model also gave the game a competitive aspect, something which is unique to this Dragon Ball game. Even today, Dragon Ball FighterZ has a huge scene in E-Sports with big tournaments and huge prizes.

Anime Arena Fighters
Anime Arena Fighters Are No Longer Interesting

Anime That Deserve The FighterZ Treatment

There are many anime that revolve around combat, and many of them already have video game adaptations. However, most adaptations aren’t that great. Even great arena fighters like the Naruto Storm series are long past their prime, with new games rehashing old concepts.

Therefore, many of them could benefit from the FighterZ model. Arena fighters limit their scope, with developers returning to their comfort zone and creating safe projects. In my opinion, Bandai Namco should attempt to emulate Dragon Ball FighterZ’s success with more IPs.

Naruto, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Hunter x Hunter, Bleach, One Piece, and more could work in a 2D fighting game setting with enough work. Many of these IPs, including Naruto and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, have already been adapted into 2D fighting games before.

Therefore, it should be easy enough to translate them into such games again. Arc System Works has even expressed interest in a One Piece game before, so Bandai Namco’s reluctance makes little sense to me.

Dragon Ball FighterZ
Dragon Ball FighterZ Is The Highest Rated Gaming Adaptation of the IP In Recent Years

Over the past decade, arena fighters have ranged from bad to mediocre. Jump Force was a crossover arena fighter from different anime IPs, but it was downright horrendous and quickly forgotten.

One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows and Jujutsu Kaisen: Cursed Clash are more examples of games that follow the trend of poor arena fighters. Arc System Works, on the other hand, is known for putting out quality games.

A game like Jump Force would have been a dream come true with the FighterZ model. Fans, including me, have also asked for the application of the FighterZ concept to other IPs since 2018, yet it seems Bandai Namco has turned a blind eye to all such requests.

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