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There’s going to be a new Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi game

Much-loved fighting series returns after 15 years

Goku grimaces mid transformation in the trailer for a new Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi game Image: Bandai Namco
Oli Welsh is senior editor, U.K., providing news, analysis, and criticism of film, TV, and games. He has been covering the business & culture of video games for two decades.

Perhaps the most fondly remembered game series ever to be adapted from the Dragon Ball manga and anime universe is set for a return. At the Dragon Ball Games Battle Hour 2023 event on Sunday, Bandai Namco announced that a new Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi game is in development, over 15 years since the last mainline entry in the series.

The new game does not yet have a title, release date, platforms, or even an official upload of the trailer, which was shared by several YouTube channels over the weekend. However, the official Twitter account of the Dragon Ball Games Battle Hour event also shared a version of the trailer, and it’s clearly authentic. (The version of the trailer that appears on YouTube refers to the series by the subtitle it was given in Western markets, Budokai Tenkaichi, while the version shared by the event uses the Japanese name, Sparking!)

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi first appeared on PlayStation 2 in 2005, and was swiftly followed by two sequels in the two following years (which also made their way to Wii). That’s it, as far as mainline games are concerned, although there were also a few spinoffs: Tenkaichi Tag Team, a 2010 PlayStation Portable title; Ultimate Tenkaichi, a 2011 PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 game that messed with the gameplay formula somewhat; and the unlikely Dragon Ball Z For Kinect from 2012. Spike (later known as Spike Chunsoft) remained the developer throughout.

The Budokai Tenkaichi fighting games are notable for their huge rosters of playable characters (and alternate character forms), and their over-the-shoulder 3D camera, giving fights a very dynamic feel. The trailer for the new entry doesn’t reveal much, but it does show a beautifully modeled Goku undergoing a dramatic transformation. And reactions from fans, long starved of a new Budokai Tenkaichi game, have been pretty intense.