Bandai Namco has released the first roster details and a trailer for Dragon Ball: Sparking! Zero — the official title for the fourth mainline game in the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi series — and the 24 characters revealed are all variants of Dragon Ball’s most famous characters, Goku and Vegeta.
For any other game, that might sound like short-changing fans, but in the unique context of Dragon Ball fandom and the Budokai Tenkaichi games, it’s fan service. The manga and anime series and their video game spinoffs have long concentrated on the various special forms their heroes can take, and the original three Budokai Tenkaichi games — all released between 2005 and 2007 — set themselves apart with their vast rosters filled with every conceivable character variant. Each form is treated as its own character, with distinct stats, moveset, and fighting style.
Sparking! Zero seems to be no different. (With this new entry, Bandai Namco appears to be unifying the series behind its Japanese title, Sparking! — Budokai Tenkaichi was the name originally used in the West.) The image released by Namco Bandai alongside the roster announcement suggests the final game will feature no less than 164 characters. The 24 characters announced consist of 11 Gokus from Z and Super and 13 Vegetas, including Great Ape Vegeta, Super Vegeta, and Majin Vegeta.
Bandai Namco also released a trailer alongside the announcement, showing various forms of Goku and Vegeta going at it. Like the earlier Budokai Tenkaichi games, Sparking! Zero features a dynamic over-the-shoulder camera view and extravagant, anime-accurate animation and effects. Frankly, it looks great, and the roster announcement went down well with fans. “24 slots for just Goku and Vegeta, we’re so back,” commented one fan on Reddit.
Those fans have had a long wait for this game. Not counting a couple of spinoffs, and despite a passionate following, there hasn’t been a Budokai Tenkaichi game in over 15 years. Dragon Ball: Sparking! Zero is being made for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Windows PC by original Budokai Tenkaichi developer Spike Chunsoft. It doesn’t have a release date yet.