Fans of Dragon Ball FighterZ were in for a treat this weekend as Bandai Namco Entertainment held the Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour Finals at Red Bull Final Summoning in Los Angeles, California featuring some of the very best competitors from around the world.
Familiar names like SonicFox, Kazunoko, HookGangGod and Go1 would go on to compete in the Top 8 finals being held on Sunday and before then, Saturday would see over 200 hundred players coming from around the world to fill the final four spots in the last chance qualifiers. Why four spots? Originally, the LCQ was set to give one player a chance to enter the Top 8 but seeing as how Kazunoko took home four of the seven Dragon Ball trophies during the World Tournament, this left three extra spots open that needed to be filled.
Day 1 saw fierce competition in all four LCQ brackets but in the end, Japan dominated as Dogura, Fenritti, BNBBN, and Kindevu filled the four finals spots but day 2 was something else.
My pick for the grand finals was Kazunoko vs either SonicFox or Go1 but that didn’t happen as, in the end, Fenritti made it out of the losers bracket to face Kazunoko in an intense match that you have to watch. Better yet you should just watch all of Day 2 as you see some absolutely insane matches. Sean Schemmel and Chris Sabat the voice of Goku and Vegeta were also at the event.
At the event, we had a chance to sit with Dragon Ball FighterZ producer Tomoko Hiroki and talk about the game:
Nuke Fridge: A few days ago, it was announced that Jiren was the next character coming to Dragon Ball FighterZ. When you were looking at characters for the next season, what was important for you? Where the characters specific characters were requested to do or did you go with what fans wanted?
Tomoko Hiroki: So this hasn’t really changed from the base game and from Fighter Pass #1. We’ve always been concentrating on adding in characters that can fight as a unique fighter. Obviously other Dragon Ball games, they’re choosing characters based on their popularity, whether they’re the latest characters or not. That’s important for Dragon Ball FighterZ as well – but at the same time, it is a core fighting game. We need to think about the balance and whether or not these characters will be unique enough from the others.
NTF: We are getting very close to the Grand Finals of the World Tour and the competition has been insane. How has it been for you as the game’s producer watching such high-level gameplay from some of the world’s best players?
Hiroki: You know, the level of competition is so high, it feels like we’re watching a Tenkaichi battle outside of the game. It really amazes me on how much time the players are spending on this game. Even as the creator of Dragon Ball FighterZ, there are so many moves, so many combos, so many ways they’re using the characters that we can’t even tell. There are new discoveries given to us from the players. We think that, as the publishers [of the game], we’re the ones who must give the players emotion and enjoyment. But in the same way, the players are also giving us a lot of joys. I’ve been really excited throughout the LCQ.
NTF: So this weekend we’ve seen a few players take advantage of Gotenks and Piccolo using their Okizeme aka Oki combos. How challenging is it to balance it in-game and make it more – I won’t say “unfair”, but make it more balanced?
Hiroki: As you said, it’s always very difficult to find a perfect balance. Because once we’re done adjusting one character or one combo, users find another combo and we have to start adjusting that one. When it comes to balancing out a fighting game, there’s really no end to it. We’re constantly communicating with Arc System Works, the dev team, to frequently put in updates, balance things out, trying to make it as fair as possible to the users.
NTF: Have there ever been thoughts of trying to adding costumes for various characters? Personally, I love Gohan get his Great Saiyaman outfit, maybe Nappa with his look from Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Krillin with hair or even 18 in her tracksuit from the Tournament of Power.
Hiroki: To be completely honest, in terms of adding in alternate costumes, we do get a lot of questions from fans. But this isn’t currently put into consideration. It’s simply because of the way the game is developed and how the character models are created. Since our ultimate goal with FighterZ is to make it as if you’re controlling an anime. The way we create those models, it makes it difficult for us to simply change the costumes. It’s like creating a new character, almost.
NTF: You’ve done a fantastic job with the Dragon Ball FighterZ world Tour. I love the trophies that you have made including the Dragon Balls and Shenron that the winner of tonight’s Grand Finals will take home look. What can fans look forward to in the next season of tournaments?
Hiroki: For events like this, we’re thinking about a lot of stuff. There are some surprises that we can’t talk about right now, but we want users to look forward to our future announcements. We are planning to make it even bigger than what we have this year.
After the event, I couldn’t wait to get back home and get back into practicing Dragon Ball FighterZ especially with Videl and Jiren set for release on Thursday, January 31st. We were also able to get a bit of time in with Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission for the Nintendo Switch at the event so stay tuned for our impressions of the game.