The hit video games Dragon Ball FighterZ and Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 have both passed the incredible milestone of 10 million copies shipped worldwide*! (*Includes physical copies shipped and digital copies sold.)
To celebrate this monumental achievement, we invited the producers of both games here for an interview! In it, they shared their thoughts on reaching 10 million copies with us and even told us some juicy game development tidbits!
Pictured from left to right:
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Producer: Mr. Masayuki Hirano
Dragon Ball FighterZ Producer: Ms. Tomoko Hiroki
—For starters, please tell us how you felt when FighterZ and Xenoverse 2 achieved the landmark of shipping 10 million copies.
Hirano: I never thought that so many people would pick up copies of FighterZ and Xenoverse 2.
Hiroki: When we were developing the games, I remember us wanting to do our best to increase sales as much as possible, but there wasn't a concrete goal in mind like 10 million copies or anything. So, to have both games reach that level is pretty amazing, isn't it?
Hirano: Just how much do people love Dragon Ball? It's truly amazing.
Hiroki: Yeah, you're telling me.
Hirano: We're just so delighted to have had a chance to pour all our love for Dragon Ball into developing these games.
Hiroki: Absolutely! I'm sure that the reason we were able to achieve these numbers is due to how much the fans enjoy our games, and that makes me extremely happy.
—If you could, please tell us about the game concepts that were vital during development.
Hirano: The biggest thing we were going for was to create a chance for players to insert themselves into the Dragon Ball world. Before Xenoverse was released, Bandai Namco Entertainment focused on making Dragon Ball games where you could fight as Goku, Vegeta, and other iconic characters. In addition, games where you could enter a specific game world as yourself were still rare at the time, so getting the concept for Xenoverse approved was a bit tough to achieve.
Also, we were very insistent about not using the term "avatar" in advertising for Xenoverse. Instead, we pushed hard for the idea that players were more than some unknown character and that each player would join the game's world as the hero. I remember being very conscious of that choice at the time.
Hiroki: For FighterZ, the aim for us was to create a real fighting game using characters and themes from Dragon Ball. As such, we took great pains to develop the game to be a competitive fighter overflowing with lots of Dragon Ball charm. I think that concept created a chemical reaction that led to the game reaching sales of 10 million copies.
On top of making a great fighting game, we decided to use 2.5D anime style graphics that would be able to satisfy diehard Dragon Ball fans. Despite using 3D models, this style allows players to control Goku and the other characters in a way that accurately represents their 2D looks from the original series.
—Next, could you tell us what challenges you faced while developing these games?
Hirano: Since Xenoverse began with a concept that was still rare at the time, it was tricky coordinating with the company developing the game so that both sides had an accurate understanding of what we were trying to achieve. The term "avatar" was far less common in games back then, so explaining what we wanted for a Dragon Ball-style avatar was a bit difficult.
To help the development team understand what we were going for, I tried to get them to remember playing make-believe during their childhoods. Y'know, pretending to fire a Kamehameha, powering up to transform, that kind of thing. I personally loved to play those kinds of games as a kid, and I even had a friend who created a Dragon Ball-reminiscent comic that included himself and his name within. And sure enough, it turned out that many members on the development team had had similar experiences as well. I think those childhood desires to become a Z Fighter or to fight together with Goku were very important, and so conveying that idea to the developers and marketing team and then getting everyone on the same page took some hard work. But in the end, it was absolutely vital to do so in order to create a quality game.
Hiroki: Looking back, I think we faced two big challenges when developing FighterZ.
The first was achieving a balance between the competitive fighting game portions and Dragon Ball-themed portions of the game. Fighting games have a long, rich history, so we needed a proper framework to ensure that the game would be competitive. On the other hand, we also needed to work hard to properly express concepts from Dragon Ball, like aerial combat and planet-wide destruction, so we ended up hashing out various game concepts with the developers. For example, we opted to use Dragon Rushes in place of short-range grab moves, which are of course a mainstay in fighting games. Grabs are a popular option because they can circumvent blocking, but since fights in Dragon Ball tend to focus more on high-speed rushes of attacks, we ended up changing things to stay true to that Dragon Ball spirit. The end result was a fighting game that's a bit different from the rest because of that unique Dragon Ball feel we managed to preserve.
Hiroki: The second challenge was the 2.5D anime style graphics we chose to use. Everyone on our team loves Dragon Ball, so at first we just tried to recreate the look of the Dragon Ball Z anime we had watched back in the day. But a lot of time has passed since the anime first aired, and everyone's memories of the series have changed during that period. As such, we realized that just reproducing that same look wouldn't have the exciting effect we were going for. This required us to rethink the visual style for the game and figure out how to power up the game's visuals through trial and error. What you see in the final version is that answer, and I'm pleased with how the graphics have resonated with fans.
—For the DLC characters, do you remember any characters that fans were ecstatic to have added to the game, or one that was hard to decide on?
Hirano: For FighterZ, I guess I'd have to say Videl? It seems like fans really wanted her to be added.
Hiroki: Yes, I agree! I actually debated about adding Videl a lot, since I wasn't sure if it was right to have her fight on the same level as other more canonically powerful characters. The Videl fans on our marketing team and over on the Arc System Works development team ended up changing my mind, though. In the end, I decided that she wouldn't be out of place if we included Great Saiyaman to support her and help her fight. That led to the debut of a new 2-in-1 fighter on the fighting game scene, and I'm happy with the result.
On top of that, you can also change Videl's hairstyle by performing a secret input. Having the chance to add in some retro flair like that was also great fun.
Hirano: I'm a World King fan myself, so I was really hoping you'd add him, actually...
Hiroki: Hmm, I don't think he'd last very long in a fight! (Laughs)
(Dragon Ball Tale 152)
Hirano: Still, being able to add non-combat character designs via avatar items, costumes, and the master system is one of my favorite things about Xenoverse 2. It has been very fun making those characters and their designs available in some form in the game.
Hiroki: For Xenoverse 2, players can use the techniques from DLC characters via their avatar. Do you choose those characters based on popularity, or do you consider ways to increase options for players too?
Hirano: Well, we have added cute techniques like those used by Ribrianne to the game, and we also make sure to include poses that players will enjoy when taking selfies. So, in that regard, we go beyond just becoming a certain character to give players the option to use that character's "style" as well.
Hiroki: Now that you mention it, that's true.
We chose new characters for FighterZ in a similar fashion; instead of just using characters we like or those that are popular with fans, we ended up choosing many because they let us implement new techniques into the game.
Make sure to also read Part 2, where we ask the producers about their favorite characters and what's in store in the future!
Also, learn what impressed Ms. Hiroki about her senior colleague, Mr. Hirano!
[Part 2] A Special Interview with the Producers of Dragon Ball FighterZ and Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 to Celebrate 10 Million Copies Shipped!
*All comic images are from the Japanese version.
©BIRD STUDIO/SHUEISHA, TOEI ANIMATION
©Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.
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