How Dragon Ball: The Breakers adapted the fighting franchise into an asymmetrical survival game
The Dimps team is no stranger to Dragon Ball games. They have been at the forefront of development for several titles such as the Dragon Ball Xenoverse series, Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi series, and Super Dragon All Heroes series. From the fighting game genre to the TCG genre, they understand the power of the Dragon Ball universe in so many forms and now they have stepped up to the new challenge of creating an asymmetrical multiplayer survival game!
Dragon Ball: The Breakers is the newest game to be developed by the Dimps team and it will release for PS4 on October 14. Ahead of the launch, we wanted to give Dragon Ball fans and Survival game fans a chance to hear more about the behind-the-scenes development with an exclusive interview with the Dimps team and our very own Bandai Namco Entertainment producer, Ryosuke Hara!
Thank you for joining us for an interview at such an exciting time for Dragon Ball: The Breakers! Please introduce yourselves and your role on the game.
Ryosuke Hara: Hello, I am Ryosuke Hara, the producer at Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.
Yoshiya Otsuka: Nice to meet you. I am Yoshiya Otsuka, the developer at Dimps Corporation.
We’re excited to have you part of the interview! As you work to produce several Dragon Ball titles, we would like to ask what excites you most about working on Dragon Ball: The Breakers?
RH: From a larger perspective, the fact that we are taking on the challenge of developing a Dragon Ball game that has never been done before is exciting in itself. While there are challenges because of the unprecedented nature of the project, at the same time we are able to experience a level of fun that past Dragon Ball game producers have never experienced. From a smaller perspective, as a Dragon Ball fan myself, I really enjoy the time I spend thinking about what kind of Raiders and Survivor character skins to add, and what skills to include to make it more interesting. Every time I do this, I realize that the charm of Dragon Ball is unfathomable and that we have yet to fully tap into it.
It is an amazing track record for Dimps to have over 20 years of experience developing Dragon Ball games. What excites you most about working on Dragon Ball: The Breakers?
YO: What excites me is that this is a game which breaks the rule of the past Dragon Ball games. Dragon Ball games have traditionally been one-on-one games, or games in which players fight in teams of the same number of players. However, this game is an asymmetrical one-on-seven action game that challenges the genre in a way that has never been attempted before. In addition, instead of controlling the main characters such as Goku and Vegeta, players control ordinary people in the Dragon Ball World, such as Bulma and Oolong, who have not been playable in previous Dragon Ball games. We hope that our customers will enjoy the Dragon Ball world that they have not been able to experience in previous Dragon Ball games.
We’re very excited to be able to ask you both some questions to learn more about the development process. To start, what were some of the considerations that had to be at the top of your mind when developing an asymmetrical multiplayer survival game with 7 survivors working to escape from 1 super strong Raider?
RH: The concept is the “overwhelming difference in strength” that is unique to Dragon Ball. There are many asymmetrical fighting games in the world today, but I don’t think there is a game in the world where characters from the same universe have such a large difference in strength than Dragon Ball.
YO: The balance to make an asymmetrical game of 1 vs 7, while producing the “overwhelming power difference unique to Dragon Ball” was one of the elements we have been careful with. At first glance, it may sound contradictory as we wanted to achieve an overwhelming difference in strength and yet maintain balance, but if this balance is not achieved, the game will not work. Even now, we are still adjusting the balance through testing right before the launch. As we will continue to operate the game after launch, constantly adjusting balance while adding new characters will be an ongoing matter.
In a match, survivors may run into one of three Raiders – Cell, Frieza, or Majin Buu. As the match begins, the Raider starts with its first form and then evolves as the time progresses. This is such a fun and dynamic element unique to the survival game genre because it allows the player who is the Raider to also evolve their strategy throughout the match. It also creates such a sense of urgency among the remaining Survivors! How did your team implement concepts of each form into each of the Raiders?
RH: Briefly summarizing, we differentiate our play styles in the following ways:
- Cell : “All-rounder type” with fast growth speed and stable search skills
- Frieza: “Technique type” in which the key is the use of his search skills
- Buu: “High-risk, high-return type” that evolves slowly but hunts down Survivors at once in the latter half of the game.
What Raider was your personal favorite to design and why?
RH: I like Frieza better. I can place Zarbon and Dodoria anywhere on the map with my skills, and I can place them well to have hidden Survivors come out, or place them in front of down Survivors to prevent them from being revived by other Survivors. This Raider is fun to use because it offers a wide range of strategies.
YO: I would say Cell. When you select Cell and the game starts with the larva, that is the moment when you feel this is something you can only experience in this game. In a sense, Cell is a character that symbolizes the game, so I hope that you will become Cell and strive to go from the larva to the final form.
Caption: Not gameplay footage.
The Breakers has such a unique twist to the survival game genre as the main goal for survivors is to escape rather than focus on battling. What was the reason for this element of the game?
RH: BNE has produced numerous Dragon Ball games. Most of these games have focused on battles and the retelling of the original story. While I felt that this was to be expected, since that is the image of Dragon Ball and what many people find appealing about it, I also wondered if that was really the only appeal of Dragon Ball, and at the same time, I have always had a vague feeling that this was not the case. I came up with the idea that the threat of battles between super warriors could be more strongly felt by viewing them not from the perspective of strong characters, but from the perspective of ordinary people, taking a hint from the existence of unique characters such as Bulma and Oolong, who do not have super powers and do not participate in battles. Furthermore, the “asymmetrical battle” game genre was already well known in the industry, and the development of this title began from the point of view that the combination of this game genre and asymmetrical battles could create new IP value and synergy.
In The Breakers, there’s a game mechanic called Dragon Change where Survivors can borrow the powers of Z fighters, but it’s generally used as a means to escape rather than to battle. This is a bit different from other Dragon Ball games where the main focus is on the fights. How was it designing survivor characters who are essentially powerless?
YO: In order to produce the concept of “the overwhelming power difference that can only achieve in Dragon Ball”, which was given by Hara-san, the “escape game” matched the concept well instead of previous battle-based games that was developed. On top of it, by having ordinary people in Dragon Ball world such as Bulma and Oolong becoming part of the game, it resulted in an experience that has never seen in a game while basing on the original story.
In what other ways does this game bring in elements of the Dragon Ball franchise to make it a recognizable part of the universe? (Specifically what are some iconic Dragon Ball elements and story moments players can look out for when going through the different matches and maps?)
RH: This title has a different perspective from the previous Dragon Ball games, with elements that symbolize the original story scattered throughout the game. The most obvious examples are Bulma, Oolong, and the Farmer, who do not have super powers. Their characteristics and skills would not be utilized in previous battle games, but this title is designed in such a way that they can be used to their full advantage. On the Raider’s side, the process of evolution, destruction of areas, defeating civilians, and other experiences of roaming the map as an enemy character are all new original story experiences. There are many other elements to the game, such as summoning Shenron by collecting 7 Dragon Balls, using various skills, Dragon Changes, etc., but I hope that you will experience them for yourself when you play the game.
Lastly, it would be great to end with some fun advice for the players! What are some of your tips for being a Raider and being a Survivor?
RH: We believe that the shortest way to defeat Survivors is for Raiders to use their own eyes and ears to search for survivors, in addition to utilizing their skills and special moves. In particular, the ears tend to be neglected, so we hope that you will wear headphones and search for Survivors efficiently. It is important for Survivors to simulate in advance what they will do when they are attacked by Raiders. At first, they may try to escape by simply running, but of course Raiders will soon catch up, so we would like you to customize your own way of escaping after understanding the characteristics of your skills.
YO: Survivors will enjoy cooperating with other players in order to escape, but there are many elements for players to communicate with each other, such as stamps, emotes, and signals, so we hope that you will enjoy the game while making use of these elements. We hope that you will enjoy the game as much as we do. Raiders also have custom voices that allow them to speak the lines of Cell and Frieza at any time from the original story. The ability to speak the lines of Cell and Frieza in battle situations similar to those in the original story is another way to enjoy the game! These items will be added to the game in the future, so we hope that you will continue to enjoy the game long after its release.
Thank you so much for taking the time to discuss Dragon Ball: The Breakers in detail as we get ready to launch the game on PS4 this October 14, 2022!
* This article was originally published here