Dragon Ball: The Breakers doesn’t sound like a typical game for the franchise. While most Dragon Ball games involve fighting, improving your abilities, and exploring outlandish locations — just like the TV shows — The Breakers focuses instead on running and hiding. That may not sound like much of a pitch, but the trailer makes a pretty convincing pitch for the concept. The fact is that Dragon Ball has a huge universe on offer, and it’s strange that game developers have been content to confine it to two or three well-worn genres.
Bandai Namco announced Dragon Ball: The Breakers today (Nov. 16) with a teaser trailer on its official YouTube channel. We’ve embedded it below, in case you haven’t seen it yet:
Dragon Ball: The Breakers is an asymmetrical action game, where seven players cooperate to survive against a single player-controlled antagonist. The villainous player will take control of perennial DBZ foes Frieza, Cell or Majin Buu, while the survivors will be everyday people.
Unlike most DB heroes, the survivors in this game don’t have the ability to fight back against the evil conquerors. Bandai Namco explains that instead, they “must rely on various power-up items, weapons, and pilotable vehicles to battle and evade the Raider while searching for the Super Time Machine to escape oblivion.” The game doesn't have a set release date yet, but Bandai Namco has promised a closed beta "soon."
In other words: Seven players need to evade one superpowered monster, who grows more powerful as the match progresses. It’s a bit reminiscent of the ill-fated Evolve, although perhaps Dead by Daylight is a more apt comparison.
Bandai Namco revealed a few more details about The Breakers, such as how players will be able to customize their own survivors and purchase cosmetic skins (we saw series regulars Bulma and Oolong in the trailer). They’ll also be able to carry data over between The Breakers and Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, although it’s not exactly clear how the two games will tie together.
What’s more interesting about The Breakers, however, is simply that we’ve never seen anything like it in a Dragon Ball video game before. A survival/horror multiplayer game doesn’t exactly scream “Dragon Ball,” but perhaps that’s why it’s so timely. We’ve already taken control of Goku and defeated his enemies dozens of times. We’ve created our own avatars and honed our fighting skills; we’ve competed in countless fighting tournaments; we’ve even battled it out with trading cards at least three times.
Dragon Ball: The Breakers will explore what the DB setting looks like from the perspective of an ordinary person. Without its central power fantasy, it will be fascinating to see what the world looks like. If the game turns out to be good, so much the better — and if it inspires Bandai Namco to take even more unusual risks with the license, then it will really have accomplished something special.