Making the gaming news circles lately was the reveal that Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, a new fighting game of our dearly beloved DBZ franchise, would NOT be developed by the usual suspects of Spike (now Spike Chunsoft). Instead, the honor itself would be going to a company that many may not be very familiar with–Artdink. Spike has been the developer of many a Dragonball Z video game going all the way back to Budokai Tenkaichi to the recent Dragon Ball Z Kinect (which I probably shouldn’t have mentioned because of its unholy nature). While it’s quite sad to see a company that spent so long developing a popular fighting series go, this could be for the best if you think about it.

There are a couple reasons for this: The first is the dwindling quality that began to happen with many of the recent DBZ video games. While ’tis true that the Budokai Tenkaichi games still amount to very good fighting games, I don’t think many would argue that games following those started to fall on the wayside. Most ratings and reviews for these games started to fall into the average to negative range which, of course, culminated in the Kinect disaster that we all know very well. It seemed quite clear that Spike wasn’t bringing anything truly new and exciting to the table, instead allowing themselves to keep going on the same path with how the games turned out and even worse.

The second is Artdink. Artdink may seem unfamiliar with many gamers and that stands for good reason: most of their games have not seen localization. Artdink actually has a very long history in the game development circle going all the way back to 1988 and still kicking. Some games of theirs have seen localization: A-Train, Carnage Heart, No One Can Stop Mr. Domino, and Tail of the Sun just to name a few (A-Train is probably their most popular title out this way). Many of their games are known for being quite unconventional and odd when compared to other games at the time. I think this can work in their favor because it shows that Artdink is willing to get creative and put some thought into the games they develop instead of going with the same formula over and over again.

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Granted, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z may seem like it’s following in its predecessor’s footsteps, but at least Artdink took the time and thought to say “Hey! You know what a game like this needs? Multiplayer action. Lots and lots of multiplayer action.” So now we’ll have a four-player mode, an eight-player mode, and boss battles that will (or are supposed to) knock our socks off. Honestly, I’m surprised something like this hadn’t been done before, but it seems like it took another developer to come up with the idea. I’m quite pumped for the idea of playing out battles in a similar fashion to the show.

You may think I’m flat out hating on Spike, but I’m not necessarily. Spike did develop some fine DBZ video games, but I feel like with their game’s fall on the downward spiral and the need to not go into crazy territory, I think that their time with the series is done. Perhaps they can go off and create some new, fresh games under their new company of Spike Chunsoft. However, with Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, I’m looking forward to Artdink making this a true DBZ experience.

…now if only something would be done about that name.

What do you think about Artdink’s involvement as developer of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z? Are you excited to lay the smackdown on a number of your friends and online players?