In a surprise reveal, Bandai Namco has released an announcement trailer for Project Z, a fully 3D action RPG retelling Goku’s most famous exploits. You can watch the trailer above to get a glimpse of Project Z – or Dragon Ball Game: Project Z, if you prefer the full working title – which is set to launch in 2019 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Through a series of cel-shaded snippets, you can see that Project Z revolves around the classic Dragon Ball Z story arc that many of us grew up with: the appearance of Vegeta, and the first attack from the terribly powerful Frieza. Most importantly, this is also the saga where Goku first went Super Saiyan, setting the tone for the ever-increasing power levels that would come to define the series from then on.
Though the trailer mainly consists of cutscene clips, we do get a glimpse of actual third-person gameplay as Goku explores some environments and walks past iconic landmarks like Master Roshi’s Kame House and the Capsule Corporation building. Unlike the MMO framework of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 and the acclaimed 3v3 fighting of Dragon Ball FighterZ (opens in new tab), Project Z will be an action RPG that we’re already envisioning like some kind of anime Witcher 3. It’s currently in development by Japanese studio CyberConnect2, which has close ties with Bandai Namco as the developer of numerous Naruto games.
Anyone who grew up watching Dragon Ball Z on Cartoon Network will instantly recognize many of the story beats shown in the trailer, like Krillin’s fateful meeting with Frieza, the coming-of-age arc for Goku’s son Gohan, and Goku’s classic “Give me energy!” pose. What might be a bit jarring for old-school fans is seeing these scenes with Goku’s dialogue using the original Japanese voiceover, which is much higher pitched than the Western audience will remember. If you didn’t spend your childhood Saturday mornings with DBZ, this will be a great primer on Goku’s history, and how he went from Kakarot to the Saiyan we all know and love.
We don’t yet know if the story will stop at the Frieza saga, or if this action RPG will span multiple story arcs. But Bandai Namco is sure to reveal more of this game in the coming months, especially if Project Z is due later this year.
Bandai Namco is also hard at work on Jump Force (opens in new tab), which prominently features Goku and the gang fighting characters from a range of well-known anime.