How Dragon Ball: The Breakers Turned Into An Asymmetrical Survival Game While Staying True To The Fighting Series

Dragon Ball video games are nothing new for the Dimps crew. They’ve been instrumental in the creation of various popular games, including Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi, and Super Dragon All Heroes. They’ve taken on the task of making an asymmetrical multiplayer survival game because they already know the power of the Dragon Ball universe in other forms, including fighting games and trading card games.

On October 14, Dimps will release their newest game, Dragon Ball: The Breakers, on the PlayStation 4. We wanted to give fans of both Dragon Ball and Survival games an opportunity to learn more about the game’s development behind the scenes, so we conducted an exclusive interview with the Dimps team and our very own Bandai Namco Entertainment producer, Ryosuke Hara, before the launch.

We appreciate you taking the time to talk to us about Dragon Ball: The Breakers at this thrilling juncture in the series’ history. All players and staff members are asked to please introduce themselves and explain their position in 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 as 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: The fact that we are creating something that has never been created before in the Dragon Ball franchise is exciting in and of itself. Although there are difficulties due to the unique nature of the project, we are having more fun than any previous Dragon Ball game developer.

Taking a more micro view, being a die-hard fan of the Dragon Ball franchise, I find great satisfaction in deliberating over which new character skins and talents to include for the Raiders and Survivors. In doing so, I’m reminded once again of how incomprehensibly appealing Dragon Ball is, and how little we’ve used its potential.

The fact that Dimps has created Dragon Ball video games for more than 20 years is a remarkable accomplishment. Tell me about the most thrilling aspect of your work on Dragon Ball: The Breakers.

YO: What really gets my blood pumping is that it deviates from the formula of previous Dragon Ball games. Typically, in Dragon Ball, players face off against one another or form teams of an equal size to engage in battle. However, this game is unlike any others in the category because it is an asymmetrical one-on-seven action game.

In addition, players take the role of non-playable supporting characters like Bulma and Oolong in the Dragon Ball World, instead of the usual protagonists like Goku and Vegeta. Our goal is to give fans a taste of the Dragon Ball universe that has been absent from video games until now.

We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to ask you both some questions about the design and creation process. To begin, what were some of the most important things to keep in mind while making an asymmetrical multiplayer survival game in which seven players must work together to outwit one extremely powerful Raider?

RH: The “huge contrast in strength” is a central theme in Dragon Ball, and the concept is not found anywhere else. There are many other asymmetrical fighting games out there, but I can’t think of another where characters from the same universe have such a wide range of strengths.

YO: One thing we’ve been careful with is striking the right balance between making the game 1 vs. 7 and creating the “overwhelming power gap” that is distinctive to Dragon Ball. It may seem contradictory that our goal was to achieve an overwhelming difference in strength while still maintaining balance, but if this balance is not reached, the game will not play. Pre-launch testing continues as we fine-tune the equilibrium. After launch, we’ll be maintaining the game and making adjustments to the game’s balance as well as adding new playable characters.

Cell, Frieza, or Majin Buu are the three possible Raiders that the survivors could face during the match. The Raider begins the match in its base form and progressively improves throughout the course of the game. A fun and dynamic feature exclusive to survival games is that the Raider’s approach can change as the game progresses. The remaining Survivors are filled with such a sense of urgency as a result. Specifically, how did your team incorporate ideas from each Raider type?

RH: In a nutshell, our unique approaches to the game are as follows:

Cell: “Rounder-type,” characterized by rapid development and dependable intelligence in seeking out new opportunities
Frieza’s “technique type” relies heavily on his innate detective talents.
“High-risk, high-reward type” describes Buu, who develops slowly and then attacks all Survivors at once in the second half of the game.

Why did you like designing that particular Raider the most?

RH: On the other hand, Frieza has my undying loyalty. Using my abilities, I can position Zarbon and Dodoria anywhere on the map, and I may position them so that concealed Survivors emerge, or so that downed Survivors cannot be rescued by other Survivors. As a result of its versatility, this Raider is a lot of fun to play around with.

YO: To answer your question, I’d have to say Cell. When you first start Cell and see the larva, you know you’re in for something special. I’d love it if you took on the role of Cell, the game’s mascot, and worked your way up through the stages of development from larva to adult.

The Breakers takes the survival game genre in a new direction by making escape the primary objective rather than combat. Why was this part of the game included, exactly?

RH: Many Dragon Ball video games have been made by BNE. The majority of these video games have simply retold the original plot or centered around in-game battles. Although I believed this to be inevitable, given that this is the public’s perception of Dragon Ball and its appeal, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was truly the only draw of Dragon Ball.

Taking a cue from the presence of unique characters like Bulma and Oolong, who do not have superpowers and do not participate in battles, I came up with the idea that the threat of battles between super warriors could be more strongly felt when viewed not from the perspective of strong characters, but from the perspective of ordinary people.

In addition, the “asymmetrical conflict” game genre was already established in the market, and it was with the idea that fusing the two would yield fresh intellectual property value and synergy that production of this title got underway.

Dragon Change is a gameplay feature in The Breakers that allows Survivors to temporarily assume the roles of Z Fighters in order to escape or gain an advantage in combat. Typical Dragon Ball games center primarily on battles, but this one takes a slightly different approach. How difficult was it to create characters for the surviving cast who had so little agency?

YO: The concept of “the tremendous strength differential that can only attain in Dragon Ball,” given by Hara-san, was best captured by the “escape game,” as opposed to the produced battle-based games. In addition, the inclusion of non-playable characters like Bulma and Oolong from the Dragon Ball universe gave players a fresh take on the original plot while also providing an innovative gaming experience.

How else does this game incorporate features from the Dragon Ball franchise to make it feel like a natural extension of that world? (What are some memorable events from the Dragon Ball canon that gamers may keep an eye out for as they progress through the various battles and maps?)

Dragon Ball The Breakers
Dragon Ball The Breakers

RH: While the game’s perspective is distinct from that of previous Dragon Ball games, there are still nods to the source material to be found. Most notably, Bulma, Oolong, and the Farmer all lack superpowers yet serve as excellent models nonetheless. Although their unique traits and abilities wouldn’t be put to good use in other battle games, they’ll find that this one is tailored to their strengths.

When playing as the Raider, you’ll get to experience brand new, never-before-seen story elements as you evolve, destroy regions, and defeat civilians around the world. There are many additional aspects to the game, such as summoning Shenron by collecting 7 Dragon Balls, employing different skills, Dragon Changes, etc., but I hope you will discover them on your own as you play the game.

Finally, some humorous tips for the players would be a fantastic way to round up the article. What are some of your best pieces of advice for surviving and raiding?

RH: We think that the fastest approach for Raiders to defeat Survivors is for them to use their senses, in addition to their talents and special moves, to look for survivors. We encourage you to use headphones during your search for Survivors because the ears are often overlooked. To prepare for a possible Raider attack, Survivors should practice several scenarios.

They might try to run away at first, but the Raiders will eventually catch up, so we want you to develop a unique plan of action based on your particular set of skills.

YO: In order to escape, survivors will have to work together with other players, and we hope you enjoy the game while making use of the many tools available for player communication, such as stamps, emotes, and signals. All of us here at the office is really looking forward to this game, and we want you to have the same experience.

The Raiders can also use their own unique voices to mimic the characters of Cell and Frieza from the original series whenever they choose to. An additional fun feature is acting out battles as Cell or Frieza, complete with their lines. We plan to add these features to the game at a later date, so we hope you’ll keep playing even after they’re included.

We appreciate you taking the time to talk about Dragon Ball: The Breakers in depth before its release on PS4 on October 14, 2022.