Dick McVengeance (which I’m pretty sure is not his Christian name) of Japanator reports that an MMO based on Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball anime series is set to hit Japan in 2008. He sources an article on DBMania, which is written in Japanese. Dragon Ball (along with its sequels Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT) is one of the most globally popular anime and manga series of all time. The series revolves around an aloof, but powerful warrior named Goku, who finds himself wrapped up in outlandish adventures filled with exaggerated hand-to-hand combat. The game is being developed by Ntl Inc., with contributions from Toriyama-san himself.
No matter the quality of the game, an MMO based on Dragon Ball is sure to be a hot commodity. It’s such an enormous franchise that a degree of success is guaranteed. This is particularly true in the Asian market, where numerous MMOs that are not as popular in the West garner millions of users (see Ragnarok, MapleStory). That said, the game is likely to popular among Western gamers too, where the Dragon Ball Z fighting games have sold millions of copies.
According to McVengeance, “The game is set 200 years from the end of the manga, so all the main characters are dead, or so it seems. The world has been divided by some evil organization, and with the help of ‘Time Patrol Trunks,’ you’ll help to reunite the world.” Trunks is a popular character from the latter two Dragon Ball sagas.
Players will be able to choose between the various races in the game, including Saiyans, Nameks, and humans. Characters will be developed from youths to full-fledged warriors (it will be curious to see how this will be applied to androids, should they be a race choice). MMOsite adds that marriage and tournament systems will be integral parts of the game.
Toriyama is no stranger to the gaming world, having contributed to the success of Chrono Trigger, Blue Dragon, and several Dragon Quest games. At the very least, Toriyama’s involvement will ensure that Dragon Ball Online’s graphics will be true to the series.
Open beta testing for Dragon Ball Online will kick off in Korea this summer.