Fan games are unfortunately often the victims of takedown requests by more litigious companies, with the Metroid project AMR2 being the most well-known recent example.However, because of the immense effort decent fan games require, I would argue that they represent the absolute passions of developers rather than any challenge to the existing franchise. We caught up with Balthazar from Team Z2, the group behind the unbelievably high-quality Hyper Dragonball Z.
I take it you guys are all Dragonball fans?
Perhaps in different shapes and sizes but yes, each of the devs working on the game has some love for either the manga, anime or the video games of Dragon Ball and Z !
I noticed there are far fewer characters than the typical DBZ title – was this intentional?
We certainly have put our emphasis on quality over quantity… for instance, our Champ’s Build was to include more characters (the still-in-progress Super Buu and Gotenks), but we chose to temporarily set those aside in favor of updating and re-balancing our current roster, in no small part due to the wonderful feedback, bug reports and balance suggestions we’ve received from some of the more outspoken users of the Hyper DBZ Discord Channel!
What were your priorities when it came to capturing the feel of DBZ?
From the start, we wanted to have a real solid base… it started out as a bare-bones Street Fighter-type game, to which we kept adding features such as launchers, air combos, dash collision, counter attacks, focus attacks, power modes, etc.
We intentionally stayed away from things like flight modes, huge beam attacks and crazy attack clashes which might be expected from a typical DBZ game, but we felt we couldn’t balance the game properly if those were included to our game. As for fan service, we included many references to both the anime and previous DBZ video games as well as other fighting games. Some if the intro and win pose animations can get quite elaborate and show a side of the character we couldn’t show during the fight.
How long have you been working on it, and how long will you continue?
Our first character, Goku, was released back in April 2011. Since then, we have added more characters, one at a time, until in April 2014 the characters were banded together and the term ‘Hyper Dragon Ball Z’ was born. Right now, our team has grown with many more talented people and we’re working on 4 new characters simultaneously with a different spriter + coder team for each!
We will continue to update and add to the project for as long as there is support and demand for it and we are available to do this work. Right now we are at the peak of our interaction and production and we’re having a great time, this is a labor of love for all of us… we’ll keep going for perhaps many years to come.
How large is your team and what are each of your backgrounds?
The current core team is about 10 guys with lots of different backgrounds and from across the globe. We all found a home for our hobby at Mugen Fighters Guild, a forum that focuses on the Mugen engine, on which our game is built. We connected there and gradually started to work together. Right now our team is about 50/50 split between artists and coders.
Where would you all like to end up in the future?
I can’t speak for everyone, but it would be great if at some point in the future, when we’re all still together, we’d be working on an original (fighting) game which we could actually publish. I dare say that our work on Hyper Dragon Ball Z has given us certain fame and many of our fans and/or fighting game enthusiasts would be happy to support us on such a game!
Any parting comments for our readers?
First of all thank you for the coverage; the more people can get to know about the game, the better! That’s the most important thing for us; having the game be as widely known as possible and giving something special to any DBZ/fighting game fan.
Thanks to everyone that might have read this article all the way; you’re great! Please continue to share and discuss the project, and we’ll keep working on it for as long as we are mentally and physically able to!
Balthazar, Team Z2
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