The Dragon Ball FighterZ situation really looked like it was turning ugly at one point, with various high profile tournaments having to shut down registration and pull the game from their line-ups. This initially led a bunch of people to point the finger at Toei Animation over the issue, but Toei claimed they had no knowledge over the tournaments being pulled.
Throughout the week news had been ramping up about the Dragon Ball FighterZ tournaments being pulled, but answrs on who was doing the pulling wasn’t being made clear. Namco Bandai producer Katsuhiro Harada made a post via Twitlonger on December 27th 2018, where he revealed that he would be taking over as the official leader and supervisor for Bandai Namco fighting game e-sports and strategy team. The statement clarifies that this will see Harada overseeing how large scale official and local tournaments involving Tekken, SoulCalibur and Dragon Ball FighterZ are rolled out throughout the community, saying…
“To everyone in the “DRAGON BALL FighterZ”, “TEKKEN”, and “SoulCalibur” community.
“I wanted to notify everyone that I have become the leader and supervisor of the BANDAI NAMCO Fighting Game eSports Strategy team today (Of course, I’ll continue producing the game as well).
“And first I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who held and/or participated in various tournaments this year.”
He doesn’t specifically say if this means tournaments featuring Dragon Ball FighterZ will be saved, but it definitely means he’ll be doing everything within his power to preserve the ever-growing community surrounding the game.
The anime-fighter ended up becoming a smash hit success when it launched earlier in the year for home consoles and PC, moving 3.5 million units according to Event Hubs. And unlike Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite or Street Fighter V, the e-sports community for Dragon Ball FighterZ grew organically and dynamically just based on fan support.
According to Harada, Bandai Namco will be working with community and tournament organizers in order to continue fostering that growth across their three major franchises, saying…
“We at BANDAI NAMCO are committed to expand the horizons of both tournament and community scenes of these 3 franchises.
“We are already planning to have as many official tournaments as possible for next year—while continue supporting tournaments held by the community.
“Furthermore, we are dedicated to figure out ways where we can assist tournaments and community activities in the future.”
Hopefully this means that Dragon Ball FighterZ will be safe from any further incursions preventing it from achieving its maximum potential on the market. Unlike other games with a corporate marketing push to create an e-sports phenomenon (i.e., Overwatch) all of Dragon Ball Fighterz’ growth has been 100% organic, and likely was a shocking treatment of success that took Bandai by surprise.
We’ll see if Harada can salvage the community-fueled momentum that has made Dragon Ball FighterZ the top fighting game of the year, or if the corporate suits that be will Ki-block Harada and prevent him from fulfilling his destiny as the savior of the FGC.
(Thanks for the news tip Heyyy Jude)