It's been a few years now, since Dimps was last called upon to create a new Dragon Ball Z fighting game, but next year's debut of Dragon Ball: Xenoverse could very well lead to calls for Bandai Namco to publish a whole new set of fighting games based on the popular anime/manga.

Revealed last month in Weekly Jump, Dragon Ball: Xenoverse marks the first time that Bandai Namco and Dimps have worked together on a Dragon Ball project; however, it's far from the first time Dimps has created a fighting game based in the Dragon Ball universe. But anyone worried that this will just be another Budokai or Tenkaichi need not fret, because the studio has some pretty amazing plans for Dragon Ball: Xenoverse.

For starters, Dragon Ball: Xenoverse will be (partially) powered by the Havok physics engine, in an effort to introduce more-destructible combat arenas to the game. Dimps is also making use of YEBIS 2, the post-processing middleware created by Silicon Studio, to ensure the game isn't a slouch in the graphics department either.

Dragon Ball: Xenoverse Krillin, Gohan and Piccolo help a battered Goku, presumably after his first encounter with Frieza, in Dragon Ball: Xenoverse (PHOTO: Bandai Namco / Dimps)

And, based on an early tech demo that Bandai Namco showed to select members of the press, I'd say both decisions are likely to pay off in the long run. Even in it's incredibly early alpha state, Dragon Ball: Xenoverse looks just as good, if not better, than any other Dragon Ball game on the market. Characters look exactly like their television counterparts, and Dragon Ball: Xenoverse's updated presentation style makes it feel like you're actually taking part in an episode of the show.

Additionally, transformations will be a part of combat for the first time; allowing Dimps to clean-up the roster a bit and make room for the new playable characters in Dragon Ball: Xenoverse. Rather than making players choose between "regular" Goku, and his various Super Saiyan transformations, players will be able to gradually increase the character's power and abilities over the course of each match. The same goes for other multi-form fighters like Frieza, Cell and Buu.

Dragon Ball: Xenoverse Super Saiyan 3 Goku and Kid Buu, both of whom can now transform into a variety of forms during Dragon Ball: Xenoverse matches. (PHOTO: Bandai Namco / Dimps)

Most interestingly, players will apparently have some freedom to explore the planet Earth - as it exists in the Dragon Ball universe - along with a handful of other locations, including a mysterious new city that the development team isn't quite ready to discuss yet. Whether or not the new locale is the point of origin for Dragon Ball: Xenoverse's secret character also remains a mystery at this time.

Unfortunately, Bandai Namco and Dimps are far from being ready to announce the full list of fighters that will be available on the Dragon Ball: Xenoverse release date, but my own near-devotion to the original television show made identifying a few characters pretty easy. There will also be at least one character that's entirely new to the franchise, but whose identity has yet to be revealed by Dimps.

Dragon Ball: Xenoverse The mystery character from Dragon Ball: Xenoverse (PHOTO: Bandai Namco / Dimps)

While far from a complete list, here are the nine characters we know will be a part of Dragon Ball: Xenoverse at launch:

  • - Buu
  • - Cell
  • - Frieza
  • - Goku
  • - Kid Gohan
  • - Krillin
  • - Nappa
  • - Piccolo
  • - Vegeta

While there's not an official launch timeilne for the game yet, Bandai Namco has confirmed it plans to release Dragon Ball: Xenoverse on both current and last-gen consoles sometime during 2015. According to the studio, Dimps is actually developing Dragon Ball: Xenoverse specifically for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and the company says those builds will look much better than their last-gen counterparts. The company also says the PS4 and Xbox One versions of Dragon Ball: Xenoverse will include unique gameplay features -- likely meaning Kinect/PlayStation Camera integration of some kind -- but did not divulge any specifics on that matter, either.

Be sure to check back with and follow Scott on Twitter for more information on Dragon Ball: Xenoverse as we continue to follow developments of Dimps' latest project in the months leading up to the Dragon Ball: Xenoverse release date.

Are you looking forward to next year's debut of Dragon Ball: Xenoverse? Have a theory about the origin of the game's mysterious new character? Not sure you're going to be willing to shell out $60 for another Dragon Ball fighting game?

Let us know in the comments section!

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