After a decade surviving on mods, Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi fans are beyond excited for a new game

The new Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi
(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

A new entry in the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi series has been announced, and after more than a decade supported only by community mods and nostalgia, fans are beyond excited to finally get a brand-new game.

The first Budokai Tenkaichi launched on PS2 in 2005, and continued with two sequels released on PS2 and Wii in 2006 and 2007. These were 3D, arena-based fighting games with massive stages to brawl in and even bigger rosters to select from. If you ever wanted to pit Goku against characters as obscure as Spopovich, these were your games.

While the Budokai Tenkaichi series mostly got mediocre reviews, Dragon Ball fans loved them for their massive rosters and gloriously unbalanced battles. While the BT series has seen a few spin-offs and the arena brawling style lives on in games like Xenoverse 2, no other title really offers the same feeling of smashing all your DBZ action figures against each other.

That's why series fans have been subsisting on mods for Budokai Tenkaichi 3 for much of the past decade. While console games aren't typically known for their modability, there are dozens - if not hundreds - of hacks for the PS2 game, adding everything from Dragon Ball Super characters to utterly bizarre crossovers with the likes of SpongeBob SquarePants and John Wick.

Maybe the most notable of those mods is Budokai Tenkaichi 4, a fan game that adapts the events of Dragon Ball Super into the BT3 engine. While the new, official Budokai Tenkaichi doesn't yet have a name or even any concrete details about its contents, the appearance of Super Saiyan Blue Goku in the teaser certainly suggests that it'll similarly take the series into the Dragon Ball Super era.

These prospects are why the game's debut at the Dragon Ball Games Battle Hour in Las Vegas earlier this week drew this Stone Cold Steve Austin-worthy pop from the crowd in attendance.

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The responses online have been pretty similar.

me_and_the_boys_when_budokai_tenkaichi_4_got from r/tenkaichi4
no_way_is_it_real_tenkaichi from r/dbz
tenkaichi_3_modders_live_reaction from r/tenkaichi4

It remains to be seen if the new Budokai Tenkaichi can live up to a decade's worth of expectations - that's a tall order for any game - but for now, fans are simply living in the bliss of the possibilities.

Can a new Budokai Tenkaichi go toe-to-toe with the best fighting games or best anime games? Time will tell.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.