Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero's split-screen multiplayer is only playable on one map, devs confirm

Dragon Ball Sparkling Zero
(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero, the weirdly named new fighting game from Bandai Namco, lets you play couch co-op with your friends on the same TV, but there's a pretty huge catch - you can only do so on the Hyperbolic Time Chamber map.

Talking to GamesRadar+ during Summer Game Fest 2024, producer Jun Furutani, via translator, described Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero's local multiplayer option as something of an afterthought. Although there's an inherent challenge in deciphering intent in a translated interview, it seems pretty clear that Furutani views Sparking Zero as primarily an online multiplayer game with the added benefit of a limited local co-op mode.

"The game was really developed as a solo experience on one screen, because it was so important for us to be able to maximize and optimize the experience of a Dragon Ball fight and all that comes with it," Furutani said. "For example, all the real-time interactions and animation that you can see in the game that will make this Dragon Ball experience the best. There were definitely challenges to go with the split screen feature. But still, we wanted the player to enjoy the game in many situations, and playing on his couch with a friend is one of the situations, so we made sure to add this feature in the game."

It was previously rumored that Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero wouldn't have a local multiplayer option at all, so although it's disappointing that it's restricted to just one level, it's a good thing that we're able to play together with friends in the same room at all. There's a chance the feature is expanded to include more maps in the future, but since it sounds like the restriction to just one map is due to technical challenges, that's far from a certainty.

Only time will tell if Sparking Zero will join the ranks of the best fighting games out there.


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Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.