Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero has split-screen, but there’s a catch

Dragon Ball Sparking Zero trailer screenshot

Bandai Namco finally answered the big gquestion of whether Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero will have split-screen, and some fans aren’t happy with the answer.

The Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi games came out when online multiplayer wasn’t nearly as easily available and popular as it is now. Friends and family would face each other in thrilling multiplayer split-screen battles locally. Every game in the series had split-screen multiplayer, which is why fans were shocked by speculation that Sparking Zero wouldn’t have any local multiplayer.

Bandai Namco put the speculation to rest in a video showcasing the various game modes Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero would have. While split-screen multiplayer is present, there’s a major catch and some fans aren’t happy that such an important feature is seemingly an afterthought.

Does Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero have local multiplayer?

While Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero does have local multiplayer, the split-screen game mode is limited to only one map.

The much-anticipated split-screen couch co-op mode in Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero is only playable on the Hyperbolic Time Chamber map. Additionally, the second player can only select their characters after the first player finalizes their team, which is surprising given that all previous Budokai Tenkaichi games allowed both players to do so simultaneously.

Sparking Zero producer Jun Furutani stated that the team’s focus was to make the game an immersive Dragon Ball experience

“We wanted to show effects like the wind blasting around and the weather changing just by charging your Ki, and rocks and buildings being dynamically destroyed by the force of battle, and take advantage of the power of the latest generation of consoles. With that in mind, it was difficult to implement local split-screen multiplayer while retaining those core elements, so we developed this game with online multiplayer and an offline single-player mode in mind.”

While not explicitly stated, the decision to limit the local multiplayer mode to the Hyperbolic Timechamber map is likely because it doesn’t have many such assets to render. Dragon Ball fans will likely be familiar with the Hyperbolic Timechamber, a void of endless white space. In addition to fewer structural assets, the weather on the map is always stable, making the mode less demanding on hardware.

It’s unknown if Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero will add more maps that support local multiplayer in future updates.

All confirmed Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero game modes

The list of confirmed Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero game modes includes Episode Battle and Custom Battle.

Episode Battle is Sparking Zero’s story mode that covers specific encounters starting from Dragon Ball Z’s Saiyan Saga and ending with Dragon Ball Super’s Tournament of Power. Players will play as eight characters in this mode, including Goku and Vegeta, and some cutscenes are in first-person mode to enhance immersion.

The Episode Battle mode occasionally gives the option to choose how the story progresses. The first option players will likely get during Goku’s story is whether to pursue Raditz with Piccolo, as Goku did in the original story, or to go alone. Choosing the second option will have Krillin chase after Goku and change the battle’s outcome.

The second game mode is Custom Battle. As the name suggests, players can create whatever battles they want. In addition to the characters, players can tweak factors including win conditions, cutscenes, and Ki recovery as they please. They can also submit their creations online so that other players can try them out.

Custom Battles mode also includes a Bonus Battle mode. These custom battles have original battle situations and event cutscenes created by the developers. Players can trigger these cutscenes after meeting certain conditions.

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Written by Hannan Mundia

Hannan Mundia has been playing video games since he was just three years old. He loves everything about gaming, from RPGs to first-person shooters. He has sunk countless hours into Bethesda's popular RPGs, but his favorite game remains Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. His writing has also been featured on Fandom Spot, and you can follow him on Twitter / X at @zombiezomz.

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