Atari retains exclusive Dragon Ball Z license

DBZ games in the works for Xbox, GBA; new titles for PSP, DS likely to follow.

Atari revealed today that it will continue its exclusive license with FUNimation Productions for the Dragon Ball franchise through 2009. The new deal extends one first forged between Atari and FUNimation in 1999, and it gives Atari rights to develop video games based on the Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball GT animated series and characters to markets in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Atari said it plans to continue producing games for current and future game devices, including the PSP and DS. Already the franchise has sold 7 million units, said Jim Caparro, president and CEO of Atari. “We have exciting plans in place to build on that momentum and usher in the next era of Dragon Ball, including products for the new wave of portable gaming devices and next-gen consoles.”

Atari’s first Dragon Ball product, Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku, was released in May 2002 and became the number three best-seller for the GBA that year, the NPD group revealed. Since then, Atari has released 12 video games in the franchise, and it plans to release four new ones in 2005, including Dragon Ball Z: Sagas for the Xbox (spring) and DragonBall GT: Transportation for the GBA (summer).

FUNimation officials said the next Dragon Ball Z movie, Broly: Second Coming, will hit the market in April, followed by Dragon Ball Z Ultimate Uncut special editions, which feature unreleased footage and extras, like an exclusive Goku vs. Vegeta featurette, plus interviews with voice actors and fans. Dragon Ball Z will return to broadcast television in May.

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