Bandai Namco will be bringing the popular manga and anime series One Punch Man to consoles and PCs in a fighting game called One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows and provided screenshots and art to tantalize fans in the meantime. The series, which began as a web-comic before taking the manga and anime worlds by storm, is currently airing its second season.
In the world of One Punch Man, superheroes are regulated and funded by a corporate bureaucracy called the Hero Association. Each hero is ranked into one of four tiers according to their power level, their heroic deeds, and their performance on a written test. Saitama, the series protagonist, is quite possibly the world’s most powerful hero, able to defeat any opponent in with a single punch. However, Saitama doesn’t always pursue all of the trappings of being a hero and so continuously sits at the bottom of the rankings. He regularly saves other heroes - and sometimes the world - without being recognized for his heroic deeds.
One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows will be released on the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Players will fight in 3-person teams made up of characters from the series. The trailer and preview art imply that the game will be very similar stylistically to the anime, and include Saitama, his protege, Genos, Saitama’s greatest rival, Speed-o’-Sound Sonic, and Hero Association members Hellish Blizzard and Mumen Rider. It’s not yet clear whether villains of the series other than Speed-o’-Sound Sonic will be playable, or if they’ll serve solely as adversaries. The release date has yet to be announced.
Bandai Namco has been publishing games for decades and has a strong track record when it comes to both arena fighters and anime adaptations. They’re the publishers of the Dragon Ball Z fighters, which have been going strong for thirty years. Last year’s Dragon Ball FighterZ broke Steam’s record for concurrent players of a fighting game. Bandai Namco is also behind the adaptations of Gundam, Naruto, and Ultraman.
Adapting One Punch Man as a fighting game presents an interesting challenge. How can developers build a fighting game around a character who is so powerful that he finds combat boring? Saitama will sometimes hold himself back, either out of modesty or in the hopes of being challenged. In the game’s trailer, we see him throwing multiple punches at Genos, so it’s likely there will be some sort of build-up required when playing as Saitama. The world of the series, though, is quite well suited to a tournament-style fighter. Gamers will likely get more detail as to how One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows will approach this issue of balance as the game gets closer to launch.