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Jump Force: release date, trailers and news

Jump Force (Bandai Namco, 2019)

Update: Bandai Namco have now announced a closed beta for Jump Force. You can sign up on their website until October 7, with beta sessions kicking off in the following week, October 12-14. For gameplay trailers, revealed characters, and everything else, read on in the article below.

Bandai Namco's manga-inspired fighting game, Jump Force, made quite a splash when it was unveiled at E3 2018. But what is Jump Force, who's actually on the roster, and when is it going to be released?

In a nutshell, Jump Force is PvP fighting game featuring manga and anime characters, in which players put together a trio of fighters to thrash out their differences with bombastic, gravity-defying punches and energy beams.

The game is part of a host of celebratory tie-ins from the legendary manga publisher Shonen Jump, which turned 50 this year.

Few things are more satisfying than letting your favourite characters duke it out, and Shonen Jump has them in plentiful supply: over the past few decades it's brought us Dragon Ball, One Piece, Death Note and Hunter X Hunter, to name but a few.

Gaming publisher Bandai Namco (Tekken 7, Soul Calibur VI) were behind a similar effort in 2012 called J-Stars Victory VS, which also saw a roster of Shonen Jump characters battle it out in a 3D arena.

Having played an early build of the upcoming game, it looks like Jump Force should offer even bigger battles, better graphics and more focused gameplay than its predecessor. 

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? A crossover fighting game featuring characters from Dragon Ball, One Piece, Naruto and others from Shonen Jump manga
  • What can I play it on? Coming to PC, Xbox One, and PS4 – though we're not ruling out a Switch port down the line
  • When can I play it? Sometime in 2019

Jump Force release date

Jump Force should be jumping into stores sometime in 2019, though the month would be anyone's guess.

Bandai Namco's other manga-inspired fighter, Dragon Ball FighterZ, launched in the January after its own E3 reveal, so it's not-unlikely that Jump Force will be working to a similar window. But with the game still in development and only a handful of playable characters confirmed, we're probably a while off hearing more.

Jump Force trailers

"These worlds were never meant to meet..."

Explosive, flashy and heavy on the gravitas, Jump Force's E3 trailer immediately caught our attention. Have a look below for a first look at the game's bombastic combat, super-moves and eclectic roster of characters. 

There's also an extended 'supercut' trailer showing off a seemingly endless string of fighting moves from the confirmed roster, which gives a clear impression of the chaotic gameplay on offer.

Jump Force news and rumors

We ain’t seen nothing yet

As the world’s biggest publisher of manga, Shonen Jump has an extensive catalog to draw on, stretching back decades.

Bandai Namco is remaining tight-lipped on the roster, though the inclusion of Ichigo, Rukia and Aizen – from the popular paranormal manga Bleach – has now been confirmed. 

They’re joining the initial mash-up of the Saiyan superhero Goku and galactic villain Frieza from Dragon Ball, the eponymous teenage ninja from Naruto and his teammate Sasuke, as well as the rubber-limbed Luffy and the sword-wielding Zoro from One Piece.

Given that developer Spike Chunsoft’s previous manga fighting game, J-Stars Victory Vs, had 52 characters on its roster, we’re pretty sure there are a lot of well-known (and lesser-known) names to come. But bringing in more recent entries like My Hero Academia, or even 2015’s Black Clover, could really help Jump Force stand out from previous games and attract a wider audience.

Death Note is in there, sort of

Death Note’s Light Yagami and the death-god Ryuk also appeared at the tail-end of the trailer, though we were slightly heartbroken when Bandai Namco confirmed they wouldn't be playable ("They're more involved with the story").

We expect the iconic pair masterminded whatever event brought all these characters together. But given that Light's Death Note is able to kill anyone on command, we see how he might not have suited a traditional moveset in the arena.

You’ll be fighting in real-world locations

As if mashing up countless universes from across the Shonen Jump manga wasn’t enough, it seems our own is also getting an appearance.

All the fighting stages showcased so far are based on real-world locations. So far we've seen Times Square in New York, the Matterhorn in the Alps, and an arena in Hong Kong. Could we see a ravaged Tokyo city, or Goku and Frieza duking it out in the shadow of Big Ben?

Jump Force Bandai Namco 2019

Jump Force is going for a wider appeal

It's clear that Jump Force wants to be a more accessible – and well-known – game than some of its predecessors.

Bandai Namco was careful to showcase more familiar faces for its first trailer, and sharp-eyed fans will have noticed that Bleach's Ichigo and Rukia are styled after Bleach's globally-popular anime adaptation, rather than the original Japanese manga.

The game also runs on the widely-used Unreal Engine 4, and is explicitly optimised for upgraded performance on Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. Given that Bandai Namco's Dragon Ball FighterZ also came to Nintendo Switch a few months after its initial release, we expect we could see a similar schedule happen here.

Henry St Leger

Henry is TechRadar's News & Features Editor, covering the stories of the day with verve, moxie, and aplomb. He's spent the past three years reporting on TVs, projectors and smart speakers as well as gaming and VR – including a stint as the website's Home Cinema Editor – and has been interviewed live on both BBC World News and Channel News Asia, discussing the future of transport and 4K resolution televisions respectively. As a graduate of English Literature and persistent theatre enthusiast, he'll usually be found forcing Shakespeare puns into his technology articles, which he thinks is what the Bard would have wanted. Bylines include Edge, T3, and Little White Lies.