Ultra Instinct Goku is one of the most highly anticipated DLC characters to join the Dragon Ball FighterZ roster (DBFZ), and on Wednesday, May 6, players got the lowdown on when the most powerful version of the Dragon Ball canon's protagonist will be available. Goku's Ultra Instinct form playable character will be available on May 22nd across all platforms. The release date was announced in a trailer for the DLC, which also gave a brief look into Ultra Instinct Goku's fighting style and special abilities.
A Gaggle of Gokus
Goku already has several iterations of himself as a playable character in DragonBall FighterZ. Goku's standard character model features him primarily in his Super Saiyan form and showcases the lengths of his power shown in Dragon Ball Z. Goku also has a separate character model for his Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan form showcased in Dragon Ball Super, featuring the trademark 'Super Saiyan Blue' hair and a more combo-oriented playstyle.
Three other iterations of Goku have been released as DLC in previous seasons of DBFZ. 'Base Goku' harkens back to the classic DBZ era with Goku in his early twenties, empowered by King Kai's training but not yet aware or in possession of the power of a Super Saiyan. The 'GT Goku' character allows Goku to be played in his child-like form wished upon him via the Black Star Dragon Balls in the non-canonical Dragon Ball GT.
Goku fatigue has absolutely been in effect in the DBFZ community for quite some time. Players have requested a more diverse array of characters from the Dragon Ball canon in lieu of multiple iterations of major characters. Goku Black, a renegade Dragon Ball Super villain who resembles Goku, as well as the two Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan fusions of Gogeta and Vegito — both results of fusion between Goku and Vegeta — indirectly add to that fatigue.
Power of the Gods
Ultra Instinct Goku is the sixth(!) version of Goku to be added to Dragon Ball FighterZ as a playable character, so why is he such an anticipated addition to its roster? In the Dragon Ball canon, Goku's harnessing of Ultra Instinct is the single most powerful iteration of a non-fused character. In the Tournament of Power, the climactic saga of Dragon Ball Super, Goku involuntarily harnesses Ultra Instinct near defeat against the immensely powerful Jiren from Universe 11.
Suddenly, Goku goes from losing the fight one-sidedly to being entirely untouchable, outpacing Jiren at blinding speed and silently dominating the fighter for the duration of Ultra Instinct. Ultra Instinct is described by the experienced spectators of the battle as a rare state where the user's mind and body are entirely in-sync. The hyper-strength of pure survivalism in Ultra Instinct prioritizes speed and strength; personal traits and mannerisms are pushed aside entirely.
Another part of the fascination around the upcoming DBFZ DLC comes from the fleeting nature of Ultra Instinct. It has only happened canonically to Goku three times, all during the Tournament of Power, and has never been a voluntary transformation by Goku. Furthermore, unlike other new levels of power achieved by Goku throughout the Dragon Ball mythos, Ultra Instinct is not something endowed by his Saiyan bloodline.
Beerus, the God of Destruction of Universe 7 (the 'main' universe of the Dragon Ball canon), showcases visible frustration and becomes increasingly rattled upon Goku's harnessing of Ultra Instinct throughout the Tournament Power. Whis, Beerus' caretaker, reveals that no mortal has ever achieved Ultra Instinct as it is a very difficult power to control, even for gods. Whis then pokes fun at a seething Beerus, revealing that the God of Destruction himself has yet to harness Ultra Instinct.
In the trailer announcing Ultra Instinct Goku's release date, some gameplay footage was shown to give players a preview of what the character will look and play like in the game itself. Given the canonical context of Ultra Instinct as a godlike power, UI Goku shows blinding speed in reactive counter-moves and immense power in special moves at the end of combos. Most interestingly, it looks as if Ultra Instinct Goku's super moves are activated as a counter to the opponent attacking.
The character certainly fits the bill in terms of how Goku fights with the power of Ultra Instinct as shown in Dragon Ball Super, so fans of the canonically accurate should have a blast playing this new DLC regardless of how many versions of Goku are on the character select screen.
However, to deduce Ultra Instinct Goku's relative strength amidst the other playable characters, especially at higher levels of competition in the Fighting Game Community, might take some time to figure out due to the atypical nature of the character and the perceived complexity of its in-game interactions with opposing fighters. Players of Dragon Ball FighterZ will be able to test the limits of Ultra Instinct when the DLC becomes available on May 22nd, 2020.