Jump Force Leaving Digital Stores in February

Licensing issues are likely cutting the game's lifetime short.

Jump Force, the Bandai Namco fighting game that crosses over characters from multiple Shuishea Shonen Jump licenses, sucks. There’s no sugarcoating that, it’s a pretty bad game. The art style is horrendous, but the actual gameplay can’t shine through that mud to anything more interesting, not that the gameplay was that shiny to begin with.

Still, the game was actually a pretty notable success, which makes sense when you put together a number of strong anime and manga licenses like Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, JoJo, etc. into one game. That success also included a Switch port, which released a little less than a year and a half ago. It’s also short-lived, as Bandai Namco has announced that the game will be leaving digital stores early next year with online play getting shut down a little later in 2022.

While Bandai Namco did not elucidate on why Jump Force is taking the long way home, it’s not outlandish to assume that licensing plays a key part in these proceedings. A previous Shonen Jump fighting game, J-Stars Victory Vs. + for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Vita also had a similarly short window before being delisted from the PSN store in 2018. While all the crossover characters are under the same banner of Shuishea, Shonen Jump’s publisher, there are individual rights with character designers, writers, estates, etc. that massively complicate things.

With the game no longer being on sale, it doesn’t really make sense for Bandai Namco to maintain the servers, so online play (for which there are trophies attached) will be shut down in August 2022.

Which is not to say this is, like, good. It’s merely understandable that the hydra-like tentacles of different rights owners converge and tangle and then back off into their own corners even with games that are ambitious but bad. Considering the sales of Jump Force, though, Bandai Namco is absolutely going to make another game in this same vein, and it will very likely run into the same problems.

But maybe that game’s artstyle will be better.