The Dead or Alive franchise has been balancing itself on the shoulders of sex and violence for nearly two decades now. If scantily clad characters were not enough, the most recent installment took a step beyond by prioritizing bouncing anatomy in more than one ways. The fan-service has become almost a tradition with every new entry but there is hope that Dead or Alive 6 will take a different route.
Koei Tecmo officially announced the upcoming sequel last night with a debut trailer that teases several new arrays for the franchise to explore. Besides new characters and gameplay mechanics, Team Ninja has promised to tone down the overly sexual theme by bestowing the female roster with proper attire. This means less revealing and more sensible costumes for a fighter to wear during combat.
In addition, the developer has decided to remove the comical “breast physics” from the game. The upcoming installment will no longer focus on sex appeal and otherwise humiliating features to promote female characters.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that a false promise has been made to address the overly sexual theme of a Dead or Alive installment.
In 2012, months before the release of Dead or Alive 5, producer Yosuke Hayashi noted that there was a need to move past the reliance on sex in order for adult males to look at women as more than just “pin-up” characters. There were also requests from “overseas offices to tone down the sexiness” that prompted the development team to revise character designs.
However, Dead or Alive 5 released with the same overly sexualized elements. It was only revealed later by director Yohei Shimbori that the decision had to be reverted due to negative feedback from early testers and fans playing the alpha version. They were demanding bigger breasts in the game, which had to be fulfilled under the pretense of “keeping an open mind.”
Hayashi later backtracked on his statement about empowering women as well by admitting to creating “the cutest chicks in video games.”
In light of the little history, can Team Ninja be expected to keep its promise about addressing the sexual tone with Dead or Alive 6? It certainly seems so this time around. Kasumi and Helena were completely covered in the debut trailer, more so than the female fighters from other franchises. There was also no jiggling anatomy in sight.
While anything can happen between now and the release, the changing times should ensure that the developer does not get any ideas about bikini-themed post-release content packs. The surging importance of women rights and movements against sexual harassment in the industry will likely drown Dead or Alive 6 should the decision for modesty be reverted.
Dead or Alive 6 is scheduled to release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in early 2019. Team Ninja is expected to drop more details on June 11 at E3 2018.