It's been nearly two weeks since a single Facebook comment on the official Dead or Alive page sent people into a tizzy over whether Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 wasn't coming to the West because of "issues happening in video game industry with regard to how to treat female[s]." Now, publisher Koei Tecmo has responded.
If you're unfamiliar with this particular blowup, I wrote up a long explainer last week that sums it up. In short, Koei Tecmo's confusingly phrased comment set off a firestorm of debate on whether criticism of how women are depicted in media was directly responsible for Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 not leaving Japan and Asia. Some saw this as "social justice warriors" successfully enacting the censorship of video games, a common refrain in circles like GamerGate, despite there being no evidence of a deliberate campaign debating the game's content.
Koei Tecmo's statement came from multiple official Twitter accounts today:
— KOEI TECMO AMERICA (@KoeiTecmoUS) December 1, 2015
There are a couple of things to unpack here.
One, it's saying the Facebook comment wasn't a "statement" from the company but the sole opinion of whoever runs and maintains that particular page. It's possible they were expressing the opinion of developer Team Ninja or Koei Tecmo, but given what happened after it was said, they have decided to back off.
Two, they haven't yet changed their mind on the game coming West, citing "consciously respecting and strategising to support the different global audiences the Dead or Alive franchise lends itself to." While vague, there's a way to read that line a few ways, including one that supports the arguments of folks wondering if Western sensibilities are holding back the release.
It's curious that Koei Tecmo would include that line at all, honestly — it will only incite further debate without resolution.
Whether or not Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 never, ever comes to the West remains to be seen, but it's unlikely to be the last conversation on a topic like this. As we've seen time and time again, there's always another one around the corner.