Dead Or Alive Is More Than Breasts

Dead Or Alive Is More Than Breasts

I fell in love with my favourite fighting game franchise for all the right reasons. It was fast, frantic, flashy and ground-breaking. Now, after nearly 20 years together, it’s time for me to face the truth — my favourite fighting game franchise is an exhibitionist and I’m not OK with it.

In the late ’90s I was a fighting game fiend, greedily scooping up every title that featured a pair of characters pummelling each other senseless. And in the mid to late ’90s there was no better place for a fighting game fan than the Sega Saturn. It was the platform where 2D fighting matured and 3D console fighting was born. Armed with a four megabyte expansion cartridge that allowed me to play Japanese games, I ordered the first Dead or Alive from Japan and fell in love.

Despite swapping the 3D backgrounds of the arcade version with pre-rendered sprites and lowering the detail on the character models, Dead or Alive for the Saturn was a gorgeous game for its time.

But it wasn’t the game’s looks that got me hooked. It was the action. Fluid and precise, this was a game about striking hard and fast. It was a game about countering. The counter button allowed players to anticipate their opponents’ attacks and turn them around, turning a strike into an opportunity to fight back. The ability to counter in Dead or Alive was revolutionary, transforming normal back-and-forth battles into a ballet of battle.

While it was the sweet flow of Dead or Alive‘s fights that seduced, others latched on to a more immediate aspect of the game’s appeal.

As the story goes, game designer Itagaki wanted a feature for his fighting game that would draw attention to it during development, so he took a cue from another Japanese fighting game, SNK’s 2D brawler Fatal Fury. Applying the famous breast animation of female ninja Mai Shinranui to 3D character models, the signature Dead or Alive bounce was born.

It got attention.

An early promo reel for the Sega Saturn version of the game demonstrates the distracting nature of the “physics” Itagaki added to Dead or Alive. The innovative counter system isn’t really touched on. Danger Zones, a concept borrowed from Mortal Kombat‘s stage-based fatalities that would eventually morph into DOA‘s multi-tiered fighting arenas — one of my favourite features of the franchise — get a quick blurb. And while the reel never comes right out and shouts “Look at these bouncing breasts,” every time one of those fluid combat animations ends in ridiculous jiggle, it pretty much does.

I’ve never let Dead or Alive‘s breast physics keep me away from what I feel is an excellent fighting game franchise. I played the original game on the Saturn. When it came out the next year for PlayStation, reinstating the polygon stages of the arcade version, I played that as well. I played Dead or Alive 2 on the Dreamcast, marveling at how far the graphics had come in such a short time. I played solo, unlocking all of the game’s characters and costumes — I’m a sucker for costume unlocks, and Dead or Alive has almost always delivered on that front.

That Uncomfortable Feeling

It wasn’t until Dead or Alive 3 for the Xbox that I started to feel uncomfortable about my choice of fighting games. A showcase for the power of Microsoft’s new system, the 2001 North American release lacked many of the bells and whistles of its predecessors — there was a serious lack of unlockable costumes. But it was a famous advertisement for the game that disappointed me the most.

And suddenly all Dead or Alive fans feel like mouth-breathing perverts. Thanks, commercial.

The day I bought my original Xbox, I stopped at a local diner on the way home for a celebratory burger. As I ate, I cracked open the two games I purchased with the system — Halo (of course) and Dead or Alive 3 — to thumb through the manuals. The waitress serving me saw the DOA box, gave me a thumbs up and said, “She kicks high.” It was the only time I’d ever felt embarrassed to have purchased a video game, and I bought the collector’s edition of Record of Agarest War, complete with sexy pillow case and boob-bearing mouse pad.

I do not embarrass easily.

From that point forward, Dead or Alive was the game with sexy women and bouncing breasts in the eyes of those unfamiliar with its fighting pedigree.

2003’s Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball didn’t help the series’ image. The first game in franchise history to receive an M for Mature rating from the ESRB, Xtreme Beach Volleyball ultimately came off as “You want tits and arse? We’ll damn well give you tits and arse.” To outsiders looking in, it was further proof of the imagined depravity of Dead or Alive‘s fanbase.

Fans Demand Bigger Breasts

Series creator Tomonobu Itagaki’s departure from Tecmo in 2008 was a ray of hope for Dead or Alive fans tired of the series’ over-sexualized image. He was the father of the DOA bounce, often referring to the female characters of the series as his daughters.

An Itagaki-less Team Ninja began working on Dead or Alive 5, a rebirth of sorts for the long-running series. The game would expand on some of the series’ more exciting aspects, notably the dynamic stages, while toning down the sex considerably. I’d never been more excited by the phrase “toning down the sex.”

The collector’s edition of 2012’s Ninja Gaiden 3 came bundled with an early demo for Dead or Alive 5, and I was overjoyed.

While the physics were still in place, the assets those physics had to work with were substantially reduced. Purple-haired ninja Ayane received a substantial breast reduction, looking more like a young girl who’d studied martial arts all of her life and less like a young woman who only studied martial arts when she wasn’t recovering from cosmetic surgery.

I loved it. Others weren’t quite so keen.

Speaking to Gamasutra in 2012, Dead or Alive 5 director Yohei Shimbori described the fan backlash from Ayane’s breast reduction.

“We actually got a lot of feedback from people who were playing it, saying ‘We want bigger breasts. Make the characters more like that.’ That was kind of surprising.”

What might have been a turning point in the series became a tentative sidestep in a better direction. Breast sizes were increased for several characters, but a combination of more realistic body proportions and a less wild bounce offered a small illusion of propriety — an illusion that’s immediately shattered the moment you open up the downloadable content page for Dead or Alive 5: Last Round.

Ultimate Sexy is probably a bit too sexy for you.

They have got every kink covered here, from bunny ears to handcuffs. One moment Shimbori is talking about pressure from overseas offices to de-sexualize the series, the next we’ve got a veritable fetish smorgasbord available for purchase on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.

It’s like Team Ninja missed the sexy highway off-ramp, then said “fuck it” and pressed the accelerator to the floor.

It’s Just Dead Or Alive‘s Thing

If I were to ask a stranger at a gaming convention to name a fighting game featuring sexy female characters wearing skimpy outfits, Dead or Alive would likely be the most common answer. The best answer however, is most fighting games. From the moment Super Street Fighter 2 introduced the unitard-wearing Cammy back in 1993 (sorry, Chun-Li), attractive women wearing less than they would wear to the mall have been a staple of the fighting game scene.

Mortal Kombat’s Mileena charmed gamers with her killer smile.

Dead or Alive introduced fighting game fans (some more than others) to bouncing 3D breasts, but other popular 3D fighting franchises followed suit. Physics, when done well, can add an additional layer of realism to a game. When done poorly, at least players have something to giggle at, as seen in this classic Games Radar breast physics comparison from Soulcalibur IV.

Want sexy costumes? It doesn’t get any sexier than Anna’s calamari gear from Tekken Tag Tournament 2.

And now I’m hungry.

Fighting game characters are generally attractive. In a genre that showcases physical prowess, it makes sense that physical image plays an important role. With dialogue largely consisting of grunts and shouts and stories that are often little more than flimsy excuses for the setting of a battle, appearance and fighting style are a character’s defining characteristics.

It’s OK To Stare

If almost every fighting game franchise does sexy and bouncy, why is Dead or Alive singled out? For one, no one does sexy quite like Team Ninja.


There’s something hypnotic about the level of beauty the Dead or Alive series has achieved. Each new instalment is prettier than the last, honing its signature style to ridiculous levels of attractiveness.

Ein is so dreamy.

But really it was that early bounce that cemented Dead or Alive‘s position in the fighting game hierarchy as “the boob game.” As Itagaki hoped, the jiggle indeed drew attention to a new entry in the growing 3D fighting game market. It was just too strong a hook. Instead of moving past the superficial to appreciate the real meat of the game, the gaming community, media outlets (present company not-excluded) and Tecmo Koei’s marketing team latched onto those breasts and haven’t let go since.

Covering a fighting game for a media outlet can be a complicated affair, especially when attempting to go beyond face value, exploring issues of balance and timing and the competitive scene. The Dead or Alive franchise makes it easy. “What are DOA‘s boobs doing this time around?” I mean hell, even I’m doing it. Hi there.

Tecmo Koei seems content to milk the series’ breasts for all they are worth. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the recently-released Dead or Alive 5: Final Round feature the new “Soft Engine,” designed specifically to make skin look silkier and move more realistically than ever before. This is how that’s being demonstrated.

Now I’ve got a fighting game with not two but four different options for breast motion — Off, Natural, DOA and Last Round. That’s a ridiculous amount of focus on a cosmetic physics option that makes no difference whatsoever to core gameplay.

What bothers me the most is that all of this is an attempt to keep the focus solely on Dead or Alive‘s more private parts. Breast physics in fighting games is a regular thing now. Just look at this clip from the PlayStation 4 version of Last Round with them turned off. It’s like two plastic dolls fighting.

The effort Team Ninja and Tecmo Koei are making to draw attention to the sexual aspects of Dead or Alive is becoming pathetic. Instead of letting it age gracefully into the mature fighting game franchise I know it to be, they’re putting on a heavy layer of make-up and performing extreme plastic surgery, attempting to hold onto the titillating excitement of its early days.

The Defence Falters

As I discussed with our team how to cover Dead or Alive 5: Final Round, I tried to argue that breast physics were the least interesting part of the series. The Dead or Alive I fell in love with is a fighting game focused on fast action, easy enough for a new player to hop in and simultaneously becomes simply brilliant in the hands of a seasoned pro. It’s about dynamic face-offs and spectacular battles spilling across multi-tiered stages.

The team responded with scepticism. If the sexy side of Dead or Alive was its least interesting aspect, then why the “Soft Engine?” Why all the marketing materials that are little more than 20 seconds of swaying boobs?

And just like that, I deflated. There’s no use arguing the character of a game when it’s standing behind you the entire time with its shirt raised shouting “Look at my tits!”

It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way

Dead or Alive has much more to offer than heaving bosoms and bare skin. I know this. The hardcore fans that aren’t engaged in a letter writing campaign for tits the size of Volkswagens know this. The folks who don’t know this are the ones whose only exposure to the series is an endless parade of borderline softcore porn masquerading as marketing. In order for anything to change, Tecmo Koei and Team Ninja have to be willing to change, complainers be damned. Here are a few pointers to help get them started.

Show, don’t tell.

I have nothing against bouncing boobs. Having observed my wife for many years, I’ve come to realise that it is a thing that happens. Depending on the size it can be a painful, torturous thing that happens, but I’m of the opinion that it’s probably better they do than sit there stoically like a statue.

Almost every popular 3D fighting game out there has some degree of bounce. It’s really nothing extreme anymore. At this point hyping it is like telling everyone your fighters’ kick each other. Of course they do.

What I am saying is there is no need to change the way things move in Dead or Alive. There’s also no reason to hype the way things move in Dead or Alive. So stop making such a big deal out of it. If fans want it, it will be in there.

Take body physics to the next level.

I get it, Team Ninja — you’re obsessed with how the body moves. You want things to react naturally to motion. You know what would be amazing? If the entire body reacted to motion. And touching. And hitting.

You want me to get excited about bodies in a fighting game? Have a punch connect. Fist into face, skin shifting under the pressure of the knuckles, gone white from tension. How about grabs that affect the fighters’ clothing? If you’re really hell-bent on sexy, how about clothing that rips realistically in the heat of battle?

More realistic than this, please.

It will be a whole lot of work, and maybe even today’s more advanced consoles aren’t up to the task, but if any development team can pull it off it’s the one with enough time to create an entirely new engine just to show off breasts.

Grow a pair.

Allow me to re-paste the game director Yohei Shimbori’s quote from earlier.

“We actually got a lot of feedback from people who were playing it, saying ‘We want bigger breasts. Make the characters more like that.’ That was kind of surprising.”

Fuck those people. I bet there were at least five people quietly enjoying the changes made for every one who sent in an angry email demanding breasts be embiggened. What was “kind of surprising” to me was that the team actually took those whiners to heart and changed direction in mid-development. If I were a sceptic I’d say the whole thing was a flimsy excuse to mention breasts in an interview context, but I am I am eternal optimist, so I’ll just pretend it was all for the best.

If those folks want to see anime-style breasts bouncing that badly, I can direct them to several games available for purchase at Manga Gamer dedicated to just that.

This shot is from a game called Ultimate Boob Wars. Sounds right up their alley.

I know getting negative feedback is upsetting, as is the thought of not catering to your most vocal fans, but trust me — they will get over it, much easier than I’ll get over being considered a lech for enjoying your fighting game franchise. I’d rather be considered a lech for the truly lecherous things I do.

I own this perverted Transformers figurine.

And finally…

Never do this again.

Not even in German.

Bouncing Back

Dead or Alive needs to work on its personality. It’s got looks nailed down — I doubt we’ll ever see a physically ugly entry in the series. But for years the franchise has flaunted its sexuality, to the point where no one unfamiliar with its more intriguing aspects can see anything but flashes of skin. It got their attention, but never took that opportunity to show them what else it could do

The building blocks are all in place — a fast-paced brawling engine that’s newbie-friendly and pro-flexible, solid mechanics, a cast of colourful characters and a rich story mode that’s far more meaty than any fighting game’s needs to be. Now it’s up to Tecmo Koei and Team Ninja to build those blocks up so high that no pair of bouncing breasts can possibly knock them down.

This story was originally published on January 2016.


  • If I were to ask a stranger at a gaming convention to name a fighting game featuring sexy female characters wearing skimpy outfits,My answer would be Rumble Roses. Or maybe Girl Fight.

  • I feel similarly. I got into the series with DoA2 on the Dreamcast, and not because of boob bounce. It has a really smooth, fast style of gameplay which relies more on timing and reading and reacting to an opponent than a lot of the other 3D fighters of the time which relied a lot on learning button sequences and everything. Easy to pick up and play and enjoy. The biggest draw for me was the stages where you could knock an opponent off the side of something or through a wall or whatever and end up in a different area. Soul Calibur was easily the better Dreamcast fighter, but I always felt vaguely disappointed when playing it when a match would end because of a ring out. Always wished for a Soul Calibur with the interactive environments of DoA.

    DoA3 was an instant-buy for me at the Xbox launch based off how much time I spent with DoA2, and I would have spent a lot of time with 3 as well, but it definitely felt like their priorities were off. Especially when they moved to the Volleyball stuff. I still got DoA4 when it released though. I remember being particularly impressed by the cloth physics they had in Kokoro’s Kimono in the openings and everything and being fairly bit miffed when it turned out that that costume’s not a playable one.

    Feel like the whole franchise has gone downhill since the Dreamcast/Xbox peak, but I think you could argue the same thing about any and all 3D fighting franchises. Virtua Fighter might as well not exist any more, Tekken’s never fully recaptured the feel of 2 & 3, Soul Calibur’s gotten worse with every installment culminating in them deciding to blow away the entire cast and start over and lose most of their fanbase as a result – there’s also an odd inverse relationship between Sophitia’s boob size and the game’s quality, oddly enough. They’ve gotten bigger and bigger as the series went on.

    DoA still plays fairly well but it’s pretty hard to say you enjoy it for the gameplay any more. It’s become a bit like claiming you read Playboy for the articles. I think it’s too late for it. Especially now that the game has such a ridiculous amount of DLC and they’re selling the whole game piecemeal. ‘Sexy’ DLC is a much easier sell.

  • I don’t mind it flaunting sexuality but that means half the game should be male strippers who rub up in oil during winning animations with a tackle that visibly flops around under their pants during spin kicks… which sounds awesome but besides the point. Point is, I quite like Dead or Alive, I don’t remember a bad experience with it and I always remember playing that one demo over and over again.

    Another point though, I can’t remember the last time I was interested in it. I never threw my arms up in outrage over a bunch of space boobs but I think subconsciously I “grew” out of the game. I specifically remember thinking “I should get more into Street Fighter” which is likely just because it seemed more respectable to me. Maybe that’s why DOA struggles to find relevance nowadays, boobs are everywhere and they’re less sexualised today. I’m not sure those against normal boobs’ (lol, this is a thing) fandom even reaches that far. I mean, when I got to like, 12 probably, I thought it was dumb and if we adjust maturity for inflation that’s likely about 16 today but I can’t see that translating to later in life. It’s almost as if they’re limiting their fanbase who will undoubtedly move on to other games that don’t make a big deal of boobs.

    • On flaunting sexuality and equal treatment, it really depends how you frame the argument. If bouncing boobs are done for physics accuracy reasons, then sure, flopping dicks and balls is a natural equivalent. But if it’s done for sex appeal reasons, direct analogues don’t really apply.

      I’m all for equal treatment, and I’d be interested to see what they come up with if they researched what women (or gay men) find sexually appealing in men on average and incorporated that into the game. Not because games with sex appeal for women don’t exist, but because it’s rare to have both types of sex appeal in the same game at the same time and I’m curious how they’d accomplish it.

      • Ermmm.. I’m fairly sure there are a few fans of Ein/Hayate, Hayabusa and Jann Lee out there. Heck I’m pretty sure the new guy Rig is also considered quite the looker from female fans as well =P

        Sure the ladies outnumber the men in the game but you can’t say KT haven’t tried to make the men look any less appealing either… specially some of the shirtless costumes those guys get =P

        • Honestly, I haven’t played the DOA franchise in a long time, I’m not sure what the current state of things are. These types of games tend to end up with male power fantasy men and male sexual fantasy women, but I haven’t looked to see if that’s the case here.

          • If by male power fantasy men you are referring to the standard Stallone/beef cake then there are a few characters in there that fit the description. But there are also well toned and built characters like the one’s I mentioned who are proportion wise slightly exaggerated (ie. washboard abs and cut biceps) to emphasise the “ideal” male body w/o being beef cake and still look like “eye candy” for the ladies.

    • Dude we all know why most people switched to Street Fighter – it has Hadoukens!

      As good as the gameplay, as sexy as the boobies, DoA is the Bruce Lee movie when most people are watching Dragonball.

      *Edit* Sorry for replying. Didn’t notice this article was necroed.

  • Ah thank you, finally. I actually stopped playing DOA somewhere between the second DOAX and SF4 coming out. I loved the fighting in the game and I quite liked the character back stories and stuff but it was just too embarrassing playing that game.

    During a ‘fight night’ at one of our houses, we’d go through SF, Tekken and maybe even Blaz Blue if I got the whiners to shut up enough but no one would ever wanted to have what was effectively the porno of the fighting game world on :/

    • Blazblue has a character openly referred to as ‘booby-lady’.

      *Edit* Sorry for replying. Didn’t notice this article was necroed.

      • …by a ditzy airhead that gives EVERYONE dumb nicknames because she’s too vacant to remember their real ones. It’s excusable.

  • Let’s not kid ourselves, Dead or Alive has always been about the breasts.

    Gameplay wise it’s always been a poor man’s Virtua Fighter and it’s probably going to stay that way, although it is more or less on par with Tekken.

    • If I were to guess, it was the mid-2000s when it stopped masquerading as a fighting series and doubled down on the tits. I haven’t played these games in years but watched the Giant Bomb QL for the new one yesterday. Boy, I want to have a shower after seeing Jeff just scroll down the available DLC (bathroom and bedroom costume pack, shudder).

    • Actually as someone who’s played Tekken and DoA during it’s early days if anything I would say its technically Tekken that’s caught up to DoA =P

      Fan service aside DoA played much more fluidly and faster. Tekken was basically a blockier and slower KI (IMHO) when it first came out. Movement just felt so stiff and whilst it’s the same “remember a chain string” style of gameplay it never came out as fast and looked a bit more awkward.

  • I enjoy DoA for what it is – good fighting game that’s not afraid to have fanservice either. Whether fan service is your cup of tea or not is obviously up to the individuals preference.

    It’s a fairly fast paced fighter and I was hooked during it’s early days because it was the only game that *felt* as fluid/fast as 2d fighters where at the time. It hits that perfect balance of simple to learn but quite complex to master if you get into the nitty gritty of the system.

    I think fanservice and cheesecake will forever be attached to this series but personally I don’t care. I enjoy it as a fighter and as eye candy. I don’t really see whats wrong w/ having eye-candy on a game that actually works great on a technical level *shrugs*

  • Implement a David-Bowie-in-Labyrinth-style “junk-jiggle” in these games. Then you have a REAL party.

  • Fighting, schmiting. When do we get a next-gen version of Xtreme Beach Volleyball?

    I’m serious.

    C’mon Temco.

  • Great article, good on you for calling them out. I totally agree, having started playing DOA from the original XBOX and finding a really satisfying and awesome beat em up, it really is a totally unnecessary function to be so focused on the T and A. Feel free to call me a prude or whatever, but if the gameplay isn’t improving and there isn’t a good variety of characters/movesets, then all of the breast physics in the world isn’t going to make the game better.

    Please take note for DOA 6 Tecmo! =P

    • Nothing is likely to change for this series. Variety and swathes of gameplay changes aren’t going to happen in such a basic series.

      Other fighting games get the benefit of being ridiculous enough to be pliable, but DoA is just a sexed-up martial-arts simulator. Think about it, when was the last time Virtua Fighter or any WWE Wrestling or MMA game blew everyone’s socks off with their vast improvements to gameplay or variety? (a long time ago)

      *Edit* Sorry for replying. Didn’t notice this article was necroed.

  • I’m a huge DOA fan. I’ve always found the fighting mechanics to be the best part of the game. Once you learn how to use one character, you can use all the characters, although mastering a few will add real flair to your game. Fighting forces you to learn and adapt, especially in multiplayer with a good opponent. Counters, linking throws, great striking combos mixing high, medium and low attacks, DOA is easy to pick up and looks and feels amazing to play.

    I hate how all of this has been overshadowed by bouncing breasts. Don’t get me wrong. I admire the female form just as much as the next sexist pig. However all the enjoyment DOA has given me has nothing to do with this.

  • I can only imagine the demand for more fanservice comes from the land of the rising sun. Because it sure as hell isn’t coming from any of the places I frequent. If anything, there are angry campaigns to stop with the smexy outfits altogether.

    Dead or Alive is one of those games where you can clearly see the dividing lines between western and Japanese gaming cultures, especially when it comes to fanservice. In the west, I feel that it’s all but become taboo to explore it. The moment anyone defies this, we’re quick to launch into essay long debates over political correctness/gender equality/social justice/etc. In Japan, I’ve noticed that fanservice is not only not looked down upon, it’s demanded to an extent.

    I guess that’s why I enjoy a few japanese titles like DOA and the like. Because they provide a simpler, more colourful form of video game entertainment that isn’t afraid to get a bit provocative with the human form.

    I fear the day the Japanese community start thinking like us……

    • Because it sure as hell isn’t coming from any of the places I frequent.

      To be fair, who is going to say it out loud? I also don’t hang around with people who openly go “Yeah man! This is what I’m here for!” when a sexy scene appears in a movie or in a game. I think that most people who like it just quietly enjoy the titillation. Is it a poor reflection on our treatment of sexual expression and needs to fit in? Maybe. I dunno.

      In Japan, I’ve noticed that fanservice is not only not looked down upon, it’s demanded to an extent.

      It’s definitely looked down upon. I mean, the people are, if not the fanservice itself. The otakus who enjoy these things are often shunned for their strangeness or immaturity. It’s all a presentation of course; they just don’t want to seen as associated with dishonourable things. What’s not looked down on is the business sense of catering to the desires of their audiences over extraneous ‘messages’.

      *Edit* Sorry for replying. Didn’t notice this article was necroed.

  • I first got into the series from DoA 2 Ultimate for the XBOX. It wasn’t even mine, a friend owned it. I still remember how amazed I was at the intro- they used AEROSMITH! And one of my favorite songs, to boot! (Dream On, for those not in the know). Then I asked him to play a couple of rounds, and HOLY SHIT! Destroyable environments? Multi-tiered stages? It was such a far cry from the local arcade’s Tekken (Tag Tournament 2, if memory serves) that I was ecstatic. Not owning a console at the time, the game remained somewhere in the back of my mind as “that awesome fighter I never hear people talk about”. In retrospect, I should probably have picked up on one or two weird looks I got for bringing it up. Fast forward to a few years later and I hear DoA 5 gets ported for the Vita. Finally! A day one purchase. And then, I actually started playing…and looking up forums of the game…
    Suffice it to say, this article expresses my feelings perfectly.

    • It’s Christmas time so there isn’t much news worthy gaming stuff going on. By reposting older articles they fill in the gap and create an opportunity to give the staff a break.
      I sort of like it because they’re consistently posting large, unrelated articles on topics like this instead of tons of smaller updates on whatever drama or new release is currently sweeping the gaming community.

  • I don’t think you can ever bring DoA back from where it’s gone. In the process of flaunting it’s ability to show a large breast and have it bounce it alienated anyone who would give the great fighting game a chance. Simply having the DoA name and roster is enough to turn people off the game no matter how good it is. Almost like how Tomb Raider struggles to convince gamers who grew up associating Tomb Raider with innuendo based advertising that it’s worth playing, even though it’s a brilliant game.
    Honestly I think such a move would kill the series. Most of the player base falls into the pro-boob camp because it’s pushed the rest away over the years. They’re not all as extreme as the most vocal supporters but I’d wager even the ones who don’t play for the boobs would get pissed off because the change would feel like a response to outside pressure. The devs would be seen as caving to PC thugs sticking their noses where it doesn’t belong (the same way Mike attributes the switch back to a vocal minority throwing a tantrum).
    I really think they’d struggle to replace the sales normally generated by those players. They’d have to sink a fortune into advertising the fighter side and make a bunch of ‘no seriously, we’ve changed’ announcements, at which point they might as well just make a new franchise based on the same engine concepts that doesn’t carry any of the baggage.
    From what I understand the people who enjoy it as a fighter wouldn’t shed any tears at the loss of the DoA lore.

    • Most of the player base falls into the pro-boob camp because it’s pushed the rest away over the years.

      What pushed people away over the years was it’s relative boringness to other fighters (see Virtua Fighter) and the fact that the gameplay really punishes new players with its tricky counter system. There’s also no way it was going to gain much traction in esports as 8-way fighters are niche even there and only Tekken holds a steady crowd. Also doesn’t help in the slightest that before DoA 5 we had 3 games exclusive to the Xbox and the fighting game audience just isn’t there.

    • *cough*
      You realise KT actually does push a fair amount of stuff to keep the fighting community semi active at least right?

      They’ve been holding yearly DoA Festivals since DoA5 came out. Sure it’s just an excuse to advertise coming stuff for DoA and DoAX and whatnot as well as throw in some promotions for other games but heck at least they’re organising yearly tournaments + prizes.

  • Unlike others, I changed from playing on a Windows ME PC to an Xbox console around the turn of the century. The games such as Halo: Combat Evolved, Project Gotham Racing and Dead or Alive 3 made me realize that these games were the new benchmark.

    The particular visual element mentioned in the article in question was not a deciding factor. The three Xbox games I have mentioned were fun. Fun to play. Fun to play through on Legendary difficulty, fun to unlock cars and overall, just fun to play through as a whole.

    Dead or Alive 3 was a masterpiece. Easy on the eyes, fun to play and like XboxWorld quoted way back on the cover art in 2003, on the re-issued Classic version of Dead or Alive 3:

    8.1 – This is the new benchmark

  • Your opinion. Plenty of room for games that focus on different things, as many people have mentioned DoA has always had good mechanics and certainly there wouldn’t be as many games if it didn’t, how they choose to present their characters is up to them, no one is forcing you to play it. Also sick of all this PC nonsense. If I want T&A in my games then I’ll damn well buy a game with T&A.

  • Fuck those people. I bet there were at least five people quietly enjoying the changes made for every one who sent in an angry email demanding breasts be embiggened.

    I doubt it incredibly. Sure there would have been few people bothering to write an angry email, but there’s wouldn’t nearly have been many people in the DoA audience actually preferring a less sexy game. That’s including the fact that a lot of people wouldn’t mention their preference either way – people liking big boobs is secret to everyone.

    *Edit* Sorry for replying. Didn’t notice this article was necroed.

    • LOL… i know the feeling I saw the topic and realised… waitaminit fairly sure I posted on this one years back =P

  • The Dead or Alive games are great games, you just have to look passed the breasts, which is very difficult ’cause they’re very large.

  • Oh no! A game appeals to men’s hormones! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!
    Nice reminder of how anti-gamer and anti-sexuality Kotaku has become in the last 2 years.

    • I dunno, I don’t think the article really does say “ZOMG DOA BAD COZ BEWBZ”. Breasts are good. I happen to like breasts.

      I think the issue is that it can be hard for people to take DOA seriously because “whoa, look at how her boobs jiggle” is the reputation it has, and Team Ninja kinda don’t do themselves any favours at times with their marketing to actually focus on the fact that it’s a pretty damn fun fighting game… at least when they’re not completely trying to screw over PC games with the goddamn debacle that is Last Round.

      I enjoy DOA – I think it’s got some really fun mechanics, and damn, it just looks good. I think the main thrust of the point is that Tecmo need to focus on selling DOA as more than just “boob jiggling simulator with fighting” and actually go “yeah, we’ve got boobs and pretty women and buff attractive guys… but that’s just the sugar coating on what’s a damn good fighting game.”

      It’s somewhat a victim of it’s own pigeon-holing that began with “she kicks high” – it’s difficult to attract new players because it’s sold as fan-service first and a fighter second.

    • But if the focus on sexuality actively hurts the game, it’s an issue worth discussing right? It’s hardly anti-sexuality from a guy who links his breast mouse pad and questionable transformers toy in the same article.

    • Lol… did you read the article at all?

      It’s actually one of the damn few articles back in the day that wasn’t anti-bewbz! well not as insanely blatant as these days anyway =P

  • This may be skipping straight past the point of the article, but would it be too much to ask for a party-sports game as good as Extreme Beach Volleyball to come out for current consoles? It was the last of the 10-year run of great party-sports titles that went from Windjammers to NFL Blitz and there hasn’t been a decent one since.

  • I think someone mentioned before about the biggest mistake that the game made. They skipped teh Sony consoles for too long. Fighters will almost always have a home base in Japan, and Japan will always favour Sony. Having DOA3, DOA4 and the beach volleyball 1 and 2 as XBOX exclusives and not available on the Playstations was always going to be a bad commercial strategy. I guess that they just made a quick decision when MS was launching the XBOX and signed up for releasing MS exclusives, but their core market was (and still is) always on Sony/Sega.

  • I have to wonder. Are the “complainers” really such a small percentage of the playerbase as Fahey thinks? Big companies are not led (usually) by indecisive, highly emotional babies. If they decided to change course back to overplaying breasts in the latest entry after all the feedback, it had to be because they realised that the possible amount of lost sales would be non-insignificant.

    Anyway, the really sad thing is that eventually they’ll realise that they really don’t need to work that hard on the fighting aspect of the game. As long as it is passable, a DoA ame would probably still do well as long as they can promote a newer cosmetic feature such as “realistic nipple-through-fabric textures!”

    • Except it’s still a decent fighting system over all though…

      I’m not a pure expert on the nitty gritty of the system outside of the countering + stun locking + juggling basics but it’s fairly on par from a beginners perspective on the juggling stuff on Tekken as well.

      There’s just as much nuances to the system now as with any fighting game if you’re willing to dig deep enough.

      And as I mentioned to someone else earlier if KT wasn’t that keen in promoting DoA as a fighting game they wouldn’t have been holding their yearly DoA “I am a Fighter” festivals since DoA 5 came out… sure your not gonna get the same press coverage as the bigger events like Capcom Cup and EVO but at least KT is willing to fork out their own cash to promote the series as a fighting game

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