Dead or Alive 6 Interview: Director Talks Fanservice, Accessibility, DLC, and Much More
Dead or Alive 6’s release on March 1 is approaching fast, and the good folks at Team Ninja are working hard to polish the game.
In order to dig up more information on what fans can expect, Twinfinite talked with Dead or Alive 6 director and producer Yohei Shimbori during a press event in London.
Giuseppe of Twinfinite: The story mode feels quite extensive. Do you have any idea of how long it’ll take to finish it?
Yohei Shimbori director/producer of Dead or Alive 6: I roughly need two hours to do everything, but I know everything by heart and I’m proficient at the game. It depends a lot on your ability. A real pro will probably be able to finish it in two hours of play time. Beginners will, of course, take longer.
G: Dead or Alive is well know for extensive DLC support. Do you already have plans for any after release, like new characters or costumes?
YS: There are some already being worked on, but not everything is set in stone. It’s not like we have a two-year plan or anything like that. I can’t really say what’s going to happen in the long run. There will be more announcements down the line with further details.
G: Do you think you’re going to focus more on Dead or Alive characters that did not make it for release, or guest characters?
YS: The plan for that is not finalized yet, and if we want to release guest characters, of course, we need another party to agree to it. It also depends on the partnerships that we can make.
If a lot of people like the game and other companies want their characters as guests in DOA6, there might be more guest characters. On the other hand, if the fans demand it, there could be more DOA characters. It’s hard to tell for now.
G: Personally, have you ever thought to add guest characters from games that aren’t fighting series?
YS: Of course I did. Not only I don’t just think about characters from fighting games, but I also go beyond games in general. I always think about other places we could get cool guest characters from, but that’s all in my head for now.
G: Can Momiji fans hope to see her appear as DLC?
YS: I’m very aware that the fans are requesting Momiji as DLC, so I’m thinking about making a personal effort to include her. I can’t make promises, but I think if Dead or Alive 6 is successful there might be a good chance to bring her back.
G: When you finish a match you can change the camera angle, but are you considering an actual full-fledged photo mode?
YS: Not for now. At the moment it’s not planned, but that might change in the future. Our main mission is to create a cool fighting game and photo mode isn’t part of the specs at the moment.
G: Fighting games tend to have fluctuating communities, and cross-platform gameplay could mitigate this issue. Are you thinking about implementing it now that Sony opened to it?
YS: Actually having cross-platform gameplay has been one of my long-term dreams. I am aware that games like Fortnite and Rocket League finally made the first step.
Yet, from my experience, there might be voices in the Dead or Alive community that don’t like it that much. In DOA5, there was a cross-play feature between PS Vita and PS3, and there were some voices among PS3 players who did not want to play with PS Vita players.
G: Was it a matter of performance and frame rate?
YS: It is a matter of performance. When a low-spec PC gets into the game there might be a loss of frames. In fighting games when you get to a high level, every frame counts.
People don’t like losing even a single frame. With online gaming, there are already issues at times, and cross-platform can make it even more difficult.
This is one issue. There are more hurdles that we have to overcome. When these are figured out, we’ll definitely want to take a look.
G: Are there going to be any differences in content between PS4, Xbox One, and PC?
YS: I guess that you’re talking about character design. We made a lot of efforts from the beginning to create content that is enjoyable but is also publishable on all platforms. Therefore, there will be no differences between the platforms.
G: So the costumes are going to be the same as well?
G: What about the jiggle physics?
YS: The physics engine is the same on all platforms. The only difference is in the exclusive costumes that have already been announced. Otherwise, presentation, physics, costumes, and content are going to be the same.
G: I’m asking because an interview on a Taiwanese website seemed to imply some differences.
YS: Please tell everyone that there was a misunderstanding or mistranslation. I was misquoted on that one.
G: Since we’re talking about that interview, would you like to clarify the other quote about the costume break featured being toned down in consideration of the female audience?
YS: I never said that. The first thing I’d like to clarify is that there’s nothing that has been done specifically for the female players.
The female players I know would rather use sexy female characters in the game. That some changes were made in consideration of the female players is completely untrue.
There were also mentions of censorship from Sony. I’d like to stress that there is no difference in content between platforms. Rumors about censorship for Sony’s console are untrue.
You know the franchise and you know me, so you probably knew that wasn’t true, but a lot of people just read it on social media and believe it. It would be great if you could correct it.
That being said, the damage on clothes has become less prominent. If we implement extensive clothes damage to the point that characters are almost left nude, it’s hard to sell the game in certain territories. [Dead or Alive] Xtreme 3 is a good example because we couldn’t sell it in Europe and North America.
G: Well, you could have if you wanted to…
YS: Individual retailers can refuse to carry the game. It’s really a big issue sales-wise. We started small, but there are options to adjust it [the costume break feature]. For now, we’re sticking to the minimum to be able to sell the game.
G: Do you mean that it could be adjusted to make it more prominent after release?
YS: Probably yes.
That being said, Dead or Alive is not an ecchi game. We want to make a great game, and within that, you may also enjoy not just the combat, but also some sexiness.
G: I did notice that there are quite a few very revealing costumes.
YS: Of course. I’d like the fan to enjoy that, but please don’t talk too loudly about it. The more attention this draws, the less I can do it. If you really want to have nice costumes, please quietly enjoy them so we can keep making them.
G: I’m sure you play other fighting games. Have you played SoulCalibur VI?
YS: I have.
G: They went pretty far with the fanservice, and they seem not to have any problems…
YS: The reason why they can get away it is one one of the big mysteries of the world. SoulCalibur can do it and doesn’t get a beating over it, but even when Dead or Alive doesn’t do it, it still gets criticized.
If anyone can tell me why this happens, and how to fix it, please introduce them to me [laughs].
Again, if people talk too much about it, others will come in and bash it. So just enjoy it and please trust me. I’ll make a nice game that the fans will be happy about.
G: Why did you decide to add the DOA Quest mode, and what kind of experience will it offer?
YS: The main objective is to gradually teach players to play the game better. DOA5 had an extensive tutorial, but it felt like a wall. There was so much to learn and that’s more likely to scare people than to encourage them. It fel a bit like homework.
The quest mode encourages you to keep playing and enjoying the game while learning new techniques. I got the idea from my own kids. Of course, there are still tutorials if you need them.
G: Do you think that Dead or Alive 6 is more accessible than previous entries in the series for beginners?
YS: I don’t think it’a game for beginners, but it’s much more accessible for beginners to get into the game.
G: What are your ambitions in terms of years of support for the game?
YS: My ambition is to make this the number one fighting game in the world. For the sake of this vision, I’d like to support the game as long as it takes to make it the number one.
Keep in mind that interviews like this are conducted with a Japanese developer and an interpreter who does his best to convey his thoughts in English. If some expressions sound weird or a little harsh, it’s an effect of translating a vague and restrained language like Japanese into an explicit and direct one like English.
Dead or Alive 6 has recently been slightly delayed and is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC on March 1.
If you want to read more about the game, you can check out my hands-on preview.