There’s a Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 controversy happening these days. The game developer Team Ninja from the company Tecmo has said it has no plans to bring Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 to North America because the industry is going through a change in how it includes female characters in games.
Some Japanese game developers have always used sex and girls to promote their games, but now they are finding that the environment in North America has changed and won’t be too accepting of what is considered okay in Japan.
I don’t think there really is a big need for this Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 controversy. There is nothing outstanding about the series. It’s basically the girls from the fighting series in swimsuits doing random activities plus beach volleyball.
I’ve only played the first game on the original XBox, so I can’t comment on the second or third one. However, I have noticed the change in direction and focus for the game developer Team Ninja since I came to Japan. WARNING: Suggestive content! Not safe for work.
The Dead or Alive franchise’s direction has changed in Japan
Tecmo’s main (the fighting game) Dead or Alive series usually featured sexy looking characters, but often had a decent fighting system, so it was considered a bonus. In recent years, the Dead or Alive series has been more about the cute characters and costumes than about the fighting game itself.
It’s almost as if the Dead or Alive Xtreme beach volleyball game has slowly crept into the fighting series. Tecmo is not stupid. They know that the main fans of the series (in Japan) want to see scantily clad girls running around dressed in school girl uniforms and school girl bloomers. With the rise in DLC, it’s obvious what kind of customers the company is after. This is why you’re starting to have the Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 controversy.
Comparing box covers for the latest fighting game
These covers are for the latest fighting Dead or Alive games, in particular Dead or Alive 5 that was re-released for the PS4 after being on PS3.
North American Cover
Ok, so the game looks dark and moody. Typical way to market to North America. It’s a fighting game, not much you can do here.
Hmm, ok. There seems be an emphasis on this new character the developers introduced. I don’t know about you, but she looks really young. I’m willing to bet in her character description that she’s stated to be 18 even though she looks like a grade schooler.
Be right back, I’m going to go check.
Ok, I just checked a wiki and her age is written as 18. Aha!
This new character Marie Rose is for those fans that into Lolicon. I’m willing to bet that characters like these are part of the reason that Tecmo didn’t even want to deal with distributing Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 outside of Asia. The Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 controversy could also be because of this.
Cute in North America is not the same cute in Japan
Now you’ll notice more emphasis on the “cute” characters that look like they are minors with adult bodies. You’ll see lots of DLC for erotic costumes or costumes that resemble young Japanese girl idols.
Some parts of otaku culture in Japan revolve around anime/manga/games that feature “cute” characters that are very young. One way Japanese companies tried to patch this issue when selling in the North American market is by increasing the character’s age in manuals and descriptions. If you check character descriptions in games or certain anime, the age of the characters are usually bumped up two or three years for the North American market.
The way you sell girls or female characters to otaku in Japan is to make the girls look young and weak, but sexy. In general the way to get otaku fans to buy your stuff is to create a fantasy for them. That’s why Japanese idols are not allowed to have boyfriends.
If they are seen with another person romantically, it ruins the “fantasy” that their fans have. Even though 99.9% of the fans of idols have no chance of ending up being in a relationship with their idol, you have to make it seem like it could happen. That’s why you make fantasies.
And now for The Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 controversy
Anyway, let’s take a look at how the latest Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 game is being promoted on the official website. I’ll briefly translate the different points the site points out about the game.
First, the game developers want you to know about the “Yawaraka” or “Soft” engine that they’ve made. It’s a system of shaders that make the skin look more real and soft.
The second feature that is selling this game is their new realistic boob physics. They’re supposed to move naturally and can even become dirty from playing in the sand, etc.
Butts and Thighs! It says even the butts look soft in this game. If a character moves or does something, the thighs and butt move too.
Sunburns! You can see the female characters in this game with tan lines, depending on how you change up the outfits they wear.
Swim suits tend to sag or fall down a bit after the female characters do a lot of movement.
Wetness. When getting in a pool, taking a shower, or sweating, you can see the wetness on the skin. There’s never been a game that pays this much attention to wetness until now.
Ok, so now maybe you can see how Tecmo is advertising this game in Japan. It’s geared towards the otaku crowd that want a sexy experience when they play an interactive game. It’s no different than the people that buy erotic visual novel games or dating simulations that are also popular in Japan.
The problem for Tecmo is can you still sell this game in the North American market where there have been lots of outrage at female portrayals in games? That’s maybe something the company didn’t want to find out and decided to not release this game there.
What I think about the Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 controversy
I’m never a fan of game censorship or preventing a game from being released in a region. However, I can understand why Tecmo decided not to release it in North America. It’s their right and they don’t want to rock the boat at this point.
There are other factors to this such as low sales of the Xtreme franchise outside of Asia and Tecmo merged with another company, Koei in 2010. It’s possible that the new management of the company didn’t want to risk releasing this kind of game where the former people in charge at Tecmo would not have had an issue. Who knows!
I think the game should be released digitally so those that want to buy it can do so. That way you don’t risk causing a lot of problems by releasing the game in retail stores which might cause more uproar if someone decides to take issue with the game being sold in stores.
As of now, the only way to get the game if you live in North America is to buy the Asian release which does include English subtitles. You’ll pay a higher price, though. Heck, this might work out for Tecmo in the end if their fans outside of Asia import it at a higher price.
Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 (PS4) can be purchased at Play-Asia if anyone is interested.
What do you think?
What are your thoughts about Tecmo not releasing the game in North America? Do you think all the news is worth the Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 controversy? Let me know in the comments!