In a recent interview with Getmatsu that was published on January 22nd, 2019, Dead or Alive 6 producer and director Yohei Shimbori briefly talked about the fan-service and the spread of the news over the last seven months and addressed his previous statements about the game being “toned down”, saying that people misunderstood what he meant.
In the interview, Gematsu asked Shimbori about what he meant by Dead or Alive 6 being toned down. He responded by saying…
“Actually, when we said ‘toned down’ before, it was actually misunderstood, so we’re hoping to avoid using that phrase from now on. Rather than toning it down, it was more of a change in image. Since the main concept of Dead or Alive 6 is intense fighting entertainment, we decided everything from the user interface to the default costumes of the characters to show each character’s fighting style. For example, Hitomi is a karate user, so she wears karate clothes.
“Rather than saying ‘toned down,’ we wanted to create a cooler and more heroic look to the characters themselves. As you can see with Kasumi, it’s only her default costume that has that [covered up] look. When people first saw this, they thought that the entire game would be toned down, but it’s only the default costume. There are some costumes that are more cutesy looking and some that are sexy. So it’s not toned down, it’s just that we based the game on a desire to create this image of intense fighting entertainment.
“Also, Dead or Alive also has male characters, and another thing we wanted to focus on is that there were some new players that might feel embarrassed about playing the game, which we wanted to avoid, which is why we made the default costumes have a cooler and more heroic look to them.”
The “cooler” and “heroic” look he’s talking about refers to his original Famitsu interview where he told the Japanese outlet that the characters in Dead or Alive 6 were having the sexiness scaled back in order to focus on costumes that looked more akin to Marvel’s comic book characters.
Much like in his interview with Famitsu where he said players found it “embarrassing to play”, he reiterates that to Gematsu.
However, his comments about toning down the game’s sex appeal has been a frequent and constant talking point during the press tours. Just recently the New York Post ran a headline titled “Notoriously sexy video game toned down because of #MeToo”, with the article stating…
“The game’s director and producer, Yohei Shimbori, admitted that the #MeToo movement and other shifts in society since “Dead or Alive 5” was released in 2012 had affected the game’s development.”
People passed this off as “tabloid” news from the New York Post, but this wasn’t the first time that talk about “toning down” has popped up regarding Dead or Alive 6.
In previous interviews with Kotaku, Gamespot, and WCCF Tech, it was mentioned how Team Ninja wasn’t going to be focusing so much on the sexiness aspect of Dead or Alive 6, and that there would be a stronger focus on “fierce fighting entertainment”. In fact, in the WCCF Tech interview Shimbori explicitly said…
“One of the major aims was to tone down the features of the women which caused some trouble in the past. Our aim is to show this as a real fighting game. To do this, we are using a new engine for the game. This has helped the push on the visuals, the engine letting the game look more realistic.”
Shimbori also repeatedly stated that they were scaling back the “sexiness” to match “world trends”. This was mentioned recently in the Gematsu interview, where he attempted to absolve Sony of any sort of involvement with the censorship, toning down, or scaling back of certain features within Dead or Alive 6.
Within the interview Shimbori reiterates to Gematsu what he told DualShockers, stating that Sony had no involvement with the content they were including in the game, and further states that it’s not just Sony but a “worldwide change”, which is similar to what he mentioned to One Angry Gamer regarding being misunderstood about the reduction to the clothing damage in Dead or Alive 6, saying…
“In regards to regulations, it’s not actually just limited to Sony. There has been a worldwide change in views recently. But for this game, we really wanted to focus on the fighting game aspect. The only thing that I regret for Dead or Alive 6 is that since it’s a Japanese game, there are some parts of Japanese culture that recent times have deemed no longer acceptable, so not being able to show that is a bit of a disappointment.”
Many core gamers and fans of the series have pushed back against the idea that there is a “world trend” or “global standard” when it comes to content regulation, since each region has their own regulatory ratings body, and there actually is no universal content standard for entertainment media.
Nevertheless, the censorship policies were rationalized by Sony of Japan’s president Atsushi Morita as being part of a “global trend” as well, and that they were doing it for the sake of the kids.
(Thanks for the news tip Richard Pell)