A disaster half-year marketing campaign filled with contradictions, disappointments, and lots of exclamations of “misunderstandings” left Dead or Alive 6 nearly dead in the water when it finally released on March 1st, 2019 for home consoles and PC. The game was met with rather shallow sales and mixed review scores due to the $92 season pass, grind-heavy unlock system, and lackluster story mode. Well, many people predicted that Shimbori, the director and producer of the game, would likely end up losing his job over the rocky promotional campaign and launch of the game. Those predictions were only half right.
Twinfinite picked up a lengthy interview that Dengeki Online had with Yohei Shimbori, who explained that being a director and producer for Dead or Alive 6 was a lot harder than he thought, and so he’s entrusted the director position to someone else at Team Ninja while he’s resigned himself to only being the producer for the game. Shimbori stated…
“[…] Like the story I just explained [Editor’s note: referring to the hardships of being a producer and director, and the overwhelming amount of work involved with trying to handle both jobs], following the release of [Dead or Alive 6] the director position has been entrusted and left to a staff member who is up to the task. I’m now only the producer [for Dead or Alive 6].
This makes it a lot easier to gather user opinions, as well as improving our ability to impart attention into scrutinizing or inspecting portions or parts of the game that we hadn’t noticed before.
“Again, the development staff and marketing staff, along with the director and myself, are encouraged to talk and communicate more as an ongoing effort. This is the current challenge that we’re undertaking to improve and make DOA6 as excellent as it can be.”
The interview covers a wide range of topics, from the late implementation of the online lobby system, which recently went live on April 11th, 2019, as reported by Eventhubs.com.
The interview also covers the controversy over having to grind forever to unlock costume pieces, and Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja eventually updating the game to make the grind more reasonable. And, of course, Shimbori also acknowledges that additional season passes are on the way.
This still doesn’t detract from the fact that as the front man for Dead or Alive 6 I can only say that he did a terrible job marketing the game.
Nearly every other week there was an article about the game being “toned down”, or how they had to “reduce the boob sizes” or how they couldn’t add proper “clothing damage”, or how sexualization and fan-service was no longer acceptable due to “world trends“, or how they had to remove OMG Mode because it was “too exaggerated“, or how they had to ditch the technologically superior Soft Engine 2.0 because it was “too cartoony“.
It was a never-ending cascade of promotional disappointment.
It wasn’t until the twelfth hour was Shimbori told by Koei Tecmo’s hire-ups to focus on the fan-service did he tell the SJW games media to screw off and finally focus on delivering what made the series famous in the first place. But it was too late by that point, the damage had been done.
The game was basically being propped up as a lesser version of Dead or Alive 5: Last Round, which left a lot of people asking, “What’s the point?”
And they were absolutely right.
Why bother paying $60 on day-one when the game had taken so many huge steps backward from Dead or Alive 5: Last Round? Typically sequential entries upgrade and improve everything over the last game, not remove or reduce.
But at this point, Dead or Alive 6 is basically in life-support mode. It’s being trounced in the charts by the region-locked release of Dead or Alive Xtreme Venus Vacation on Steam (which funnily enough is running on the Soft Engine 2.0). And that’s not to mention that the user reviews for DOA 6 are currently “mixed”.
Maybe if they get back to focusing on providing the true fans with some fan-service outfits, some new modes, and improved features, they might be able to recover from the absolute fumble that was the game’s marketing campaign leading up to its release.
(Thanks for the news tip Richard Pell)