The backstory for the Dead or Alive Xtreme video games almost sounds like a parody. No matter how many attack reversals, tag-team combos, or multi-tiered arenas publisher Koei Tecmo crams into the long-running Dead or Alive fighting series, the first thing gamers everywhere associate with it is the massive chests of its female characters.
“In that case, why not ditch all the fighting elements and shift even more focus to the bouncing breasts?” seems to have been the logic behind making Dead or Alive Xtreme Volleyball, the 2003 title that jettisoned male players from the playable cast and plunked the series’ female martial artists on the sand for a mix of sports, mini-games, and bikini dress-up.
But if that all sounds like a joke, the development team team has been laughing all the way to the bank. After strong sales of the original spinoff, Dead or Alive Xtreme got a full-fledged sequel in 2006 and a scaled-down portable version, Dead or Alive Paradise, in 2010.
Koei Tecmo is set to go back to this soft, supple well again with Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, a multi-platform release for both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. While the game isn’t quite finished yet, Koei Tecmo has been releasing a steady stream of updates showing off the game’s visuals and gameplay.
▼ The hula hoop simulator proves Dead or Alive Xtreme isn’t a one-trick pony by throwing gamers a curve and focusing on the butt (!) instead of the boobs.
Fans in Japan are eagerly anticipating the game’s February 25 release date, when the summery graphics should make the fantasies it’s offering doubly appealing. Gamers in the U.S. and Europe, though, will be left out in the cold, according to this statement made by the developers in response to a Facebook query about Dead or Alive Xtreme 3:
“We do not bring DOAX3 to the west and won’t have any plan change in the future. Thank you for asking.”
“Do you know many issues happening in video game industry with regard to how to treat female in video game industry? We do not want to talk those things here. But certainly we have gone through in last year or two to come to our decision. Thank you.”
The “issues” being referred to are no doubt increased sensitivity in the west regarding how female characters are portrayed in works of fiction, video games included. So while all three prior Dead or Alive Xtreme games were released in North America and Europe, it looks like the third numbered installment is staying exclusive to Japan.
But while Koei Tecmo’s decision of where to release the game is being affected by overseas attitudes, those sensibilities don’t seem to have influenced what content is actually being put into the game itself. The Japanese version of Dead or Alive 3 (which is now the only version) seems to be operating under the nonchalant acceptance in Japanese society that, yeah, most guys enjoy looking at slim, busty women in bikinis.
▼ It’s also still full-steam ahead on the Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 Facebook page, accessible from anywhere in the world.
In any case, Koei Tecmo’s decision not to publish Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 in western territories isn’t going to prevent anyone who really wants to lay the game from doing so. Japanese PlayStation 4 software is compatible with consoles sold in North America and Europe, and it’s not like the game’s deep gameplay or rich story require strong proficiency in the Japanese language.
Granted, specially importing the game means western fans will have to pay a few extra bucks, just a few mainly 10% commision and shipping, but with the low yen that really shouldn’t be an issue. Given how very specific Dead or Alive Xtreme’s niche is, price-based demand for the game is far, far less elastic than its stars’ chests.