Monday, 1 October 2012

Team Ninja - Fans Said Bring on Bigger Breasts

I headdesk'd so hard I think I might have destroyed an old growth forest by accident.

I may not have Dead or Alive 5 yet (hopefully later this week), but what I've seen and heard so far from both reviews and friends who have played the game sounds promising. Of course, it seems that with the good must come the bad, and some recent words spoken by Team Ninja director Yohei Shimbori definitely qualify as the latter, at least in my eyes.

In a small interview with Gamasutra, Shimbori related the following:

"We were getting feedback from the overseas offices to tone down the sexuality -- to tone down the sexiness of the game, and of the characters," he remembers. But once feedback from fans playing the demo that was included with Ninja Gaiden 3 came in, those plans changed.

"We actually got a lot of feedback from people who were playing it, saying, 'We want bigger breasts. Make the characters more like that.' That was kind of surprising."

Now, I'm not going to stand here and proselytize against fanservice in games, especially not in this game series of all the ones under the stars. It would be a base lie to say that the Dead or Alive franchise hasn't used fanservice as one of the draws of the series over the years, even branching out into the volleyball/dating-sim-esque Xtreme Beach Volleyball series where that was, arguably, the only damn point. Still, I wouldn't say that the girls of Dead or Alive have really been anywhere near desexualized now that 5 has hit the shelves.

I've commented before that I was in turn excited and disappointed by some of Team Ninja's past announcements, first that they were planning on dialing back the fanservice a little, then that they'd be putting in those bunny swimsuits and regular swimsuits as well for costumes. I was saddened, but at the same time not shocked. I feel much the same way about this.

Dead or Alive has never been regarded as one of the high class fighters, but from what I've read (I'll reserve complete judgment until I've actually played it for myself) they seem to be trying to change that. Now, this doesn't mean that all of a sudden every female character has become a stuffy librarian with less than an A-Cup, if you really doubt that the fanservice still exists then I welcome you to go look at some screenshots of the game, as well as some of the costumes. That being said, I do think they toned it down. But now to have these fans saying "we want boobies" could set a disastrous precedent which would allow Team Ninja to go back to the same old same old.

I can understand Team Ninja's concerns and the want to appeal to their fans. The backlash against Ninja Gaiden 3 was more than slight, and a great deal of it seemed to focus on the series stepping away from its roots. At the same time though, the concerns for that game were far greater than "show moar skin!", and I hope that in connections haven't been made that people won't buy Dead or Alive games without ridiculous, pretty much softcore porn levels of fanservice.


  1. The feedback Shimbori is talking about is the stuff he got from the feedback from the Ninja Gaiden 3 demo. So they knew about this early on in DOA5's development.

    Personally I am enjoying DOA5, I have the bunny suits for Hitomi, Kasumi and Leifang as well as the CE suits for all 12 females(including Sarah Bryant and Pai). Now of course DOA5 is not the only 3D fighter with fanservice. VF5FS has bikinis for all the females, TTT2 has 3 swimsuits for all characters male and female. SC5 of course has a ton of sexy outfits to change the SC girls into.

    I think DOA5 is heading in a great direction. It plays a lot more like DOA2 and 3 then it does 4. Which is a big plus to fans of the series as DOA4 was mainly hated for it's randomness and never having a move that made you know 100% that the opponent couldn't counter. DOA5 has fixed both problems with the counter window being a lot smaller and of course critical burst and pushing for juggling.

  2. Somebody brought this up on a site's forum, but for argument's sake I thought I'd take it a step further. The original comment was that the girls should have sliders to affect their bust size, in the same way that other games in the series could affect, "physics" by changing the age in the options.

    So here's my suggestion: why not add a create-a-fighter mode? Soul Calibur has one now, and it could be the shake-up DOA needs. Just imagine the possibilities -- there'd be sliders not just for bust, but for height, weight, musculature, age, and more. Those that have grown tired of the plastic doll/buxom toddler aesthetic can take the tools and make their own character -- and in doing so, introduce some variability in the body types you see in a DOA game. Those that want more fanservice can have it. Those that don't can axe it entirely. It's a potential fix.

    Potential, but not quick or thorough. I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- I don't have a problem with the DOA ladies' bust sizes. The problem is with the FACES; even now I find them unsettling and wrong, even if they've been dramatically reworked for DOA5. If they fix the faces, maybe people won't be so inclined to stare at the chests so much.

    Guess it all depends on what Team Ninja does next -- and what direction they'll take.


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