After years working under other producers, Team NINJA’s Yohei Shimbori is finally at the helm of his own Dead or Alive game. Famitsu recently caught up with Shimbori, who serves as both producer and director of Dead or Alive 6, giving him a chance to talk about the game.
One of the big differences in Dead or Alive 6 from older titles a change in theme: toning down the fan-service while going for a more gritty feel. According to Shimbori, while the previous game had the theme of “fighting entertainment”, the theme for DOA6 is “fierce”. One way they’re trying to express this is with showing the damage on the characters, including the girls — something that he says was “taboo” — on their bodies and faces, and not just on their clothing.
Adding to this is the change in generation and more powerful hardware. Shimbori states that he wanted the characters’ in-game models to look more realistic this time, with better shadows, sweat, wrinkles, etc. As part of this, they have abandoned the “soft engine” that was added to the PS4 and Xbox One ports of Dead or Alive 5: Last Round, instead they’ve created a new system just for DOA6. Of course, all this will work in 4K.
One of the big topics relating to the game’s change of direction is the reduction of fan-service. According to Shimbori, this was in part due to what people were telling him when attended Evo 2017. People mentioned that playing the game felt “embarrassing” at times, and that they wanted him to make something “cooler”.
With this, the main focus on designing the female characters is now “coolness” whereas the focus used to be on “cuteness”. He likens this to the change seen in American action movies, where it used to be that female characters were solely there for sex appeal, to now being depicted as tough and cool.
In addition to these, Shimbori talks about the actual gameplay itself: Regarding the new “Break Gauge”, Shimbori recalls that the team once stated that the series would never gain meter-powered mechanics. However, he decided to “break” with that with the new mechanics.
That said, they’re not breaking with everything introduced in the previous games. As with Dead or Alive 5, the game’s training mode will still feature frame data and the other tools players are used to. On top of this, Shimbori wants to figure out more ways for beginners to learn the game. Specifically, he believes the problem of fighting games is how to create an environment where beginners can practice and train, outside of the usual practice and tutorial modes. He wants to make a way that beginners can learn the system while still playing and enjoying the game.
Dead or Alive 6 is set to arrive on PlayStation 4, Steam, and Xbox One in 2019.