The Future of Dead or Alive



This year a lot of people began to believe there wouldn’t be another Dead or Alive after 4 or another Ninja Gaiden after 2. This was because Itagaki, the man who was in charge of Team Ninja’s work on the two series, quit his job at Tecmo because he was never paid some money that he was promised. However, Tecmo has said they are working on games in these series still, and I believe they can make DoA 5 just fine with Itagaki. In fact, I believe him not being involved my help the series to evolve.

One thing I can say for sure is that I hope there is not another DoA Xtreme game. Those games caused a mockery of the Dead or Alive series, in some regards. Their focus on the women and on their sexuality caused people not to take DoA seriously as a fighting game, when in fact it has a deep fighting engine that isn’t easy to master. In fact, it is on par, if not deeper, than the fighting of Soul Calibur games. A lot of this comes from the now complex reversal system, which no other 3d fighting game has. Not that I’m attacking Soul Calibur, I love it, but most of the time when people insult DoA I’ve seen them point towards Soul Calibur. Let’s face it, Soul Calibur isn’t any better about their portrayal of sensuality or use of sex appeal (ex. Ivy, Taki, etc.).

Anyway, back to Dead or Alive and it’s future. I do think DoA 5 needs to keep a lot of things that have been successful so far. Like it or not, I believe that the sex appeal of the games should stick around. I do like the fact that the males in the fighting games still always outnumber the females or are equal to them. It’s interesting, since most people who argue about DoA being overtly sexual only talk about the girls (and it really doesn’t apply to all of them) and forget that there are playable male characters. In fact, Ryu Hayabusa of Ninja Gaiden fame is probably one of the strongest characters in the games. In any case, sex appeal has been used in fighting games for almost as long as they’ve existed, even as far back as Street Fighter II. Also, because DoA’s sex appeal was inspired by Mai Shiranui, I have a soft spot for it’s existence in DoA.

The ability to knock characters from room to room or from one plane to another also has to stick around. However, I think it needs to be taken farther. In the past, when playing in tag matches, you could only play in the special enclosed arenas, instead of on any stage. I think this is dumb, and in future games, I’d like to see the ability to play the tag matches on any of the stages. This will be important for one of my main desires for the future of the series that I’ll be mentioning later.

Another important aspect of the games has been the characters and their relationships to each other. I think this should be expanded even more, and that they should evolve some of these relationships further. For example, making Jann Lee and Lei Fang officially a couple and bringing Kasumi back to her village and restoring her place there. I think all the characters who have appeared so far need to return in DoA 5 (except the bosses), and we need to expand the roster by at least 4 characters. I’m not sure if the Spartan Nicole could return, unless Bungie gave permission again, but if she did, she should once again only appear outside of the story mode.

I would also make sure there was plenty of replayability by including a lot of unlockables. In DOAU2, there are 20 costumes for most of the girls. I’d want DOA5 to accomplish more by including 20 costumes for each character (with an easier way to unlock them all than just beating the game each time, like item collecting in Survival was used in DOAU2). I’d also like a cinematic opening for DOA5. DOAU2 had one, as did DOA3 (If you unlocked the booster disc on DOAU2).

How would I handle the story from here? As of DOA4, DOATEC has been destroyed, and Donovan was most likely killed by Hayabusa. All of the fighters definitely survived. I wouldn’t accept Donovan as a boss in the game, because it could end up compared to Donovan’s use in the DOA movie, and we wouldn’t want the comparison. I think the easiest thing is to make it official that he was killed when Hayabusa destroyed that Helicopter in the main DOA4 ending. They could easily invent another member of DOATEC who would restart DOA or carry out some unfinished plans of Donovan’s. For example, what was Donovan planning to do if he did assassinate Helena and was rid of all of the Douglas family? This could be explored.

For the story of the game, I’d like to do something different, that other fighting games have done before. I would like the main story of the game to be a tag fighter. This is why the tag battles would need to be on any stage. Games using multiple characters on teams have been done for a long time (King of Fighters, Marvel vs. Capcom, Capcom vs. SNK, Tekken Tag, etc.) and there has been a tag mode in all of the DOA games since DOA 2. The tag modes have always paired characters together, and sometimes these pairings changed between games (ex. In DOA2 Helena and Gen Fu were paired, in DOA3 Helena and Christie were paired, in DOA4 Christie was paired with Bayman and Helena wasn’t paired with anyone). Some pairings I would keep the same as in 4, but others I would change. I would have each of the cinematic endings involve both of the characters from the team.

I would like to return Gen Fu to the story mode. His granddaughter is fine now, so I think his motivation should merely be to fight alongside his student, Eliot, in the tournament. This would pair Gen Fu and Eliot together. Eliot’s goal for entering the tournament again could be to improve his skills and to prove himself to his master.

I’d like to see something REALLY interesting with Kasumi in DOA5. I would like her to be on good terms with her village again, having returned and having been forgiven by Hayate, who is in charge of the village now. I’d like her partner to be Ayane. From the DOA2U opening, we see that Kasumi and Ayane were once friends as children. After the events of DOA3 (Ayane not killing Kasumi when she could have and letting Kasumi go to see Hayate) and DOA4 (Ayane stopping Kasumi from approaching the DOATEC building as it’s destroyed) we see that Ayane most likely doesn’t hate Kasumi anymore. In fact, I’d like them to be on good terms and begin working towards a friendship again.

Hayate I would simply pair with Ryu Hayabusa. They are supposed to be best friends, so I think it could work out well. Hayate of course would be involved in order to seek out the new threat of DOATEC and Hayabusa would be eager to help him as his friend.

I’m most interested in expanding things with Lei Fang and Jann Lee. I would keep them together as a team (they have been since DOA2) and I would make it official that Lei Fang finally defeated him in DOA4 (she’s been trying to beat him since DOA1, I figured she deserves to catch a break). Also, as i mentioned, I’d set them up as a couple, because out of all of the characters in DOA, they are the only ones that could be made a believable couple at this point, though an argument could be made about Hitomi and Hayate. As there are no couples in DOA, I think it would be good to make them one, as it adds another relationship type to the game that does not yet exist. And romantic relationships are always intriguing, even in fighting games. I know I’m always interested in the ones going on in the King of Fighters games.

Tina I would keep paired with La Mariposa, as she was in DOA4. They are both wrestlers and I think they would work out well as a team. Plus I really liked their wrestling ending in DOA4. I’d like to see Tina change in some way as a character, just because she’s been around since the first DOA and has the same basic story in every game. Pairing her with La Mariposa could help add depth, since Lisa actually has past ties with DOATEC and was involved in the project with Ein.

I do think that Leon should return to DOA as a character in story mode. I would pair him with Bass for the next game. I have thought it would be interesting if Rolande somehow turned out to be alive and was part of DOA5, and that Leon would meet her during the course of the story, but I also think her actually staying dead would be fine, too. Still, I think if Leon was investigating something regarding Rolande it could add something more to his character, because ever since DOA2 it’s just been him trying to be the best because of her dying words. I think he could use some more depth somehow, just something to make him more interesting. I think Bass could use something new as well, but I’m not sure what. Or it could be him trying to stop Tina from following some other dream he thinks is crazy.

Bayman and Christie I would pair as a team, but only because I don’t see them working well with anyone else. They could both be hired for an assassination and be working together towards that goal, since they are both assassins.

Kokoro, now knowing she is the half-sister of Helena, should be paired with Helena, I think. It would be good to see their interaction throughout the game and Kokoro learning something about her family. Also, it would be good for Helena to form a bond with Kokoro, since she has no other living family.

I think Brad Wong and Zack should team up, just because they are both funny characters. I think it could make for some interesting chemistry. Either that or add Zack’s girlfriend as a fighter and as his partner.

Unless I’ve screwed up, this just leaves Hitomi. Perhaps she could be paired with Brad Wong if Zack had his girlfriend. Or, if not, then perhaps her father could be added as a character and she could team with him, or some other character.

In any case, those are just a few thoughts I had on the future of Dead or Alive. I also think adding a character creation mode could be cool, but a lot of that is because I’ve been playing a lot of Soul Calibur IV this week, and the character creation in it is awesome.


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