You can like the Dead or Alive fighting game series for how it plays, you can argue that it's substantially different or even better than other fighting games for reasons that have nothing to do with its character design, but there's no denying that it's the 3D fighting game that's known for its boobs, and specifically its boob motion physics.
The design of the female characters in Dead or Alive was such a draw, that at some point publisher Koei Tecmo spun those characters out to their own game where they romp around a beach resort and play volleyball in bikinis. The technology that makes the boobs in the game jiggle (Koei Tecmo previously called this the "Softness Engine") was so precious to Dead or Alive, its developers were worried about what players and modders might do with it one Dead or Alive 5: Last Round was released on PC.
All this to say that sexualization has always been a defining feature of Dead or Alive, which is why I was surprised and suspicious to see some quotes from the developer in the wake of news-packed E3, that indicated Koei Tecmo is going to tone that stuff down in the upcoming Dead or Alive 6.
Take for example how one of the more recognizable characters in Dead or Alive, Kasumi, is dressed in the Dead or Alive 6 announcement trailer:
Clearly, whoever designed this latest 3D model of Kasumi once again made the choice to give her boobs that size rather than a different size, but whereas previously she wore an outfit that showed a lot of skin (not that there's anything wrong with that!), like in this Dead or Alive 5 trailer:
Now she is wearing what is arguably a more practical outfit to kick ass in.
"The reason I chose that costume is because I'm a fan of American comic books," game director Yohei Shimbori told Eurogamer. "When you look at American comics, they're abandoning those classical costumes and becoming more functional, becoming more like fighters. They have certain materials they use for the costumes. I thought that was a wonderful idea and I wanted to follow that."
Shimbori added that previous versions of Dead or Alive had exaggerated breast physics, and that Dead or Alive 6 is trying to achieve more "natural movement."
The director of a video game that is known for fetishizing large breasts is saying that he's going to pump the brakes on the comically exaggerated boob stuff? There's nothing inherently wrong with it, and the fact that a video game character with big boobs is wearing a bikini doesn't mean that gamers are required by law to be perverts about it, but at the very least it's an unexpected choice from Koei Tecmo. Is someone over there growing up?
Probably no. Speaking to Game Informer, Shimbori left the door wide open to Dead or Alive's old tricks:
"This is a work in progress, a prototype, so we might change in the future," he said. "Of course we’re going to tone down at this point, but for downloadable content, we have to see what gamers really want, what their response is. Not all the gamers want the same thing, but we want to ask their opinions, all of them, and get feedback on it."
Considering that the Dead or Alive community created naked mods for the game after Koei Tecmo specifically asked it not to, and that the same community was ready to riot after "bikini malfunctions" were going to get cut from the North American release of Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, if future Dead or Alive 6 content is going to be determined by what the fans want, the fighting game series is going to be back doing what it's known for best in no time.