OPINION: Koei Tecmo Has Nothing to Fear

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

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Koei Tecmo | Dead or Alive Xtreme 3

(This opinion is mine and mine alone, it does not necessarily represent everyone here at Operation Rainfall. This is the original link to the quotes: https://www.facebook.com/deadoralivegame/?sk=posts%2F757819724322115&app_data

And an archive link just in case the above doesn’t work: https://archive.is/KmUZc)

Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 has been the subject of a lot of interest for niche gamers. For months we were left wondering whether Koei Tecmo would ever localize the latest game in its Dead or Alive volleyball/bikini beach playground spin-off series. They’d been kind of wishy-washy about it, first saying that it was going to be for Japan and Asia only, then saying there might be a chance if there was enough interest. In the past, it would have been a no-brainer, right? But now it seems that an unnamed Team Ninja representative on the Dead or Alive Game Facebook fan page has replied to a user asking whether it will ever come to the US or EU, saying that there are no plans at this time. The following are two quotes from the rep:

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.

It’s the second paragraph that interests me. It’s no secret to me that there is an ongoing cultural clash going on within the West, a social media battle taking place with regards to how women are portrayed in video games, as well as their social standing in the industry. It’s a battle that we ourselves are constantly at risk of being dragged into, although we have decided as a site to stay out of it and hope that things turn out for the best.

Koei Tecmo Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 | Sunset

However, it would seem that Team Ninja’s representative has also been paying attention to what’s been going on in the past year, and so the company has passed judgment on us. They’re implying that because of this debate gamers are having, we might not be able to handle the content in Dead or Alive Xtreme 3. Ironically, because they were so afraid to get backlash over the release of this title, they got it anyway from their customers who would have been more than happy to open their wallets for them.

This is absolutely nonsensical. You mean to tell me, with your release of Dead or Alive 5 Last Round back in February, that we aren’t ready for this game? Even though you continue to give us costume DLC content for that game, which, I’ll be blunt, does get pretty racy with the designs? Now you’re concerned? I don’t buy it. You promote Dead or Alive 5 Last Round on every social media platform you can. (Love the schoolgirl costumes you just came out with, by the way.) What is the difference between that and this game, other than the fact that we see the girls in bikinis more often? They’re just having fun playing beach sports. God help us if we ever really did decide that is something we can’t handle. And it’s not as if Koei Tecmo would be taking a huge risk with their IP, this is a spin-off they’ve done two times before.

Koei Tecmo Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 | Nyotengu shrug

There is a growing concern lately that Western publishers of Japanese games are self-censoring before they decide, if ever, to release their products over seas. This is a time where we need publishers to stand up for the artistic freedom that creators and artists have produced. Not water it down or take it away from us on a whim in fear of someone’s delicate sensibilities. I praised Atlus some time ago for taking a chance with Dungeon Travelers 2, which I think is an excellent dungeon crawler, but one I recognize isn’t going to appeal to everyone because of its ecchi content. Marvelous/XSEED Games releases Senran Kagura games without hesitation or fear. And that’s sort of the point, isn’t it? Those companies know damn well who their audience is: it’s the niche gamers (both male and female) who don’t mind sex appeal/ecchi content one bit. They really would have bought these products and they have made themselves heard loud and clear that they want this game.

Only now they’re going to have to resort to importing the English Asia version because of this short-sighted decision. Some of them might not even bother and just move on.

In the future, we would rather you ask us if we wanted it rather than trying (and failing) to properly gauge the market based on a cultural clash of ideals, just as you had with Yoru no Nai Kuni (Nights of Azure). Those are your actual customers asking you to reconsider your stance. Just think about it, Koei Tecmo. That’s all we ask.

About Joe Sigadel

Joe is the reporting manager for oprainfall, he is also a broadcaster on Twitch and loves showing off many of the games we report about on his channel. He has also been known to defended Senran Kagura from those who only want to accept it at face value.