Team Ninja is hard at work on Dead or Alive 6, and they have engaged in a consistent stream of new reveals since E3 2018.
In order to know more about the game, DualShockers had a chat with Producer and Director Yohei Shimbori, who talked about many elements, from reveal timing to body physics, the brand new engine in development, and where the team found inspiration for the design of the new character Diego.
Giuseppe: Why did you choose to reveal Leifang and Hitomi at Gamescom?
Yohei Shimbori: First of all, we always planned to reveal Hitomi with this timing. The main reason is simply that she was born in Germany. For Leifang, we actually wanted to reveal her at the same time as Jann Lee, but we did not make it in time, so we revealed her at Gamescom.
G: Hitomi was revealed wearing a very classic Karate gi. Why did you choose that outfit for her?
YS: It’s very simple. She has come to win. In order to do that, she is not wearing her casual clothes but what matches her fighting style best. That’s the karate gi that she has worn for so many times. It’s what she is most comfortable with and she wears it when she is really determined to win.
That being said, she will also have her usual casual clothes.
G: I guess all characters will have many costumes, anyway.
YS: Yes, but I can’t say exactly how many.
G: I bet there will be plenty coming as DLC as well…
YS: If we’re able to, that would be good, but we still haven’t made any decision on that yet.
G: I think Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is the only game I know that received seven season passes.
YS: (Laughs) That lasted a long time.
G: I have to admit that I kind of miss the monthly reveal of new costumes.
YS: It was really challenging for the development team to come up with so many costumes.
G: Can we expect to have more or less the classic DOA cast in Dead or Alive 6?
YS: (Laughs) The order in which we’ll reveal the characters may simply depend on when the assets are ready. For some, we’d like to reveal them at the appropriate time depending on the game’s story.
I’m sure that some people will be a bit worried about whether their favorite characters will appear, but please look forward to future reveals.
G: Were the models of the characters completely remade from scratch?
YS: we have been able to reuse some assets from previous games, but many have been completely created from scratch.
This is still a work in progress, so we wouldn’t want to show it yet, but we need to at least reveal parts of it.
G: So the looks of the characters are going to evolve further?
YS: Some may improve, some may be optimized to help with frame rate. We’re working closely with our technical staff and character artists to bring the best possible looks for all the characters.
G: What was the inspiration for Diego?
YS: So far the design of the characters was mostly decided by the Japanese team. This time we took some inspiration from our American staff. We did some brainstorming, received ideas, and had a lot of discussions, and we came up with Diego who comes with a rough street fighting style and is a very realistic character.
G: During a livestream at E3 you mentioned that body physics aren’t completely gone but have not seen any yet. I’m wondering, are they simply not implemented yet?
YS: This is still a build in development, and it’s not final, but we can show you that has not been removed. As you can see, there is movement.
[At this point Shimbori-san instructed the rep that was showing the game to showcase the implementation of the physics, which you can enjoy in our video here]
G: Oh! This wasn’t there before! What kind of sorcery is this?!
YS: As I mentioned, this build is still in development. In previous games, the movement of the chest was very exaggerated. Now we’re going for more realistic physical movements. For this game, we’re not using the Soft Engine, but we’re using a new engine that is being developed at Koei Tecmo Games. It’s still in development so it’s not yet ready for public showing, We brought this just as a sample to show you the stage of development at this point.
G: Yes, it’s definitely still there.
YS: Yes. I would like to clarify that we’re not using the Soft Engine because it’s an old engine.
G: Does the new engine have a name?
YS: No, it has no name. Incidentally, the physics will depend on the costumes as well. Kasumi’s costume here is very solid and hard, so there is no real movement.
We’re really working hard on this engine, and our engineers are losing sleep to make it the best it can be, so we hope that everyone will cheer on the development team.
G: Why did you decide to make your own brand new engine instead of just licensing Unreal Engine for instance?
YS: It’s more a decision taken by the company’s higher-ups like President Koinuma-san. A third-party engine may not really match our needs, requiring us to work on some of those elements ourselves, creating additional costs. It may not be as cost-effective as some think.
There are also specific aspects that are unique to the game that we’re making, and a third-party engine may not be able to handle those as we need. In a game like DOA, stages have very specific aspects, characters have very specific movements. Developing the engine ourselves we can incorporate all of these specific elements from the start, making for a better game.
G: the western fans have reacted in a rather polarized way to the changes introduced in this game. From what I’m seeing most people either love the changes or hate them, with very few in the middle. How did the Japanese fans react?
YS: First of all, I don’t believe that there aren’t people in the middle. I read the comments as much as I can and as much as my understanding of English allows, and I know that there are fans on the fence. They may not be as vocal, but they definitely exist. In Japan, the situation is the same.
Some seem to judge based solely on what they have seen so far, but those who are more familiar with the series may understand the development team and how we released information in the past. Dead or Alive 2 and Dead or Alive 3 weren’t necessarily as revealing in the way they did things, but they weren’t really hardcore fighting games either. It’s a very entertainment-focus game. Some are aware that the series included games like that as well, so they’re looking forward to what other information we’ll reveal in the future before deciding.
With Dead or Alive 5: Last Round we increased the fanbase of the franchise, but especially in Japan we had new trends like VR games and more, so we lost people as well. We want to make sure that there are no misunderstandings and people don’t get the wrong ideas. That’s why we’re showing a build so early in development. It’s by no means the final version. We really want people to understand what the current state of development is, and that’s why we’re sharing the game at this point.
G: So what you’re saying is basically “there is still a lot to see, so trust us because it’s going to be good”?
YS: Yes. You’re correct. We’ll definitely release a game that is extremely entertaining, and fans will enjoy. Of course, not everyone will like 100% of what is in the game. We don’t want to see the fans fighting among themselves. Please don’t fight over what you like and don’t like. Enjoy the parts that you do like, and we hope that the fans will accept those differences because this is Dead or Alive as a whole.
Dead or Alive 5 will release worldwide on February 15th, 2019 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. You can already pre-order it on Amazon.
Recently, Koei Tecmo revealed that it’ll include Ayane, Honoka, and Marie Rose. Nyotengu will be a pre-order bonus and Phase 4 will come with the digital deluxe edition. a brand new female character has also been teased.
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