Dead or Alive Developer Won’t Remove Big Boobs From the Series
Dead or Alive has forged its identity on the back of its improbably breasted cast of female characters. In the same way that Street Fighter is known for its tightly woven gameplay, Mortal Kombat for its excessive violence and Tekken for its raptors with boxing gloves and pandas, Dead or Alive‘s “thing” is that its characters, particularly the women, are ludicrously proportioned in a way that would probably make fighting pretty difficult for them given the back problems they’d face.
Given that there’s an increasing push towards games being inclusive for gamers of all genders, colors and backgrounds, Dead or Alive has been one of the only remaining huge series to maintain an art direction firmly rooted within the design of games of the ’90s, a decade which saw a push towards busty female characters spearheaded by series such as Tomb Raider. DoA has even managed to go one step further, basing an entire spin-off series on the polygonal sexuality of its female roster in the form of Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball.
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But despite many asking for developers to think of gamers across the entire spectrum, not just their male demographic, when designing their characters, DoA has remained consistent with its visual stylings. Speaking to GameZone, Team Ninja’s creative director Tim Lee confirmed that this would remain the case, though stated that the development team isn’t oblivious to the issues some have with its overtly sexual portrayal of the series’ female characters.
Lee said: “I tell ya, this is a question that pops up a lot, and I’ve personally answered it in many different ways. This is our position, it’s not like we’re ignorant and we don’t know what’s going on. We’re very conscious with what happened, and the Gamergate issues of last year, and objectification of women in entertainment, misogyny, all of it, we’re very aware.
“However, when you look at a game like DoA, from the minute you turn on the game, it’s in a very other-world, fantasy type of environment. I don’t think it takes much to figure out that this has very little to do with a real world. Our women, our males, our environments, are not relatable to real people. So in that sense, in our theme of fantasy, we feel like we have absolutely every right to show off beautiful characters and how we see fit.”
“More importantly, the game isn’t in any way degrading to women. Sure, the game revolves around kicking a whole lot of ass, but it’s not like female characters are ever at some sort of statistical physical disadvantage. “We’re not having these beautiful women be abused and treated unfairly in our game.
He added: “They’re just as powerful as a male character. They’re balanced in the sense that they’re equal.”
While I share the opinion that video games should be more inclusive and that it’s a good thing the industry is, by and large, moving away from its portrayal of women as sexual beings first, actual human beings second, I also understand that Dead or Alive basically isn’t Dead or Alive, at least aesthetically, without its over-the-top cast of characters. I’m sure there will be those who disagree and believe that the series should adopt a Tomb Raider-esque makeover, but DoA is a far sillier game than the Tomb Raider series ever was, and I believe its art style is befitting of its ludicrousness.