Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 will not be receiving a Western release according to a comment made by the game’s official Facebook page, with publishers Koei Tecmo stating that the reasoning behind this is due to the ongoing debate in the region surrounding the representation of women in video games.
Responding to a question regarding whether or not the game would make it to “US and EU regions,” Dead or Alive‘s official Facebook page relied: “We do not bring DOAX3 to the west and won’t have any plan change in the future. Thank you for asking.”
When asked for their reasoning behind this decision, the page responded: “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.”
Dead or Alive has always featured over-the-top designs in regards to its characters, with the female combatants of the fighting series being the most notable example of this. This is no more apparent than in its Xtreme spin-off series, in which the women of the series partake in a volleyball tournament wherein they’re depicted wearing very few items of clothing, with these games known for focusing upon titillation and sexual themes.
It’s questionable whether Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 would have performed well in the West given that it already appeals to a niche audience, but considering the evolution of the representation of female characters in games, a game such as Xtreme 3 may well have come under fire following its release and this seems to have convinced Koei Tecmo from distributing it in the region altogether. With that being said, refusing to release your game because it might attract criticism seems like an unreasonable position for a publisher to assume.
We only have this snippet of information from Koei Tecmo at the time of this writing, so there is likely more to this story, but if each publisher were to refrain from distributing their games out of fear that they would attract negativity, then no games would ever be published ever again. At this point it seems more likely that Koei Tecmo realized that Xtreme 3 would not have performed adequately in the Western market, and so therefore factored it out of their plans.