Dead or Alive 5 tournament soft ban on "over-sexualised" costumes sparks heated debate

Censorship or a progressive move?

A prominent Dead of Alive tournament organiser has recommended a soft ban on "over-sexualised" character costumes - and sparked a heated debate in the process.

On Dead or Alive competitive play website FreeStepDodge, tournament organiser "The HuBBs" published a raft of new offline tournament standard rules for Dead or Alive 5 Last Round, now the game is out in the wild.

One aspect of The HuBBs' list, created in collaboration with others prominent in the Dead or Alive tournament scene, caught the attention of the game's offline play community: a soft ban on over 100 "over-sexualised" costumes.

Here are a few of the banned costumes:

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The HuBBs said the soft ban was an attempt to improve Dead or Alive's image as little more than soft porn in video game form.

Here's the explanation:

This is a movement that was discussed by several members of the community to try and help turn around the image that has plagued the franchise. DOA has always been known for its over-sexualised females and just that alone has pushed people away from even trying the game.

Sex Appeal in the DOA franchise will never go away but we, the community, want people to take it seriously and started the costume ban at offline tournaments to force people to focus more on the gameplay aspect of the game. This is a soft ban and is at the discretion of the TO running the game at the event.

However we HIGHLY encourage people to not use the suggested costumes on stream for something like Top 8.

Some, however, reacted in anger to the news, accusing The HuBBs of censorship.

"In essence they are trying to evangelise the game by demonstrating their shame for it," one member of the North American Dead or Alive offline community told Eurogamer over email.

"The sexual aspect to DOA is part of what makes the game DOA. It has always been this way, and now certain community members are trying to deny the nature of the game, a game which they have no hand in developing.

"This is alienating those who actually play the game, and I feel not making it any more attractive to those who don't. In fact, quite the reverse, it looks to outsiders as though the DOA community is made up of puritanical children who endorse the censorship of the very thing they purport to support."

Responding, The HuBBs stressed that the soft ban is not an enforced rule, so tournament organisers can choose to ignore it, but stuck to his guns.

"We are not going to shun or distance ourselves from those who don't want to use the soft ban. Has nothing to do with censorship or sexism. We just offered a new concept to try and promote the gameplay itself without viewers being too distracted by jiggling tits covered by dental floss."

Dead or Alive has had a long-running issue over the sexualisation of its characters, with some eye-rolling DLC costumes further adding to its controversial reputation. You can even unlock an "OMG breast motion" option in the menu, which does what you'd expect.

Team Ninja has pointed to a "cultural barrier" between Japan and the west, and, back in 2011, suggested it would dial back the series' notorious fixation with virtual breasts.

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About the author

Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

Deputy Editor  |  wyp100

Wesley is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.

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