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Dead or Alive 6 tones down female character sexualisation

"So everyone can play without being embarrassed."

The Dead or Alive series is infamous for the sexualisation of its female characters. That, and its breast physics.

Dead or Alive 6, announced during E3, marks a shift in the fighting game series' approach, with toned down female sexualisation and, Japanese developer Koei Tecmo said, more natural breast movement.

The concept of the game is "intense fighting entertainment", producer and game director Yohei Shimbori told Eurogamer. It's a more realistic look inspired by mixed martial arts.

To that end, you'll see the characters get increasingly sweaty as they fight, and plenty of bruising as they get punched about. It looks like this:

"I want to show how sweaty the fighters get as they fight, either female or male, it doesn't matter," Shimbori said.

"They can really go to the extreme in their fighting and get injured. We want to show the damage as well."

As part of this new "intense fighting entertainment" philosophy, the developers at Koei Tecmo have taken a more functional approach to costume design. Take Kasumi, for example. Her default costume is designed with the "fighter" in mind.

Here's Kasumi's default costume in Dead or Alive 5:

And here's Kasumi's default costume in Dead or Alive 6:

"It's very intentional that we changed Kasumi's default costume for Dead or Alive 6," Shimbori said.

"The reason I chose that costume is because I'm a fan of American comic books. When you look at American comics, they're abandoning those classical costumes and becoming more functional, becoming more like fighters. They have certain materials they use for the costumes. I thought that was a wonderful idea and I wanted to follow that."

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Overall, Koei Tecmo has toned down the sexualisation of female characters Dead or Alive is known for. Shimbori said this was done for two reasons: the first relates to the "global trend" for sexualisation to be toned down, "so everyone can play without being embarrassed."

The second is to "avoid the silliness", which is in keeping with the "intense fighting entertainment" goal.

As for the series' infamous breast physics, Shimbori said "there is still some movement, because that is part of DoA's DNA". But, he admitted, in previous versions of the game there was "too much exaggeration".

"We are trying to achieve some natural movement, so when you move, things move naturally. That's our intention," he explained.

"This is a fighting game. We felt people were not looking at this as a pure fighting game. They were looking into something that was in the wrong direction. So, we wanted to make sure this is a fighting game first."

Dead or Alive 6 will no doubt have additional costumes sold as premium DLC, as with previous versions of the game. Whether these DLC costumes retain this "intense fighting entertainment" feel remains to be seen.