Tecmo unveils DOA Ultimate
The new name for Dead or Alive's online chapter.
After it became apparent last year that Dead or Alive Online was considered a working title by developer Tecmo, at some point we've spent at least a few minutes vaguely wondered what it might end up being called. (And we're sure that fans have been eagerly debating such things. Or at least we're kind of genetically inclined to suppose they have been.)
As it turns out, there is no more need for confusion, as Tecmo has stepped forward and confirmed that DOA Online, as it was, is forever on to be known as Dead or Alive Ultimate. Ho hum. DOA creator Tomonobu Itagaki offered his view on it in a statement. "The Saturn version of Dead or Alive was sold only in Japan so this will be the first time it will be released in North America while DOA2 has been completely rebuilt using the latest graphics engine from Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, ultimately making DOA2 better than our own DOA3," he explained, seemingly excitedly. "With the new costumes and the expansion of fighting arenas, it's reborn as a brand new game."
Meanwhile Tecmo marketing manager Tony Tarpey pointed out that "Dead or Alive Online only signifies a portion of this game while the new name, Dead or Alive Ultimate, describes more accurately what fans will experience when they buy this game."
Which is, to recap, a mixture of the two original Dead or Alive beat-'em-ups - a pixel-perfect port of the Saturn original, which, as Itagaki-san rightly points out, only ever came out in Japan, and a reworked version of Dead or Alive 2 that absorbs a lot of Tecmo's more recent Xbox-specific technology. And of course it goes online with Xbox Live - who could forget that? The two-disc set is due out in March overseas, and sometime this year in Europe where it will be published by platform holder Microsoft.
Not content with that, it also looks like Tecmo and Microsoft have been working closely on at least one new incentive for the Japanese market. With sales of the console in the Far East as appalling as ever as we approach the second anniversary of its launch, Microsoft is hoping DOA Ultimate can tempt a few more Japanese gamers to part with their yen - and has a specially prepared bundle just for them. The Xbox Kasumi-chan Blue will be released on the same day as DOA Ultimate, and comes in semi-transparent blue coloured casing (like Kasumi's outfit), complete with Kasumi-emblazoned seat cushion, a controller in the same colour scheme, a DVD playback kit, an Xbox Live starter kit (with a year's subscription) and the game itself. 5,000 of the consoles will be made, and sold at 22,800 yen (€169) a pop.
If Japanese gamers don't take to that, they can always join in with the second anniversary celebration by purchasing an Xbox Pure White Limited Edition exclusively from Microsoft's Japanese Xbox website. Each 'box will be pure white in colour, with matching controller, and gamers can actually have up to 20 letters engraved in the console's casing, though amusingly not Japanese characters. Along with DVD player/Xbox Live, the main perk here is its individuality - MS is only making 1,000 of these, and selling them for 19,800 yen (€145) or so.