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I don’t care much for the Dead or Alive: Xtreme series. I play games for escapism and enchantment. If I wanted to know what it would be like to waste my days being rejected by a number of attractive women, I would take part in Nanpa culture. However, if I wanted to buy gifts for virtual waifus while surruptiously taking photos of them lounging in almost non-existent swimwear, I could. For the past year a crack team of Japan’s best physicists have be researching life enhancing fields such as sweat glisten, tan lines, and of course breast jiggle. Their work is almost complete, Dead or Alive: Xtreme 3 will be released in Japan Februrary 2016 on both the PS4 and Vita. Life is much harder for those who live in the West. DOAX3 is not being localized.

Dead or Alive Divisive

In the old days someone “setting us up the bomb” was what passed as Western localization. Nowadays with the industry as large as it is, further considerations are taken into account. Localization no longer equals translation. Localizers try to help us to “understand” and “accept,” a process which in many cases is thought of as censorship. Bravely Default’s characters are no longer 16 but 18, a rippling buttock is cropped from Street Fighter V, and Blade and Soul had its female characters posed in a more “empowering” fashion. People often say this is pointless, but ask the localizers of Akiba’s Trip if they were glad they left the word “trap” in their big hit release.

Localization problems in gaming happen for various reasons. Sometimes it’s something as dumb and innocent as the belief that the titular Yokai in Yokai Watch will only have niche appeal. However, a lot of Western localization suffers from a “toning down” of Japanese fan service. Ages are raised, risqué lines removed, and the sexiest poses and costumes changed. This isn’t because the Japanese are all horny and Westerners as pure and virginal as unploughed snow, but a cultural difference. Japan is a group culture, the West an individual one.

Japan and Japanese people unite. They consider the whole when acting and so always do what is best for the group. This manifests in many ways; theft is almost non-existent, companies are thought of as families, and appropriation of Japanese culture (including Weeaboos) is seen as a compliment to their way of life. When Japanese people see something that they personally find distasteful, upsetting or downright wrong the most common strategy is simply to ignore and avoid. In the three years since I moved East, the West seems to have done anything but.

At the slightest provocation, Twitter is alight with rage. Hashtags trend, memes made and ripped apart, and petitions are signed. A year after its release there was a call to ban the sick filth that is Grand Theft Auto V mostly by people with only a tangential understanding of what the game involved. Bayonetta 2 was too sexy, Mario Kart 8 was too white, and Fire Emblem Fates was not gay enough. In a world of diffuse opinions you can’t please everyone, and everyone wants to be pleased.

The loss of DOAX3’s western localization is not huge in itself. It will be mostly translated into English for other Asian markets and be made available for purchase through import sites such as Play-Asia. This individual case is not what worries me, but I worry that the decision to pull DOAX3 from the West is a sign of very troubling times. Some of the best Japanese developers ,such as Hideo Kojima, Hideki Kamiya, Suda 51 and yes even Team Ninja, are brilliant because their most creative ideas are nurtured and encouraged. Never has the phrase “shine on you crazy diamonds” been more appropriate, and yet releasing a game in the West is becoming such an enormous ball ache that publishers are becoming anxious to bring over their latest releases.

I understand that being angry on the Internet can be a lot of fun. I sometimes do it myself. But next time something in a video game outrages you, whether it’s the inclusion or removal of a transphobic joke in Pillars of Eternity, the pronounced boobs on Dragon Crown’s sorceress, or the suggestion of making Mega Man a Mega lass, hold your tongue. That or save it for the chans.

What are your thoughts on the latest controversy?

Georgina Young


British girl, currently in Japan. Surviving on a diet of retro games. Worshiping the god that is the Sega Megadrive. I like Nintendo.

  • Patrick Toworfe

    My thoughts are that it was incredibly stupid and sad that this is where we’re at. That our fears of the growing loud voices of SJWs are finally affecting the games themselves. I’ve already said my points in my own article (which I won’t shill, don’t worry), so I’ll leave it there. I appreciate your thoughts on this and I agree. The West’s treatment of boobs in video games has become ‘controversial’, and it’s insane

  • Dom The Elegy

    I do not need an overly protective parent sitting at a desk in a localisation office protecting me from evil things like boobs. I’m a goddamn adult, I have the sleep deprivation to prove it. So just let me make my own decisions of what I can and can’t handle already.

  • Louie Tejeda

    Leave parenting to parents, entertainment choices to individuals, and stop trying to promote society as if it were the Borg collective! I dislike Twilight, but I am not the target audience and it’s no skin off my back if it’s out there for others to enjoy. The same should be done for games, all kinds!

  • Mighty No. 56008

    I understand what you’re trying to say with the closing statement, but a lot of times people are angry after the fact something has happened. And sometimes those changes were made BECAUSE of people not holding their tongues, spewing things like “sexism”, “hyper violence” or “diversity” to make games “better”.

    So to “fight” localization/censorship by not saying anything just doesn’t make any sense to me. Being vocal clearly works, so we need to maintain some kind of dialogue between game devs and their actual customers to help inform them what WE want in their games.

    Also let’s not forget to speak with our wallets. I know it might be difficult to do so, especially when certain changes to a game are so minimal that it doesn’t affect the overall experience. But if we continue to let games be successful even after these changes have been made, we’re just sending a message to devs that censorship is ok.

  • Donwel

    “such an enormous ball ache”
    Probably the best description I’ve heard yet of this whole affair.
    To me it seems like they’re trying to drum up interest in the game, it’s obviously working for them because it has people talking about it. And they do say that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

  • Pierre Adriaan Du Plessis

    So here’s my alternative intro with a twist… 🙂
    I care very much about the Dead or Alive: Xtreme series. I play games for escapism and enchantment. If I wanted to know what it would be like to spend my days watching attractive women, I could. If I wanted to see them lounging in almost non-existent swimwear, I could.

    I believe that people should be free to enjoy a product like this, and so naturally I agree with most of this article.

    I agree that the west is more collectivist than Japan… but SJW (is a small minority that) takes collectivism to the extreme. I’m speaking about collectivism and identity politics. Here’s what I mean…

    Japan is individualist culture : It celebrates unique tastes. Individuals are free to enjoy their particular tastes. There is always a market for your product.

    The West is also individualist culture : It also promotes the above through free market and freedom of expression. Although there are laws and norms in the west that are a bit more conservative there is also a general “Live and let live” mentality.

    Western SJW however, is full mac collectivist culture: It presumes to speak on behalf of everybody that falls within chosen demographics. It condemns members of these demographics that do not agree or wish to be spoken for. It presumes to have universal ideology. It condemns other demographics outside of its circle and actively takes measures to restrict others from practicing their differing cultures and beliefs. Western SJW’s are by definition, modern day Crusading Witch Hunting Bigots

  • Nick Harris

    So, if I understand your post correctly… you want the option to handle some boobs despite regarding them as evil.

  • Crizzyeyes

    Your statement about Japanese culture is true, but the West hardly needs to revamp its culture from a “wheat” one to a “rice” one, as the analogy between individualism and collectivism goes. All that’s needed is the ability to see outside perspective. You shouldn’t be offended (or if you are, you shouldn’t take action) because there are a very large number of people who enjoy this game and it will not have profound influence on the industry or the community due to its reputation and marketing angle — people can see it’s a shallow game. I’m saying that it’s easy to justify a reasonable reaction to this without even caring about others.

  • Arbitrary

    I agree with everything you’ve said.

  • Bitterbear

    Parents? Parenting? That’s funnier than Lena Dunham.

  • Mark Andrew Edwards

    I’m honestly thinking about buying this as an import and I don’t even own a PS 4 (yet? ever?). In the end, the main power I have is my wallet.

    But I am willing to speak in favor of things I like (hot girls) and against things I don’t (thug life). So, yeah, I want DOAX3 and I don’t want GTA 5.

  • Nope Naw

    I want to echo your point about voting with wallets, but also offer a somewhat different viewpoint. It’s long been my stance that it’s somewhat of a Catch 22. If we buy the butchered localizations, we send a signal that the censorship is okay, which it isn’t.

    Conversely, if we do -not- buy, what signal gets sent? Not the one we want. We don’t send the signal that “We’re not buying this because it’s censored.” Instead we’re just sending the signal “We’re not buying this.”

    The DOAX3 situation provides us with the better option. Buy the version that hasn’t been tampered with. Then we’re sending the signal that “Yes, we do like this and will buy it.”. Of course it’s nearly equally a stretch for them to assume we’re buying it because it’s not censored, since it’s the only version available to us, except those who’re fluent in japanese.

    Sadly, if the game got localized and butchered, people would buy the localized version. Many because it’s convenient, and far, FAR, more because they’re simply ignorant of the localization issues.

    I’ve said it before, but I’d happily import every single game if they handled it the same way as DOAX3 is being handled.

  • Mighty No. 56008

    Yeah, sadly it’s a little more complex as you explained it to be. Not buying the game may give off the wrong message that we simply aren’t interested in the game, which can be far from the truth!

    Which is exactly why having that dialogue is important though. If you’re not planning to buy the game (or at least the localized version) you got to tell them why. Hopefully if more people do so and stick with it, maybe they’ll start listening. And with lower sales, it’s kinda hard to ignore it!

  • Mighty No. 56008

    Right on. Totally respect that you don’t enjoy GTA5 (personally I found GTA4 to be really boring) as long as you don’t prevent others from enjoying it!

  • SomeCollegeStudent

    I feel these problems are not isolated to just American gaming. Take a look at American media or news and you’ll find many individuals that promote their ideas as just, without any regard for other people. You’ve got Donald Trump proclaiming that American Muslims cheered 9/11, without citing any credible source. You’ve got conservatives saying America should keep all Syrian refuges out, while not seeing the absurdity of a “If one might be bad then it’s better to keep them all out” mentality. You’ve got government officials like Kim Davis refusing to sign marriage licenses for homosexual couples because her “sense of morality” doesn’t let her; and you’ve got people who will idolize her because she followed her “sense of morality.”

    I don’t know what the exact solution is. One place to start may getting all of us to be willing to sit down, listen to other people’s ideas and views, and talk about our differences without lambasting other people. A set of simple acts but ones that require us to have some self-control and basic respect for others, regardless of their backgrounds, appearances, or ideals.

  • Trigger

    Georgina, I’m appalled.

    The proper phrase is “set up us the bomb”.

    Now keep tearing censorious bigots multiple new assholes. =)

  • Trigger

    The solution is to start teaching people about the basics of Western liberty again. Nobody remembers that the rights of others are just as important as their own rights, and nobody remembers that society and government have zero business interfering with any action that doesn’t harm anyone else.