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Koei Tecmo has finally broken their silence in more than a tweet (which may have been an non-representative statement now), on the Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 controversy that took over the gaming section of the internet recently (well the portions that weren’t controlled by Fallout 4 or Kotaku blacklisting talk). This is what was posted as their official response to the situation, both publicly and sent to various media outlets such as ourselves.

The comments recently made by an employee regarding DEAD OR ALIVE Xtreme 3 on the official DEAD OR ALIVE Facebook page only reflect that individual’s opinion and not the opinion or business strategy of Koei Tecmo Games.

We remain focused on delivering the best in fighting entertainment to our fans around the world, while consciously respecting and strategizing to support the different global audiences the DEAD OR ALIVE franchise lends itself to. 

DEAD OR ALIVE Xtreme 3 remains in development and is still planned for release in Japan and Asia only.

The statement is interesting on several levels, as it doesn’t address the tweet made on the Koei Tecmo Europe twitter that expressed support for the statement made on the Dead or Alive facebook page. It also doesn’t state that said reasoning was wrong, just that essentially it is that person’s opinion and not the business strategy Koei Tecmo supports and the statement on respecting would lend itself to the fact that it is a risk-reward business strategy decision made. 

Of course, Koei Tecmo was far from the only ones to respond to the controversy, in fact they may well have been the last in many ways. For a game concept as benign as one focused around women playing volleyball, Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 has become a hotbed of various opinions and feelings on the topic of women in video games and censorship.

HuniePop Developer HuniePot was one of the responders that we noted in our last article, offering $1 million for the rights to publish Dead Or Alive Xtreme 3 in the States on the twitter

They weren’t the only ones eager to make sure that the game reached western audiences, as PlayAsia took advantage of the situation to market their import work that they do on games, especially notable with Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 already having an English translation for China. PlayAsia’s social reach essentially doubled overnight on twitter, with many users flocking to them, although some noted they also were moving their import purchases elsewhere. The whole drama for them began when they tweeted this out:

With their most recent tweet being:

Reactions however were definitely far from one sided as mentioned and many sites wrote articles on it.

MCV’s article on it stated:

Now retailer Play Asia has used the #SJW hashtag in a string of tweets lambasting the decision. SJW stands for ‘Social Justice Warrior’ which astonishingly is used as an insult among GamerGate backers, as they do not believe in the notion of equality and have a hostile attitude towards females.

“#DOAX3 will not be coming to the US due to #SJW nonsense,” Play Asia said. “However, we will have the English Asia version available. This is literally the worst boycott we’ve ever seen.”

A later tweet added: “We don’t advocate harassing individuals. Keep it civil everyone, we’re talking about video games here.”


Yes, she's wagging that finger for you looking at this game

Yes, she’s wagging that finger for you looking at this game

Destructoid’s CJ Andriessen joined in writing strongly worded posts about the situation

Thank you, Koei Tecmo, for having the balls to say enough is enough when it comes to sexualization of women in the media, but also not having the balls to just not make the game in the first place. It’s nice to know you don’t want to subject people in the West to the horrors of pretty girls in bikinis playing terrible mini-games, but couldn’t give any less of a shit about subjecting people in the East to that kind of, oh let’s say, filth.

This whole story is getting bent out of shape

This whole story is getting bent out of shape

Gamespot’s Rob Crossley had an odd tying everything in together at the end approach

The publisher’s choice to scrap global launch plans for its game highlights conflicts between the issues of censorship and sexism in games.

Changes in attitudes towards the depiction of women in games has created a public debate between those who want a more noticeable gender equality, and those who feel such changes are detrimental or unnecessary.

Disagreements over the complex issue have sometimes become so envenomed that they have sparked instances of domestic terrorism. In September 2014, it was revealed that organisers for a games developer awards show were told a bomb would be detonated at the event if the divisive feminist Anita Sarkeesian would pick up her award.

Gamewatcher, who was the first to report on the statement from Koei Tecmo today, had a post on the issue previously, which included

There’s no question that Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 is poorly disguised softcore porn; the first DOAX tried to give the impression it wasn’t just about the females as there were a few men from the series in it. The question is that if it’s still a videogame and would making it tamer be worth a gamer’s purchase? it’s unlikely they’re looking for a volleyball sim.

Maybe they play it for the minigames?

Maybe they play it for the minigames?

VG247 mentioned that it was an odd change in messaging, and that Dead or Alive 5: Last Round had little backlash:

While the comment is open to some interpretation it does seem to suggest that Koei Tecmo – or at least, this representative – is citing the potential for criticism as the motivating factor behind the lack of English-language release. It’s a strange change in official messaging.

Responses to the comment have been mixed. While it has sparked anger amongst disappointed fans who feel they have someone besides Keoi Tecmo to blame for the decision, USGamer argues the publisher is dodging fan anger and shifting the blame for a (probably sensible) business decision regarding a niche title. The company is, after all, in the business of making money.

The last Dead or Alive release, Dead or Alive 5: Last Round, didn’t spark a furore; in fact, it kind of went under the radar except for disappointment over the iffy PC port.

All this fuss has really made me wonder what potential cultural criticism is preventing Koei Tecmo from bringing over the latest Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

These are only some of many responses and discussions that the post brought up, and it seems that this is a debate unlikely to end any time soon.

A little secret...

A little secret…

However, those who want to order Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 will have little issue if they are willing to import some. As mentioned the Asian release has English subtitles and menus making it easy to play, and none of this generation’s of PlayStation devices are region locked making it easy to do. It’s not as simple as just going to your local shop, but going to online stores like PlayAsia, Nin-Nin-Game, NCSX, or AmiAmi you can order it and have it mailed to you.

Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.