What happened to Dead or Alive 6?
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Dead or Alive is a franchise that’s as much about fighting as it is about glamorous character customization. Not everyone likes it, but everyone would agree that the series has had some of the best graphics for a fighting game. Dig deeper into the game, and you realize its a pretty good fighting game too. So why did development on the 6th mainline title end so abruptly?
On March 31, the Official DEAD OR ALIVE Fighting Game Twitter account announced that Dead or Alive 6 development would end with the arrival of patch 1.22 in mid-April. The news dropped shortly after community backlash for the release of a hair color DLC that initially charged players $1 for every time they chose to switch colors, even if they had already purchased the same color before.
Team Ninja eventually revised the DLC to make hair color purchases a one-time affair and refunded those that had bought them multiple times before the change. Besides this, the developer is also known for selling numerous costume bundles at prices as high as $90, which costs more than the base game at full price. However, these costumes are not required to play the game, so fans could easily ignore them and continue playing as they please. Even the hair DLC controversy wasn’t enough to drive players away, though, as community tournaments like Royal Summit 9, Fall or Rise, and Hood Weeklies still take place.
While everyone’s concerns about the game are valid, it’s hard to think that Team Ninja ended development because of them. Dead or Alive 5 had 1,260 costumes that were similarly priced while its sequel stopped short of 400, so its DLC practices are nothing new. Dead or Alive 6 is also not the only fighting game with questionable netcode or a lack of official support for its competitive scene to lead to some sort of boycott. While I know development has ended for the base game, that doesn’t mean Team Ninja isn’t working on an enhanced version.
It’s not such a leap if you consider the number of updated versions that have been released between all six main titles. There have been six in total, with Dead or Alive ++ for the first game, then Dead or Alive 2 Millennium and DOA2: Hardcore for the second. The remaining three were for upgrades of the fifth game, namely Dead or Alive 5+, Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, and Dead or Alive 5 Last Round. There’s also the compilation games Dead or Alive Ultimate and Dead or Alive: Dimensions for Xbox and Nintendo 3DS respectively. We can even add Dead or Alive 5 Infinite, which, while a spinoff, still carries the fifth game's name.
While one year is a short period to release an upgraded version of a game, it seems like the likeliest possibility. There’s still the chance that Team Ninja is working on the next sequel, but this would mean the sixth game did horribly. However, Dead or Alive 6 has four seasons of additional content, which doesn’t include the revival costumes and a couple of other things. An upgraded version would compile all of that content into a new game that the developer could then support with more DLC afterward, rinse and repeat.
Speculation fuels every fandom, but I suspect players won’t be left in the dark for long as Bandai Namco recently announced the Japan Fighting Game Publishers Roundtable. It’s an event that unites a couple of Japanese fighting developers in a livestream to showcase their current projects. As you might have guessed, Dead or Alive 6 producer Yohei Shinbori will represent Koei Tecmo at the event. Whatever the news Koei Tecmo has for fans on August 1, it should give players insight into the future of Dead or Alive. My money is on a Dead or Alive 6+ Ultimate Hardcore Last Round edition, but I could be wrong, and we’re getting something entirely different instead.
You can catch the Japan Fighting Game Publishers Roundtable livestream (Japanese) on the Tekkenchannel, Arcsystemworks, Capcom Fighters JP, and DEAD OR ALIVE Youtube channels. The event streams live at 9:00 am JST on August 1 (5:00 pm PDT on July 31).