Dead Or Alive 5 Tournament Places Soft Ban on Overly Sexy Costumes
So was any part of the game not banned, then?
As a franchise, Dead or Alive is pretty notorious for its fixation on its female characters’ bodies—which, to be fair, is a very deliberately earned reputation given that the game has a “OMG Breast Motion” button that does exactly what you’d expect it to do. But FreeStepDodge, one of the most prominent DOA online tournaments, wants to do its best to turn everyone’s attention away from the cleavage and back to the fighting mechanics. Will it work? Probably not, I bet.
The tournament’s organizer, known online as “The HuBBS,” explains the recent decision in their updated standard rules:
This is a movement that was discussed by several members of the community to try and help turn around the image that has plagued the franchise. DOA has always been known for its over-sexualized females and just that alone has pushed people away from even trying the game. Sex Appeal in the DOA franchise will never go away but we, the community, want people to take it seriously and started the costume ban at offline tournaments to force people to focus more on the gameplay aspect of the game. This is a soft ban and is at the discretion of the TO running the game at the event. However we HIGHLY encourage people to not use the suggested costumes on stream for something like Top 8.
Well, he’s not wrong, because I will be straight with you: I honestly had no idea Dead or Alive was a fighting game series until I heard about this ban. Previously, I had assumed the franchise was entirely about sexy women playing volleyball with each other—which, to be fair, it kind of was for a bit back in 2003 when I first started getting into console games. It literally never occurred to me to look into the series after that. Hmm, think maybe The HuBBs has a point there?
Anyway, looking at the full list of DOA5LR costumes, it’s hard to parse why players are discouraged from some overtly sexual outfits but not other similar ones—but it’s worth noting that most of the banned costumes appear to be from specific DLC packs which have names like “Ultimate Sexy Costume,” “Bath and Bedtime,” “Tropical Sexy Costume Set,” so it’s possibly they were going on a set-by-set basis rather than by individual outfit. Here are some examples of what’s been banned (which, of course, includes all variations of the bunny costume above):
This, of course, has angered a lot people, and not just those claiming that the soft ban is tantamount to censorship—many enjoy the game’s fast, fluid fighting mechanics and are similarly turned-off by the over-the-top sexualization of the characters (like Kotaku’s Mike Fahey, for example), and proposing an arbitrary ban might do more to highlight the negative, pervy aspects of the game in the first place. But The HuBBs maintains that drawing attention to how the game actually, you know, plays will help more than it hurts, and that tournaments who forgo the ban–which, he stresses, is really more of a guideline then a hard and fast rule to be enforced—will not be penalized.
“I am at the offline tournaments,” he later added. “I hear all the murmurs and comments about the costumes and sexuality of the game. Everytime someone picked an overly sexual costume, I heard the crowd going “oh gawd, really?” Or better yet, the loud moans when someone picked those horrid skin tight Mario Rose costumes. We are not hiding something or showing we are ashamed of the game, we simple want people to stop turning away from the action onscreen and actually see the gameplay for what it is.”
For the record, Team Ninja’s Yosuka Hayashi has dismissed many of the criticism against their games as a “culture barrier” between Japanese and Western audiences and were actually considering reducing the size of the characters’ breasts until receiving backlash for doing so for an early demo of DOA5.
“We were getting feedback from the overseas offices to tone down the sexuality—to tone down the sexiness of the game, and of the characters,” Hayashi told Gamasutra in 2012. But then, “we actually got a lot of feedback from people who were playing [the demo], saying, ‘We want bigger breasts. Make the characters more like that.’ That was kind of surprising.”
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