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Dead or Alive director reveals that Koei Tecmo searches for 'cuties' when adding guest characters to their series

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • August 29, 2020 at 7:38 p.m. PDT • Comments: 79

The Japan Fighting Game Publishers Roundtable that aired about a month ago gave some of our favorite developers an opportunity to communicate with the fans amidst the E3 2020 and EVO 2020 cancellations. Many of the fighting game devs used this as an opportunity to explain how the roster selection process works.

"What about guest characters?" asked Katsuhiro Harada of Bandai Namco. "How do you decide on them?" Yohei Shimbori, director for the Dead or Alive series as of Dead or Alive 5, took on this question on behalf of Koei Tecmo.

"Well, when it comes to Dead or Alive, what people hope for and expect are cute girls, right? Most likely," responded Shimbori. "So when we decide guest characters, we generally look for 'Are there any cuties out there?'"

This offers a possible explanation why Mai Shiranui from SNK's Fatal Fury and King of Fighter series appears in Dead or Alive 5 Last Round. She would later return along with Kula Diamond in Dead or Alive 6.

"With SNK, we borrowed Mai Shiranui and now Kula Diamond," continued a laughing Shimbori. "They really did have cuties for us."

"A lot of our fans really got excited for them, saying 'Wow, they're so cute' and were happy about them. They have a lot of fans because they're both strong characters and they look good, right?"

"When it comes to Dead or Alive, what people hope for and expect are cute girls, right? So when we decide guest characters, we generally look for 'Are there any cuties out there?'" - Yohei Shimbori

Of course, there have actually been a couple of male characters that have also joined the series. With Sega's permission, Koei Tecmo was able to make Akira Yuki, Sarah Bryant, Pai Chan, and Jacky Bryant from the Virtua Fighter franchise playable in Dead or Alive titles.

In other words, there have been times where Koei Tecmo's guest character selection process wasn't just limited to "cute girls" or "cuties."

"There are other factors as well, of course," stated Shimbori. "Like in Dead or Alive 5, we looked over at Virtua Fighter who were also at '5' at the time, and the decision was made to have a crossover between both 'fives' and build hype."

Apparently, Sega gave Koei Tecmo permission to use Virtua Fighter characters virtually for free when they were playable in Dead or Alive 5. Although Koei Tecmo told Sega that they could use Dead or Alive characters in return if they wanted to, this crossover only happened in Dead or Alive 5.

Despite not being a "cute girl," Akira's inclusion does make sense as he is often looked at as one of the most recognizable fighting game faces of the Virtua Fighter series.

Interestingly enough, SPARTAN-458, a female Spartan from the Halo series, was also an unlockable character in Dead or Alive 4. Meanwhile, Nintendo's Samus Aran and Ridley make cameo appearances in Dead or Alive Dimensions.

Overall, this does seem to indicate that female characters from other series are more likely to make guest appearances in Dead or Alive since it is believed that this is what Koei Tecmo's fans want.

A special thanks goes out to Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor for the translations used in this article.

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