Out of all of the fighting games out there that have managed to stick around through the years, the one that probably causes the most controversy based on it' appearances alone is Dead or Alive. Regardless of the gameplay, mechanics or story, the sheer amount of 'sexy' costumes the series has implemented over the years overshadows everything else. And how could it not? From the maid outfits, to the schoolgirl outfits with short skirts, DOA, despite its 'M' rating, sometimes takes things to a ridiculous extent.
However, the game's cast of female fighters, combined with the vast amount of costumes, is part of what drew some people to the series. And some would even defend that particular aspect of the game because, hey, revealing costumes is part of Dead or Alive; without it, it's just a Koei Tecmo fighting game with a counter system.
It's for that reason that we were surprised to hear the DOA community has announced a new set of rules for the latest release in the series, Dead or Alive 5 Last Round, when played at the tournament level. Among the new constraints that ban specific stages, a large number of costumes have been banned as well.
As detailed on the Free Step Dodge forums, the following costumes have been labeled with a 'soft ban;' basically, the rules are encouraged to be followed, but it's ultimately up to the group running the tournament to enforce the rules or not.
- Ayane - 11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 20, 21, 28, 31, 32, 35, 39
- Christie - 06, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 22, 25, 28, 30
- Helena - 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 22, 24, 27, 30, 32
- Hitomi - 11, 12, 15, 16, 19, 20, 26, 28, 35
- Honoka - 07
- Kasumi - 12, 13, 16, 17, 20, 21, 29, 31, 34, 38
- Kokoro - 11, 12, 15, 16, 19, 20, 26, 28, 35
- Leifang - 14, 15, 17, 18, 21, 22, 27, 28, 31, 38
- Lisa - 07, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 26, 30
- Marie Rose - 19
- Mila - 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 25, 28, 29, 32, 35
- Momiji - 06, 11, 15, 16, 20, 21, 26, 27
- Nyotengu - 14, 20, 21
- Pai - 07, 08, 09, 13
- Rachel - 06, 09, 13, 16, 19
- Phase 4 - 11, 13, 18
- Sarah - 07, 08, 09
- Tina - 07, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 24, 26, 27, 30, 31, 37
The HuBBs, one of FSD's admins that updated the rules over the weekend, explained the ban on the costumes, saying:
"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."
Over on NeoGAF, where news of the suggested ban was posted, a few members were against the rules, saying that the change is silly, and repeating what was said at the top: DOA is DOA, skimpy costumes an all. A couple others, though, cited the outfits as part of the reason many outsiders see the series as a joke.
Hopefully, the new bans are just the beginning of making the Dead or Alive series more presentable than it has been recently. It's almost ironic that the outfits for the female fighters are contributing to both the game's appeal and shunning, compared to other games like Mortal Kombat, which has thrived with its own Mature rating.
At the end of it all, though, it's unlikely that Koei Tecmo will pull back on the DLC costumes for Last Round. Searching for Dead or Alive 5 Last Round on Xbox Live or PSN will reveal way too many costumes packs that may or may not be compatible with the free Core Fighters version or the full game. It's more confusing and overwhelming than it should be.