Dead Or Alive 5 is a return to form for Team Ninja’s long running fighting series for a number of reasons, not least because of its incorporation of classic Virtua Fighter characters Akira, Pai and Sarah, and the team’s collaboration with Sega AM2. It’s a working process that Team Ninja admits was crucial to development of the game and may have an impact on the future of the DOA series.
“The DOA series started because of Virtua Fighter,” Hayashi tells us in an exclusive interview. “It’s like the father of 3D fighting games, so we’re really happy we have this collaboration with Sega and the series. When we decided we wanted to have Virtua Fighter characters in Dead Or Alive 5, we got the models, the frame data and the moves from AM2. As soon as the characters started moving, we called them over to check everything. They’re really particular in how we made the characters, whether that was the modelling, the frame data, the moves… Their two head guys came down, tried the game and were like, ‘No, this technique shouldn’t be here, change this,’ so it was almost like a collaborative development as well in a sense. They really almost directed us about how they wanted their characters in the game, which was great for us because it was the first time we dealt so closely with an outside developer. It was a great experience.”
Ultimately, such a pairing instantly suggests that the two franchises may unite officially, such as the aforementioned Street Fighter X Tekken, a path the company’s head has already considered. “I think if the fan base would really want it then we would think about doing it,” hints Hayashi. “With Dead Or Alive 5, we did experiment with these Virtua Fighter characters almost as if we’d ported them over. We tried to mix and match both worlds in their pure form. If you look at SF X Tekken, you would have to make an engine and a core system that matches both games. For example, DOA and VF, if it were to have a proper collaboration, you’d have to look at the game system first and redesign that in order to match all the characters evenly.”
The full interview with Yosuke Hayashi, in which he discusses Dead Or Alive 5, new Team Ninja game Ni-Oh, Ninja Gaiden III for Wii U and the possibility of a Metroid: Other M sequel, appears in issue 127 of games™, on sale 27 September in print and digital formats.