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‘Dead or Alive 6’ Is All About Being an Esport

When the first trailer for Koei Tecmo’s latest entry in the ‘Dead or Alive’ series hit a few days before E3, fans immediately picked up on a major change from the previous games. Every hit looked more powerful than anything featured in “Dead or Alive 5” and things looked just a bit slower.

According to game director Yohei Shimbori, that’s mostly correct.

“This game is a small departure from the last game, just like how the last game was different than ones that came before it,” Shimbori tells Variety. “But things aren’t really slowed down, there is just a much bigger focus on more meaningful blows rather than small hits like in some previous games.”

Dead or Alive 6” is the latest entry in the popular fighting series, it features a slightly new fighting system that focuses on the games accessibility as an esport, including changes that make fights more engaging for the viewer. Something that Shimbori believes is vital to the success of a competitive fighting game.

“In some cases, it’s really hard to enjoy an esport, or even a regular sport if you don’t understand or know the rules,” Shimbori said. “But that can be ignored if a game is extra interesting to watch, that’s why we added a little bit of slow motion, the fatal rush move, and the break gauge– all things that make the action more exciting to watch and participate in.”

Shimbori highlighted how the action slows down for a few milliseconds when a hard hit lands, showing a bit more of the body part that got impacted. It didn’t feel like a big change until he specifically pointed it out, and it alongside Fatal Rush, a one button combo that is both easy to use for newcomers and can be paired with good timing for more experienced fighters, makes each hit look and sound like a nasty bruise just waiting to form.

This latest entry in the series features classic characters and stages as well as the return of Hayabusa and Hayate, who were both being shown for the first time as part of “Dead or Alive 6” during Variety’s private session with the game. After taking on Shimbori in a head-to-head match it’s safe to say that the series still feels as tight and burly as ever with the action feeling more grounded than ever before.

The “Dead or Alive” series has a dedicated competitive community and Shimbori focused a large part of development time working on making the game more attractive to the fighting game community. He even plans on bringing it to EVO 2018 to get feedback from players who are already fighting in the “Dead or Alive 5” tournament. His team will take that feedback and tweak things ahead of the games early 2019 release window.

Shimbori and his team know that some of the changes they are implementing make “Dead or Alive 6” a different king of beast when compared to other games in the franchise. “We’ve made changes like this before and our players were kind enough to trust us and go with the changes,” he said. “I’m not worried this time around either.”

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