Team Ninja boss Yosuke Hayashi believes the Dead or Alive fanbase has grown past bouncing breasts and wants real female fighters.
Speaking to Gamasutra, Hayashi said it’s time to move on from the franchise’s seedy past.
“In the series up to now we focused on some kind of… Sports Illustrated [aesthetic]. Like a magazine for high school kids, with women portrayed in that sense,” he said.
“We’ve always had the sex factor in the game; in the past, the female characters had to have big breasts, they had to have scanty dress.”
Now, Team Ninja wants to feature real women – the kinds of women they know and like.
“We’re trying to focus on the real women that surround us; the voice of a female, the mannerisms. We are being realistic about it,” he said.
“We want to show something that’s more high class, that adult males of our generation could look at a woman [character] and be impressed with her as a woman, not just as a pin-up.”
Team Ninja seems to want to move past its reputation altogether, bringing a grown-up tone to Ninja Gaiden, previously known for its gratuitously violent gore.
“The old team was known for making games that just had two primary elements: Sex and violence. It was very obvious,” Hayashi said.
“The new team, we want to take it to a new level – to a direction that contains emotional experiences that can move players. Rather than just having violence for the sake of violence and cheap thrill, we wanted to give meaning to violence: Why does this happen? We want to link emotion to violence.
“We wanted to make a game that is for mature audiences, that can make adults think.”
Team Ninja has been quiet on the Dead or Alive 5 front in the build up to Ninja Gaiden 3’s release in March, releasing scant images and gameplay footage, so we’ll probably have to wait a few months to see how the fighter’s approach to female character design plays out ahead of its release this year.