Dead Or Alive 5 Interview: On Virtua Fighter Collaboration & Danger Zones

By Spencer . June 29, 2012 . 2:17pm


After a half decade break, Team Ninja is getting back into the fighting game arena with Dead or Alive 5 and this installment has a few characters from Sega’s Virtua Fighter series. Yohei Shimbori, director of Dead or Alive 5 explained to Siliconera this collaboration came about because he has a lot of respect for Sega’s fighting game series.


Can you tell us how the Virtua Fighter 5 collaboration got started?


Yohei Shimbori, Director: The Viruta Fighter series is the forefather of the 3D fighting game genre. We really have a lot of respect for it. This time, we were lucky to have their characters in our game. If Virtua Fighter wasn’t around, I don’t think the Dead or Alive series would have started. This is our way of showing respect for the series and putting characters in Dead or Alive 5 was a great honor.


Will there be more Virtua Fighter 5 characters aside from Akira and Sarah?


This is still under wraps, for the moment.




How many characters do you think will be in Dead or Alive 5? There were so many in Dimensions, will it be comparable?


We can’t tell you all of them, but there will be over 20.


Fight_oil rig_Bass_Rig_low tier

Bass and the newcomer Rig duke it out.


How about DLC characters?


Right now, we’re not thinking about that. It depends closer to the end of development. Just to be clear, we’re not going to have paid downloadable content characters. We don’t want to do that.


Will players be able to customize their characters at all with accessories?


The way we’re treating the Dead or Alive 5 characters is they have a personality like you or me, so we won’t have customizable items. That said, some characters have accessories that fall off like Zack.


Are there any Tecmo Koei characters you want to add as guests to Dead or Alive 5? How about the Gust characters since they’re part of the family now. [Laughs.]


[Laughs.] There are people actually saying that about Gust. I think Virtua Fighter characters feel natural to be in Dead or Alive 5. Characters that naturally fit in the game, like the VF characters would be a great fit.


When I was playing Dead or Alive 5, it felt like some players didn’t know where the danger zones (trap-like areas in the arena) were and they missed out on one of the big features. How are players going to be able to find out what spots they should slam their opponent into?


Being a fighting game, if you make the attraction zones very obvious it kind of spoils the fun of it because you will continuously try to aim for those and it will feel repetitive. Right now, we have some easy to understand zones, which have a bit of color or other graphical differences so players will assume something happens there. We also have hidden zones, which we don’t want to spoil. We want to leave it up to the players to find out so they won’t get bored of the stages and have incentive to play them.


dynamic_01 dynamic_04


The danger zones remind me of Eternal Champions, which had zones called "overkills" where you can knock the other player into the background to kill them.


Hmm… I don’t remember it, sorry.


Do you think the danger zones are over powered? Like I played with one guy who knew where the danger zones were in the army stage and I felt kind of helpless. In Street Fighter, you remember and practice combinations, but if feels like the key to DOA5 is knowing where these secret spots are and luring the other player into them.


The correct approach to mastering all fighting games is learning the basics first. In Street Fighter, it’s about distance. How do you approach a situation with hadoken or shoryuken. Whether its combos or in this case danger zones, the people that remember them and practice them should be the winners. It’s kind of like the reward for all of the hard work practicing. The person who is the best player should win.


Going back tot he shoryuken and hadoken analogy, with Dead or Alive 5 I could hit someone in the same danger zone over and over with Zack and then do the same thing with Lei Fang. I mean once I know where the spots are, since they do so much damage, I feel like I could utilize those rather than learning combos or anything like that. How do you balance this?


The main thing would be to balance the character’s attributes. For starters, we’re balancing each character so if you don’t need danger zones how would the fight play out? We’re starting from there. Since danger zones come into play you have some characters who are good at pushing characters into a danger zone and other characters that are good when they’re about to be blasted in a danger zone. IN the Dead or Alive series, we balance with that dimension as well. By changing characters attributes and their starting position in the stage we can adjust the game’s balance.


Fight_oil rig_mid tier


Are you also working on a Wii U version since Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge will launch alongside the system?


Right now, we’re doing our best to get the game ready for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. After players get their hands on Dead or Alive 5 we want to hear what they think and based on that we’ll see if we should make a Wii U version.


What do you think about the fighting game explosion? Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is coming out as a download and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 launches a week before Dead or Alive 5 too.


I’m a fighting game fanatic, so it’s good for me. I was a tournament player before, so as a massive fan it’s amazing. For Dead or Alive 5, we wanted to show our approach on how to push the genre forward even though there are a lot of opponents out there.


As a player in the past, didn’t it feel like before companies would release a game on a cart and that would be it? These days, developing a fighting game is kind of like running a MMO with patches and updates to rebalance the title.


It takes quite a bit of time for players to find what the good and bad points of the game are. Maybe up to a year or two for people to really understand how well balanced the game is. You can always find the core balancing mistakes then. Releasing a patch a year or two later isn’t a bad thing if you can improve the experience.


But, companies aren’t releasing patches a year or two later, they’re releasing them like three months later.


For fatal mistakes that were left out in development a game should get a patch really quickly. It really depends on the game as well, but it’s our job as developers to see if we made mistakes. Unless there are fatal mistakes, I don’t think we need to have them so frequently.



The Dead or Alive series has had a couple of spinoffs with volleyball and Ayane representing the series in Warriors Orochi. What kind of spinoff would you want to make?


I have a few ideas, but I’ve been really busy with Dead or Alive 5 so I haven’t had any time to develop them. After Dead or Alive 5, we’ll see what fans are saying first.

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  • malek86

    DOA used to be all about counters. Ok, that needed to go. But if they make this all about danger zones, what was the point? Hopefully they really will have a way to balance things out. Having a characters that is good at not being caught in traps, doesn’t sound as advantageous as having a character who is good at pushing others into traps, at least in a non-competitive setting (I guess pros can get good at avoiding traps, but most casual players stay on the offensive). Well, we’ll see.

    Also I think it’s good we are getting patches now. Before, you’d put the game on a cart and that was it: if there were any bugs or glitches, you were screwed until a reissue. Now at least you can adjust things much more easily.

    • Jiikae

      The DOA series has always been about danger zones bro. This isn’t a new feature.

  • MrSirFeatherFang

    If I searched right, this guy didn’t work on Ninja Gaiden 3. I mention that because, while the game is different, it’s a good action game, but he mentions about patches and such which Ninja Gaiden 3 really needed… EDIT(patches not to change the game, but like slow downs, glitches, etc.) Well can’t do anything now…
    Preordered the Collector’s Edition. Can’t wait for this to come out ^_^

    • GibbRS

      Maybe he did work on NG3 but didn’t want to admit it.  I wouldn’t put it on my resume either…

      Anyway, I’m stoked about this game.  I really hope the danger zones don’t become a gimmick that makes every fight unbalanced, but I do like the idea of danger zones.  DOA has always had really impressive and interesting stages, and this one looks to be no different.

  • Anime10121

    I’m kinda weary on the whole “Danger Zone” thing, especially if they take up so much damage.  Why would they make it so you can constantly spam that feature over and over again? I think it’d make more sense to be able to use the Danger Zone once per battle and have the rest of the fight be based on, you know FIGHTING.  I just hope this doesn’t turn the game into Danger Zone’s R US :(

  • Darkrise

    What, no mention as to why they decided to emphasize sexual appeal even though they’ve said that it’ll no longer be focused on?

    “The way we’re treating the Dead or Alive 5 characters is they
    have a personality like you or me, so we won’t have customizable items.
    That said, some characters have accessories that fall off like Zack.”

    What about clothing?

    • Crimson_Cloud

       Apparently, the characters themselves picked the clothes, not the developers. :P

  • Hell yeah you need a Wii U version. DOA Dimension opened the world of DOA to people like me. I would love to continue playing the series if it’s on a Nintendo console.

    • SDDMN

      Agreed, I played Dimensions and it’s a great DOA game. It would be awesome to see DOA5 come to the Wii U in the future.

      Guess we’ll wait and see.

    • Guest

       No ones forcing you to just buy Nintendo products you know…

    • kylehyde

       Same here, I became really interested in another DOA with Dimensions, I hope that they end to bring it to Wii U too.

  • Guest

    One thing I never got was how come Kasumi and Hayate are never in a Ninja Gaiden game?

    • Anime10121

      If I remember correctly, Kasumi was hinted as being in 3 in Sigma 2 (she was in the ending credits) but I dont think anything ever materialized from it:(

  • Tee Niitris

    I’m not concerned about stages effecting the balance of gameplay; I think it adds another interesting element to the battle. Sure some people will look at state traps and only concern themselves with using those, but a better practiced player of [any] fighter knows that it’s about pressuring opponents to make them do what you want them to do. Could the game become about “pressuring opponent into danger zones?” Perhaps, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal; it’s no different from “forcing your opponent into a corner.” Of course, the atheistic of danger zones have to be reasonable too, like not taking too much damage, easy juggle opportunities, etc…

    I am concerned that the “cinematic” aspect and presentation of these danger zones will make DoA5 look gimmicky.

    Also, I understand the whole “these characters have personalities,” but their identity could stand out even more with customizations that fit their personality, so I don’t agree with that idea. Besides, customization = more versatility = better game (usually)

    • Göran Isacson

      Agreed with the last part. I’d like to think that each character could get something like alternative outfits and accessories that you could give them that each felt like it would really be part of their actual wardrobe. I think Tekken already does that, so it can be done.

  • Tom_Phoenix

    I guess now we know what the development team was listening to while making this game:

  • XypherCode

    Great interview. But does the game let you toggle the danger zones on and off? I mean, it’s a natural thing in the DOA series but in 5 it’s like a different feature thing now (not that it’s a bad thing I kinda like it). It’s fun but it might not be for others who wants to play pure fist 1-on-1.

    • raymk

      Yes u can,in fact its in a few videos on youtube that you can view and its in the actual game demo.

  • JustAnotherTraveler

    I’m glad there is not customization. I really feel like this push for 3D fighters to have customizable characters and such is depersonalizing the cast, especially in SouLCalibur V where at that point they might as well not even have characters anymore, but just static fighting styles since almost all of the story was left out of the game and such. Tekken handles it fairly well by making the customizing options unique to each character, but personally I just like this Tecmo approach where they try to give each character a very large number of highly unique costumes. To me fighting game characters should have a story, a theme, a stage, unique dialogue, and unique outfits. It saddens me these days when games like Street Fighter IV choose not to give everyone a unique stage, something I always felt was a standard in 2D fighters. 


    I agree with him on the balance patches. In Soul Calibur V, Tira was a really great character. She was 10x better than how she played in SC:IV, Namco addressed the issues in SC:V that made Tira terrible. 3 months later they released a patch that completely ruined her and a few other characters. IMO now she’s just slightly better than her SC:IV counter part.

  • I’d love to see a Wii U version as I’ve decided to hold off buying PS3 multiplats if they’re also on Wii U. I dunno if its the game or my old beat up PS3 but I’ve had serious performance issues with games on my PS3. If I had a 360 I’d buy the multiplats for that instead. I’d imagine the games would play a lot smoother on the Wii U at this point.

    Bit of a tangent there, DoA 5 is looking good, still wish the faces looked like they used too. Ayane has gone through some serious facial reconstruction surgery in Team Ninjas latest titles. In Sigma 2 she was barely even the same character.

  • Nitraion

    I don’t want Char creation I hope char costumizetion like Virtua fighter or Tekken and maybe mode like Virtua Quest since they joining with Virtua fighter team that will be prolong game’s life span…
    But i just happy because they not ditch Story mode…:D my statement above just suggestion

    • ShawnOtakuSomething

       Virtua Quest <3

  • Andreas

    I´ve bought a 360 just to play DoA5, please, don´t do the same as the other fighting games, the only one that has kept its identity has been Street fighter so do your best to not introduce customization features, DoA characters have a lot of charisma, thats why outfits are so important, i love the new look of the game, i cannot wait to play it, i´ll buy it anyway but make your best to bring us a lot of costumes and replayability in story mode, and if you decide to make a DoAX3 with the new graphic style, you count on me.

  • ArcadiaSymphonia

    Two things: 1. At least he dosent complain about his competition like you know who and 2. I feel with the ease it is with game companies these days to “fix” their games i feel like they are not taking their time to make a good quality game but instead to get it out before things like the holiday season

  • KuroiKen

    “No paid downloadable content”.
    Now it sounds better.

  • Speedo Redempteur

    Nice interview … i don’t think they should go crazy on the cross over side but at least they are thinking about it …

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