Dead Or Alive 5 Ultimate Will Also Be Released As A Freemium Game For PS3

By Spencer . June 3, 2013 . 12:58am


Dead or Alive 5 sold pretty well and Team Ninja leader Yosuke Hayashi has a bold idea to further increase the fanbase. Tecmo Koei will release a Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate base pack as a free download for PlayStation 3.


Speaking with Famitsu, Hayashi says he wants to get many more people wrapped up in the fighting games by letting them see how fun the genre is. When Street Fighter and Viruta Fighter were popular there was a fighting game boom. Those were the golden days and Hayashi thinks he can make a boom happen again, but it’s necessary to get more people involved. That’s why they’re going to release part of Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate for free. Now fighting game novices can practice on their own and get a feel for the genre and there will be a wider range of people playing online.


Kasumi, Ayane, Hayate, and Ryu Hayabusa will be playable in the freemium version of Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate. All characters including newcomers to Ultimate like Momiji can appear as opponents. You can select all of the stages too. Tecmo Koei will also have trial periods with other characters so you might be able to play as Tina for a week and if you like her you can purchase Tina separately.


Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate base pack is enabled for online play. You won’t know if the other player is using the base pack or the retail version of the game. The detailed tutorial mode from Dead or Alive 5+ and training mode are included in the base pack too so you can master the four free characters. Story mode, however, is locked and there is a fee you need to pay to unlock it. Otherwise the four freemium characters work just like they would in the retail version. There is no "gatcha" (like collecting different items for a full set) or stamina that limits the number of plays like Mobile Suit Gundam: Battle Operation. You can play the Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate base pack as much as you want.


Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate base pack will be released for PlayStation 3. Tecmo Koei is talking to Microsoft to see if they can release it for Xbox 360 too.

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  • psycho_bandaid

    You know, I was all ready to bundle up in a righteous rage over this, but then I remembered that I only ever use Ayane, Lei Fang, and Elliot. This would actually save me a lot of money….

    • ArmoredBoar

      Speak for yourself, I only use Hayabusa, Kasumi, Hayate and Brad. I’d just have to pay $4 instead of $40-$50.

      Don’t really get why people are fussing if they can buy the full version if they want anyway.

      • Testsubject909

        I’ll buy the full version.

        I’m not making a fuss.

  • Andrew Norris

    I’ve always thought DoA was a pretty poopy fighting game, but I respect the hell out of their decision to try this business model out.

    • $7573679

      Strange opinion.

      Sure, I’m more into DoA than street fighter for example, but I’d still not call SF a bad game. It’s good in its own regard, even though really different from DoA’s game mechanics.

      But anyhoo, this business model is indeed exciting. Considering the success of DoA 5, it could be considered really brave to attempt this approach. I suspect their agenda is to attempt to capture a much bigger marked share. This is not unlikely considering the quality they put into their product, so it will be interesting to see if it will give an increase in income or if the model is not fit to live in the fighting genre.

      That said, I am afraid that if they decrease their revenues this will be the last we see of it. So I hope people pitch in, at least in the beginning, and not simply freebee just because you can.

  • konsama

    Not that interested in DoA games, but this is sure an interesting approach to people. Might give it a try xD.

    • Testsubject909

      And that’s exactly what they wanted. People who didn’t really care for fighters or whatnot to give it a shot, see if they’ll like it because…

      Hey. It’s free.

  • Suicunesol


    I imagine a lot of people would be angry about this, but it’s not all that bad IF the company doesn’t abuse it. For instance, if you have to buy each character separately, and each one is sold for 4.99 a piece… which is more than likely to happen.

    I will be honest though–I don’t use every character in fighting games. I use only a select few, and every once in a while I try someone new. For me, these characters are Kasumi, Leifang, and Hitomi.

    I think this model would only work well for “arcade-style” games, though, like fighting games and driving games. Story-driven RPGs and the like… I would like to keep traditional…

    • Andrew Norris

      Pretty sure I saw 400 yen a character get tossed around somewhere else, so it’ll probably be 4$. There’s always the option to just get the game normally and get everyone, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were bundles of different groups of characters available at a discount.

      It’ll be a nice option for people who are already familiar with the series who only want their main to play, and possibly buy 1 or 2 sub characters.

  • Kaitsu

    Honestly, this idea is awesome. Especially the free week idea.

  • ThomasTruong

    It’s an interesting approach that actually makes sense for fighters. I wouldn’t be surprised to see future fighting games get this kind of treatment from the outset, and I certainly wouldn’t mind paying only a small fee for the 2 or 3 fighters I use in a game compared to 90% of a roster I wouldn’t touch.

  • gamefreak86

    Hope they give full details at e3. If they don’t use this as dlc for current owners don’t include current dlc or vita crossplay ill just never buy a doauntil its bargain bin price. scratch that, all tecmo games.

  • kenshee

    Hmm, this is actually very interesting.

    They offer some free characters that you can do everything but the story with for 100% free? Since no one is forced into paying unless they want more, that in and of itself is awesome.

    Then there’s the fact that there’s quite a lot of people who just want a couple of characters to play with, but like a variety of opponents. These people save a lot of money sure, but what they’re buying still gives the developer a decent amount of money compared to how much money is lost to retail and such in the middle.

    I would however think this would be completely awesome if they had an option to just unlock the entire game for the same price as the full game.
    Or have the first 10 characters you buy be 3 dollars each, the next 15 only 1 dollar each (I don’t know how many characters there are in the game, I’m just assuming about 20-30?). And then story mode be about 10 to 15.
    Add it all up and you only pay full price if you want the full game and you pay close to nothing if you just want your favorite character to fight against your friends online or something.

    I’m probably just getting the full physical game since there are still things preventing me from buying stuff digitally…
    But I do like the idea :)

    • Patrick Lucas Honeyman

      It is a good idea and a frash one to try on consoles at that. I don’t know how decent new release prices are in the US but in the UK you can normally find a new release at quite a nice rate, definitely very good within a month after release. Therefore, it might be cheaper to just buy the game proper once the price is reduced.

      We’ll have to see how much extra stuff does get put into this newer version of DOA5 when it hits the stores in September.

  • Neppygear

    This seems kinda silly. I don’t see anyone using this as anything but an extended demo, tbh. Why keep paying extra to unlock basic stuff one-by-one rather than just paying once for the whole thing?
    At any rate, a freemium console fighting game? They get points for originality.

    • Testsubject909

      Well, it depends.

      Some people don’t really care for playing as many characters and if they plan on just having the game for themselves and the online play, it might end up being a far lower cost for them to simply unlock the character they want.

      With the idea that all the characters can appear as opponents and that you can have a trial period for them, you can check them out, try them out and if you find that they’re far better to your liking than the starting pack of characters. It would theoretically cost you far less to purchase that character solo.

      Now what I’m wondering is.

      Story mode? Arcade mode? How is that going to fit in that Freemium version?

      But otherwise, I see this as… While yes I understand the “Extended Demo” thing. It’s more of an “Unlimited Demo with full feature access” if you will. There’s no time limit to the base and you have access to features like online play and most likely online ranking and the likes which are tied to your account by default of needing to be identifiable online for such rankings (but thankfully without tying the game specifically to needing to be on your account to be played… Yes, I’m still going on about the XB One.)

      They get points for originality. And for an intelligent and interesting marketing and business plan.

  • WhyWai

    no limit on matches per time period, this itself is very plausible.

  • Dynami

    For tournament-going people who owned DoA5 and are already competitively invested into a character and desire to continue specialising in that character, this must be quite the bargain. Especially if they’re primarily interested in the four free characters :p

    THe fact that the retail disc is conventionally available makes this a really consumer friendly move – the only way to lose is to be a moron, essentially.

    If Story Mode were a base feature (or much cheaper) and practice mode (and only practice mode) let you play every character (so you could get an idea as to whom you’d like to purchase), this could become a really strong model, I think.

  • Demeanor

    Cool idea! This genre is very peculiar, and could benefit greatly from releasing a free mini-version with few characters but the full impact of the game. I’m liking fighters more with each passing day, currently loving the hell out of P4 Arena.

  • Bob Obb

    It’s just a glorified demo.. how can you do good online if you can’t even study 25 out of the 29 characters’ moves?

    But I gotta hand it to Tecmo’s marketing this may get people talking.

    Also, it’s worth pointing out that this “ultimate” version doesn’t even include current DLC. So add $100 to the base price if you want the full experience + the cost of future DLC

    • Slayven19

      Its a good thing the full experience doesn’t come from the DLC in DOA5 anyway. Not that anyone was going to buy all the DLC to begin with.

    • Sardorim

      You aren’t expected to be competitive if you’re on trial…. This is to get them interested in buying.

  • Zonic505

    So they took the DoA5+ demo and made it into a free-to-play model, while still offering a bundle. Rather interesting idea, and can’t wait to see if this’ll work in both Japan & US.

  • Sol- I mean, downloaded!

  • Vesperion

    Uh-Oh those character selection screen question marks, so that means more fun to come.

    Stay Tuned.

  • Cometsu

    I dont see a problem with this. Realistically speaking players on average are in a mindset to ‘main’ a character and stick with maybe just them and an alternate for counter match ups. On a casual side of things it would have a lot more people trying out the game and when they go online and see a character they find interesting they may or may not decide to purchase them to see what theyre about.

  • Nitraion

    Neat idea but I hope TK give more “?” box for ultimate version

  • artemisthemp

    I just hope DoA5 owners will get this a free upgrade or for a minor fee

    • Patrick Lucas Honeyman

      There;ll be no such luck. Not whilst there’s money to be made.

      Would be a nice gesture though. I remember when Dead or Alive Ultimate was released on the XBox. That was an awesome re-imagining of DOA2 there (and had a stack of costumes to unlock to boot).

      DOA Dimensions is pretty decent on 3DS also. Like a best-of for DOA1-4 with a lot of content.

      Hopefully DOA5 Ultimate doesn’t disappoint.

  • eilegz

    and im still waiting for the goty edition with all the DLC

  • Gilgamesh2025

    Exactly what I wanted! :D

  • Tee Niitris

    It’s about time someone tried a F2P system. If this works, no question other developers will follow suit.

    Somewhat ironic that it’d come full circle. There was supposed to be a F2P DoA five years ago but was cancelled.

    The only issue I see is that tournament players won’t be able to practice matchups against certain characters unless they buy them. However those are the type of players that are likely to buy the full game anyway.

    I actually wasn’t going to get Ultimate anytime soon, but I’m really interested in giving this a try.

  • Nameless App 1989

    And when will this be released in America?

    • Slayven19

      That goes without saying. He even mentioned that he wanted more people to play the game and that can’t happen if its only in japan now can it ;)

      • Nameless App 1989

        Shut up and ta…

        *re-reads the term “Freemium”*

        *Sigh* Just give me the blessed thing when it releases.. XD

        • Slayven19

          I feel the same way :D

    • Tee Niitris
  • Linhua

    … o.o … w-well this is a bit different…

  • Repede91

    This a great move. I still hope I can purchase the full game outright on PSN though.

  • Interesting. So maybe a base free game then if you want to play characters you have to buy them?
    I wonder though. Would it be cheaper in the long run to just buy the full game? Or maybe they’ll just keep adding new characters? Hmm…

  • Sardorim

    I may buy Mila….. And the Story Mode.

  • Kelohmello

    I don’t like DoA, I think the mechanics are beyond stupid and it’s just a generally weird game. However I think something like this is pretty interesting. Assuming the full price of everything is as much as a standard game, a freemium concept like this for a fighting game seems very much like something i could support.

  • Darryl Surijpaul

    Well on the website its says you can try out other characters in tutorial and other training what not. Also its states come back soon to see if the 360 version will be available.

  • Heavenly_King

    So, if I want to buy them all, how much it will cost me?

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