Tomonobu Itagaki On Dead or Alive Characters’ Original Names


Over on his Facebook page, former Dead or Alive director Tomonobu Itagaki has shared some insight into the game’s characters and what their names were originally going to be, prior to the release of the final version of Dead or Alive 1.


Itagaki posted the information in response to a fan asking about screenshots from the prototype build of Dead or Alive 1 on the Sega Model 2 arcade hardware. The screenshots showed off a character named Kelly (above), who wasn’t included in the final game. In reply to the comment, Itagaki stated:


Kelly was the first character we developed. It was first experience for us (original members of Team NINJA), so the completion rate of Kelly’s was low. So I had to decide to reject Kelly.Anyway. Certainly, the almost characters’ name has changed. I’ll write those here. code name -> Name in product.

Kasumi –> Kasumi

Loo -> Jann Lee

Lei Fang -> Lei Fang

Tina –> Tina

Karasu -> Kamui -> Ryu Hayabusa

Gatsby –> Bayman

Hong Dee –> Genfu

Fang Fu –> Raidou

*depends on my memory


You will easily find that there’re only seven characters. We strongly believed that Fighting games have to provide at least eight characters. But the rest time we had was too short. So, I and Ehara (lead designer) decided. “Let’s develop Kelly again from the scratch”

That was reason why Zack was born.


In summary, the character that was originally going to be Kelly was scrapped, and Zack was created to replace him and fill out the roster.


Image courtesy Unnamed Arcade Games via DOA Wiki.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.