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.