Dead or Alive 6 director and producer Yuhei Shimbori talks to us about the upcoming fighter.
Dead or Alive 6 is a significant release for a number of reasons. Not only is it the first Dead or Alive game in six years, it’s also the series’ debut on current-gen console hardware. As this beloved fighting franchise returns, many people are understandably excited to return to its fast and slick action- and we’re certainly among those people. As such, we recently sent across several of our most burning questions about Dead or Alive 6 to Team Ninja’s Yuhei Shimbori, who’s the director and producer of the upcoming fighter, and got quite a few interesting responses from him. Read on below.
"DOA6 has many sides to it, and we are releasing information bit by bit. Although a different side might be seen right now, I think fans will be able to see a side of the game that they do like."
In Dead or Alive 6, the fighting mechanics have been improved a lot as compared to previous games in the series. Does this mean that the series will be moving forward as a serious fighting game?
Yes, that is correct. Actually, the previous game (Dead or Alive 5) also consisted of gameplay that hard core gamers could really get into and play through. However, we also saw that such a system made it harder for new players to get into the game, and there were some people who did get into the game but would quickly quit playing it. We want to create a game where even more people can feel comfortable playing it. So we’re aiming for a game that is both very DOA-like with its mind games, and unfolds in a way that is easy to understand for first time players and viewers to easily enjoy. Our goal is to reach a higher level of entertainment, rather than being just for competitive purposes.
What are some of the major new features and changes players can expect to see in Dead or Alive 6?
The core concept is “intense fighting entertainment” and based on this concept two points have largely changed. The first is the visuals, which have become closer to a natural, more realistic depiction than that in DOA5. We’ve taken on the challenge of depicting bruises and scratches, bleeding, as well as getting faces dirty which we’ve avoided in the past, so players can really feel the game’s more intense fighting elements. The second is the new combat system consisting of the Break Gauge and Fatal Rush. These new elements will help new players aim for victory without feeling the need to give up, and experienced players can battle each other using even deeper strategies that will bring birth to new tactics.
Do you think fans of the series would be disappointed with the change in direction? How would you respond to such concerns?
We haven’t thought of a particular response to this. Fans who are disappointed based on the current level of information may have very creative minds, and I don’t think that it is good to imagine details in a negative way based on limited information and then becoming disappointed from that. DOA6 has many sides to it, and we are releasing information bit by bit. Although a different side might be seen right now, I think fans will be able to see a side of the game that they do like.
Are there plans to make the game popular in the eSports scene? If so, what has been your approach to making this happen?
Regarding eSports, of course it is something we are interested in and have it in mind while developing the game. Though we are not creating the game solely for the purpose of eSports, we consider eSports to be a part of how we can nurture a game we have developed.
"After showing the game at EVO, what I strongly believe is that it is a game system that top players can play with, and one that makes it much easier for players of other fighting games to get into this game."
What can we expect to see from the game’s story?
I can’t say anything in detail about the story at this point, but is it a single story line where many characters play active roles in it. We are looking at improving points that were hard to understand in DOA5.
From what we know of the game so far, one interesting aspect that stood out is how fighters can receive injuries during a fight. Can you let us know how exactly this works?
As a way of showing “intense fighting entertainment,” we’ve included a system that makes it easy to see the dirt and injuries on someone who was in an intense match. The specs may change in the future, but for this game when characters move they sweat, they get dirty if they fall or collide, and after the special skill Break Blow is used they launch a powerful smash that causes visible injury.
On a related note, will the injuries be merely present in appearance or will they also impact gameplay?
It will not impact the fights (ie. not effect gameplay).
Being the sixth game in the series but also being more accessible, will it be difficult for new players to the series to get into the game’s story and action?
After showing the game at EVO, what I strongly believe is that it is a game system that top players can play with, and one that makes it much easier for players of other fighting games to get into this game. 3D fighting games have their quirks and by making it easier to know that ‘THIS move is powerful,’ it widened the entry into this game. It was similar for people who are relatively new to or don’t normally play fighting games, and the controls have become easier, so I think that it is easier than ever for new players to get into the game.
What can you tell us about the online offerings and multiplayer components?
I can’t say anything in detail about it, but our engineers are working really hard on this. Please cheer them on.
Are you considering cross play between PS4 and Xbox One players? That would be awesome!
It’s not something we can promise now, but it is one of my dreams.
"The Switch is a very attractive hardware, but it is seeking something different than what DOA6 is aiming for."
Will Dead or Alive 6 feature Xbox One X specific enhancements? What can players expect if they are playing the game on Xbox One X? Is 4K/60fps on the cards?
We don’t have any plans to differentiate between game systems, so it will pretty much be the differences in system performance that will show up on screen. It’s a result of the differences between CPU and GPU, etc.
And how will the PS4 Pro version turn out in terms of resolution and frame rate?
We are still making adjustments, but prioritizing 60 FPS during matches. After all, DOA6 is a fighting game.
From a development perspective, how do you find the Xbox One X to be? With so much GPU power, we are sure you must be doing some amazing things.
Among game consoles it has very high specs, but our current development status is that we haven’t yet maxed out its capabilities. We are putting a lot of energy into developing DOA6 for the Xbox One X, so we are working together with Microsoft engineers to bring up its performance on this system.
How is the game running on the original Xbox One and PS4, frame rate and resolution wise?
Currently, the graphical needs are very high given the hardware so it is our most challenging issue. We are working hard to ensure the game runs stable at 60 FPS. Our company’s R&D team is working hard on this so please cheer them on. Although they are never in the spotlight, they are the ones supporting our company’s tech.
Do you have any plans to bring the game to Nintendo Switch? If not, why?
The Switch is a very attractive hardware, but it is seeking something different than what DOA6 is aiming for. But we’d like to consider it once development on the game settles down.
Next gen is coming sooner or later. From a development perspective, what is your biggest expectation from the next PlayStation and next Xbox?
Yes, well I hope that DOA6 can be at its best and perform well on the next-gen platforms. And it is really important to have it reach the broader, general audience so I hope they can help with that as well. And I also hope they can make it possible for everyone to play cross platform matches!
"We are still making adjustments, but prioritizing 60 FPS during matches. After all, DOA6 is a fighting game."
What is your take on the on-going controversy of loot boxes and microtransactions
The cost of developing games is growing exponentially, but the price of games themselves has not changed for many years. Also, in order to get as many people as possible to play a game, it is not practical to sell a single game for 110 GBP. Aside from the select games that sell a huge number of copies, the current games in the market are finding it necessary to have microtransactions in order to become profitable.
Whether it’s Loot Boxes, or in-game purchases of individual items, or pay-to-play, or a monthly fee, there are various approaches considered by various people, and players have the choice to select these options. I think our work as developers is to consider plans for various options to select from to attract a greater amount of users.