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Yosuke Hayashi, head of the post-Tomonobu Itagaki Team Ninja, says the studio's prurient days are behind it. The upcoming Ninja Gaiden 3 and Dead or Alive 5 continue two series long known for bloody violence and Russ Meyer-esque levels of playful sexism – but Hayashi says players expecting the titles to bring the same “cheap thrills” of their predecessors are in for a surprise.

“It was very obvious,” Hayashi tells Gamasutra, that Team Ninja's output was known for “two primary elements: sex and violence.” With the new Ninja Gaiden, for instance, the director “wanted to give meaning to violence,” he says. “Why does this happen? We want to link emotion to violence.” The new Ninja Gaiden looks to take a more character-based approach to series hero Ryu Hayabusa, and Hayashi says the team aims to produce “a game that is for mature audiences, that can make adults think.”

Similarly, Hayashi says Dead or Alive has traditionally been known for its Sports Illustrated-style presentation of women, “like a magazine for high school kids, with women portrayed in that sense. But that's not what we want.” He says the new game aims to “show something that's more high class,” saying he wants players to look at any given heroine and “be impressed with her as a woman, not just as a pin-up.” Here's some new shots of the game: if these don't do it for you in the same way earlier iterations have, just remember you'll always have Soulcalibur.

9 comments

  • Omegadash - February 15, 2012 11:34 p.m.

    I didn't fully agree with Itagaki's design. I loved his style of gameplay but feel it lacked progression from 1 to 2. I don't feel slowing down the combat and adding QTE to a game makes it classy though :P
  • samsneeze - February 15, 2012 8:06 p.m.

    And then there is the whole "making the game serious business." Dead or Alive was never meant to be taken serious. It already told a rather competent and coherent story, then, once again, Dimensions came along and jumbled everything together trying to fit it in one game. And they turned anyone not part of the main story into air head one note, dumbasses. Hitomi is a vapid fan girl. All of the men have no problem knocking the women down for talking. Leon is treated like he doesn't exist. Bass is just there to growl. I can't even remember if they even used Tina in the story or not. What about Zack? Is he supposed to be serious too? He's supposed to be Dennis Rodman at the peak of his insanity. There is nothing to take serious about that. The list goes on. Dimensions is not a clear representation of what the series is at all and is just a blueprint for whats to come. “like a magazine for high school kids, with women portrayed in that sense. But that's not what we want.” Wait, what? Did Hayashi ever even play a Dead or Alive game? I mean, I could see where he's coming from, but the women in the series were already plenty strong before he started to make them depend on the men. No seriously. Tina wasn't just some model because it's sexy. She was a model because she was ambitious. She wanted to be something her father could be proud of, although he just wanted her to lead a simple life. This is reinforced by the fact that she lost her mother at a young age. Then there is Christie, who is a fucking assassin. She killed Helena's mother and later became "friends" with her as part of her contract with Donovan. Helena, after losing her mother and having to take over DOATEC, spent her time trying to fix the things she and her family had done. Kasumi and Ayane are the best examples. Kasumi left her village on her own after her brother Hayate went missing during the first tournament. This would mean that she could never return and would be hunted for the rest of her life. Ayane was charged with finding and killing her sister Kasumi. This didn't bother Ayane because she had a growing resentment for Kasumi due to the way she was treated. Ayane is Kasumi's half-sister and her father is Radou. Radou raped Kasumi's mother and was subsequently booted from the village because of it. That and the fact that Ayane was cursed at birth and has the eyes to match. So yeah, there's that and about twenty other characters with great back stories going for them already. Hayashi just wants to turn Dead or Alive into a fanfic and Team Ninja into a joke of a development team. People who say Team Ninja is better post Itagaki are just wrong.
  • minimaxi - February 15, 2012 7:16 p.m.

    As a fighting game nut, I'm anticipating doa5 as a 'party' game, without gratuitous T&A it better have a damn good fight system. Even if so, I would still be dissapointed if Christie doesn't have questionable attire
  • samsneeze - February 15, 2012 7:37 p.m.

    Dead or Alive has always had a good fight system. Until Dimensions came along and set it back two or three paces. DoA5 looks like it's going to be too busy making the game accessible and not enough time balancing it. In Dead or Alive 4 you had to know your opponent in order to counter. It was cut in half to stop people from spamming the feature. The closest description you can get of Dead or Alive 5 at this point is DoA2 with QTEs thrown in.
  • minimaxi - February 16, 2012 9:25 p.m.

    I didn't particularly dig doa4's system being 'counter-fest' probably the same way tekken haters hate its dial-a-combo juggles; a bad first impression that prevents me from digging deeper. And from skimmimng through doa forums I thought 4 was indeed the low point of doa with 3 being the highlight :)
  • samsneeze - February 16, 2012 11:11 p.m.

    That was only people being butthurt over difficulty and the forums are just full of people mad at change. There is nothing wrong with change so long as it's for the better. What I was saying was Dead or Alive 4 fixed the counter fest by making it harder to pull off and even had the characters attacks changed a bit here and there so people would stop abusing certain ones. Seriously, the counter system from earlier games was broken. One of the counter motions blocked a good seventy percent of all attacks you could pull off with any given character.
  • angelusdlion - February 15, 2012 7:13 p.m.

    Glad to hear. I got sick of Tomonobu Itagaki's swallowing his own bull*hit. He really was like a rock star... Axl Rose.. Bloated, stupid and firm believer in his own hype that succeeded because of who he was with rather than what he did.
  • n00b - February 15, 2012 6:15 p.m.

    oh man im gonna miss the cheep fanservice and xtreme volleyball series (Brett Elston voice) "oh well"
  • R-ape - February 15, 2012 5:55 p.m.

    I hope by classy they don't mean to have a serious plotline. The series' boss fights and end bosses are about as plausible as the boss fights in the Genesis Shinobi games.

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