Back in 2015, video game publisher Koei Tecmo caused controversy when it announced that its upcoming Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 game would not be released in the West, and that it would only hit Asian markets this year.
Although this was hardly a disappointment for anyone, as earlier games in the series were certainly not video game masterpieces due to their poor gameplay and a serious lack of features.
And the reason why Koei Tecmo decided not to release Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 in the West was clearly the game’s unabashed sexism, as playing Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 mostly involves peeking at girls and playing a series of ludicrous mini-games. In one such game two girls fight with their butts attempting to push each other into a pool, although admittedly others like the series “iconic” beach volleyball and casino games like roulette aren’t half-bad…
Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 is clearly a sexist game though, and not only due to the way it portrays its cast of bikini-clad females, with their oversized breasts and curves that would make a supermodel envious… Because the game also encourages players to buy the girls gifts to earn their affection, while its new microtransactions let players buy even more revealing outfits for the girls (which are frankly reduced to the status of sex objects in this voyeuristic game).
Of course, no matter how sexist or sensational Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 is, it is simply not a good game as it boasts even less features and options than earlier titles in the series and tedious mini-games, its only sales point being its collection of provocatively dressed (but admittedly gorgeously rendered) girls. And surely some people must get a kick out of seeing these virtual girls engage in silly activities in their revealing outfits in Koei Tecmo’s game.
But no matter how much it can be argued that Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 is not good entertainment and that Koei Tecmo’s game is unashamedly sexist, the truth is that these games keep getting made because there is an audience for them, and even if they are not video game blockbusters like GTA V, they still sell well.
The success of the Dead or Alive games in Asia also shows there is a divergence in values and attitudes between western and eastern audiences, especially when it comes to sexism in video games, as audiences in Asian countries appear to be less sensitive about these issues than westerners are, and that’s likely the main reason why Koei Tecmo chose not to release Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 in the West. But even if it did not hit western markets, Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 still caused plenty of controversy and debate, making Koei Tecmo’s game arguably the most controversial video game release of 2016 by far.