Game Grind: Wet, Hot, American Controversy

Happy Saturday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! This is Game Grind, the place where anything regarding video games, video game culture, or the video game industry is covered…or uncovered. (I promise that that joke will make sense in a minute.) Today’s topic is something that has become a bit of a controversy this past week. This event has aroused many opinions from gamers and has caused hard lines to be drawn between groups with differing views. I’m referring to the news that the game Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 will not be seeing a western release; allegedly due to censorship issues.

Dead or Alive Extreem 3

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist making those lame jokes. Apparently I’m twelve ūüėõ )

The Dead or Alive games are Japanese combo based fighting games that, while not exactly at the forefront of the fighting game genre, have been received well by fans and critics with the highest rated game in the series, Dead or Alive 2, having received a 9/10 from GameInformer and a 9.4/10 from IGN. Dead or Alive is most famous (or infamous depending on your viewpoint) for having highly sexualized characters in revealing attire. The Dead or Alive Xtreme series, is a spin-off series that drops the fighting aspect of the game and instead is a collection of mini-games featuring the female characters from the main series of games on a tropical island. In the DoAX (the shorthand for Dead or Alive Xtreme) series the women look like and are dressed like this:

doax

And this:

DoAx 2

And this:

doAx 3

And also this:

DoAx 4

So yeah, it’s that kind of game and the creators of DoAX wear that on their sleeves (I don’t think any of the characters have sleeves, though). This side series has generally received average to good reviews,¬†with the first game¬†being considered the better of the two released so far.¬†A problem for the side series, though, is that¬†the games have never sold particularly well.¬†¬†The second game DoAX game was an Xbox 360 exclusive, which extremely limited the number of copies sold in Asia, and the lackluster quality and Mature rating also limited sales in the West.

With this in mind, it is unsurprising that it was announced that DoAX3 would not be receiving a Western release. It is not uncommon for Japanese games not forego the localization process if it is believed that they will not sell well enough in Western markets for the time and effort put into the process to be worth it. However, I would not be writing this article if the publishers of the game had said, “We won’t be releasing this game in the US because our studies estimate that our game won’t sell particularly well in those markets”. Instead the creators of Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, Koei Tecmo,¬†claimed that the newest game will not be¬†released in¬†English, due to,¬†“many issues happening in video game industry with regard to how to treat female in video game industry”.

I should make it clear that the previous quote is accurate, but the conversation it comes from is a poorly translated Facebook Q and A session.

doax 5

This statement, which is clearly difficult to discern any accurate meaning or intention from, has caused many individuals to feel that the game will not be coming to the West due to the changing climate regarding the appropriate way to depict women in video games. These individuals, many of whom have ties to the ongoing Gamer Gate controversy (that is a WHOLE ‘nother blog post in itself), are claiming that “Social Justice Warriors” have caused this game to be “censored” and are upset about this because it violates their views of what ethics in video games and video game journalism should be. (That topic is actually a series of blog posts in itself.) That’s more or less where the situation stands currently and it is more than likely that this incident will continue to be used in arguments relating to the video game industry for years to come.

My view on this subject is fairly simple, a lot of people are getting played. Koei Tecmo and it’s international distributor, Play Asia, are intentionally trying to create controversy around DoAX3 so that more people hear about it and more people buy it. This technique is not new in the business world and it certainly not new in the video game world. Using controversy to sell games has been around since home video game consoles first became a thing. You could even argue that this sales strategy is what actually allowed games, such as the Grand¬†Theft Auto series, to become as popular as what they are today. There’s a reason that Play Asia tweeted out that a version of DoAX3 with English subtitles will be available for English speakers to import, most likely for an additional cost, shortly after it was announced that DoAX3 would not be localized. The more this controversy grows, the more money the creators of the game are going to make. Whether or not that is ethical, I do not know. However, I do know that I wish I didn’t have to listen to a ridiculous number of people angrily fussing about this corporately designed, non-issue of a “controversy” on the internet.

That wraps up this latest installment of Game Grind. If you enjoyed it please leave a comment down below and (or leave a like if the thumbnail on the Facebook page brought you here), if you have an opinion you wish to express on this matter, please leave a comment as well. As always, you can stay up to date with BaddaBing BaddaBlog by subscribing in the upper right tab via email. Alternatively, you can stay caught up by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog FaceBook Page or by following me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving weekend and that you come back here on Monday for the latest installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

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Game Grind: Wet, Hot, American Controversy

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