Way back in February, I had the opportunity to spend a short amount of time with five different Tecmo Koei games. Among the crowd was Team Ninja’s Dead or Alive 5. While I loved what I played (and communicated that), fans of the genre and the series wanted more from the preview. Thankfully, they were also willing to help fill in the gaps by providing a series of questions for the development team. We’ve just received the response from Team Ninja and are glad to be able to share them with you.

Special thanks to Dead or Alive fans Daniel Chlebowczyk, Rikuto at FreeStepDodge.com and Chris S. for their contributions.

RipTen:  One of the things that sticks out to fighting game enthusiasts about the Dead or Alive series is the counter system. Are there any changes planned for how counters work in Dead or Alive 5?

Team Ninja: In the Alpha version demo (we just released with Ninja Gaiden 3) we have added new, very powerful expert holds.  By having both the standard low/mid/high holds and expert holds, both pro and casual gamers can get into the action.  With standard holds, the recovery period is long and the damage not so great.  However, expert holds require players to be able to judge their execution timing much more precisely, but the recovery for those is much shorter.  Holds are a crucial part of fights, so we are gathering as much feedback as possible and adjusting this system to make it as fun as possible.

RipTen:  Will Dead or Alive 5 use netcode from previous versions, or are there plans to rebuild it from the ground up?

Team Ninja:  We are definitely trying some new things, so we’ll let you know more about them in due time.

RipTen:  Are power blows going to be mapped to a new button or will they be triggered through a combination (like Free+Punch+Kick)? Are they new moves or just powered up versions of returning moves? Do they take the place of charged moves from previous entries?

Team Ninja: The command for Power Blow is H+P+K. This is mapped to the R1 (PS3) or RB (X360) button as a shortcut.  Each Power Blow is a brand new technique.  We are taking into account each character’s concept and making the Power Blow unique to them. You should be able to see the character in the move.  Power Blows are one of those big, in-your-face techniques that even fighting game beginners, who maybe can’t do juggles yet, would want to try and pull off.  We are experimenting with a lot of elements in the demo so we hope that players can feel what we are trying to accomplish with Dead or Alive 5.

RipTen:  Are there safeguards in place to prevent abuse of the sidestep-canceling “power blows”? For instance, is there a recovery period?

Team Ninja: Currently, the quickest start-up for a Power Blow is 40 frames.  When you are trying to pull this off in a fight it’s a risky maneuver.  We are adding in side-step canceling maneuvers in order to prevent the game from being just about reading the attack and executing a hold.  Also, when you get hit while you are sidestepping, all the attacks will have same damage as a High Counter.   So if you get hit, you are taking 1.5 times the damage of a normal hit.  Moreover, the recovery period is long so if you abuse sidestepping too much you will most likely lose the fight.  I think you’ll see very different fights from expert players who can read the fight conditions better and time their usage accordingly. We’re really looking forward to see experts get into it.

RipTen: Do power blow moves track the defender or can they be easily sidestepped?

Team Ninja: Power Blow is a straight attack so it can be avoided by sidestepping.  However, in the second half of the sidestep, the character’s movement stops, and you can catch them with your attack.  If you get this timing right you can strike your opponent while they are sidestepping.  We are making each move tactical, so the fights will never fall into a single, repetitive pattern.

RipTen:   It’s been stated that after a power blow hit, the aggressor can direct where the opponent will fly. How does this work?

Team Ninja:  After you execute the Power Blow, for a certain amount of time the camera will change to kind of a third-person shooter angle.  You will then be able to choose the direction (left or right) in which you want to blast your opponent.  For the demo, we have purposely made the window for changing direction last a bit longer because there might be players who only play the demo once.  For the final game, we want to accentuate the action part of this maneuver.

RipTen:  Are there plans to get fan feedback during the development process (like taking current builds to competitions)? Do you have any interest in seeing Dead or Alive 5 on the competition circuit?

Team Ninja: We are looking at the feedback from the demo on a daily basis and seeing if players out there are feeling the things we are trying to do.  Tournaments are places where fighting games lovers, such as all of us, gather so we would definitely want to have them get their hands on Dead or Alive.

RipTen:  Will you be including a Tag mode in Dead or Alive 5?

Team Ninja: Yes we will.  Tag has always been a part of DOA, and we’re not going to start selling it separately now.  We are also considering new fighting systems in addition to Tag mode as well.

RipTen:  Will players be able to share replays either through an in-game system or via YouTube upload?

Team Ninja: I think that different people want different things from replays in Dead or Alive.  We are still thinking about what would make the best approach. We’ll let you know when we have something more concrete.

RipTen: What elements in the game are designed to introduce new players to the series?

Team Ninja: We are thinking and experimenting with different tutorial and training features that can help beginners get used to and memorize the moves in the game.


Dead or Alive 5 is slated for a September 2012 release on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.


Michael Futter is the Managing Editor of @RipTen. You can follow him on Twitter (@mmmfutter).


  1.  Thank you again for doing this Michael. Not very surprisingly, Team Ninja played it safe on the harder questions but they’re probably a bit reluctant to A) reveal much about the game in its current state and B) talk much at all after the harsh criticisms against NG3. C’est la vie.

    • My pleasure. I’m glad we were able to make it happen. Also, as I promised way back, our review is going to be handled with someone who is a longtime fan of the series and understands the genre far better than I do.

      That doesn’t mean I’m not going to buy and play it, though. I mean, you guys need people like me to thrash through… right? :)