What happened to Dead or Alive 6 to turn the series from a rising leap into a resounding flop?

Matt McMuscles examines the short development, poor marketing, and other issues that lead to DOA6’s small life

Dead or Alive was a fighting game franchise that Xbox fans held over the heads of PlayStation and Nintendo owners in the 2000s because of its competition from Tekken, ties to Ninja Gaiden, and, of course, sexy babes — but DOA might soon be just for known to his fans for his service-oriented spin-offs.

Content creator Matt McMuscles has just released the latest installment of his book What Happened? Series to explore the disappointing flop that is/was Dead or Alive 6

After Dead or Alive 5 propelled the franchise to new popularity heights with 12 million downloads, Koei Tecmo began work on the sequel in December 2017. However, some of the game’s biggest problems seeped into the core of DOA6.

Koei Tecmo unveiled the title just 6 months later with an apparent focus on it being a more “serious” fighting game contender to try and shake off the stigma that DOA is that one bouncing fools series.

This apparent attempt to break into the mainstream eSports market had longtime fans worried that DOA would lose all of its unique elements in favor of a cleaner look.

The game’s marketing tried to hit back and placate fans by saying the sexiness was still there, but for many it felt like Tecmo was speaking out of both corners of his mouth.

Dead or Alive 6 was released in early 2019 to mediocre reviews and sales, and things weren’t really going to get any better during its short lifespan.

DOA5’s outrageous DLC strategy returned in full force, along with lengthy unlock grinds for the new game that saw 4 Season Passes that could reach up to $90 and up, as well as the infamous Hair Dye DLC fiasco.

Support for DOA6 would end a little over a year after release, and the series’ future prospects got even bleaker in 2021 when producer Yohei Shimbori announced his departure from Koei Tecmo after 16 years.

In the meantime, the fanservice-filled Dead or Alive Xtreme: Venus Vacation, which first released in 2017, is still getting new DLC, so this could well be the direction the franchise is moving forward.

You can check out Matt McMuscles’ full breakdown on the DOA debacle below, and you might even catch a few brief cameos from someone familiar with the alleged Dead or Alive 7 cancellation.