I first became aware of Dead or Alive thanks to the ill-fated Sega Saturn Magazine, which once sported a cover image of pro-wrestler Tina, while huge text declared "FOXY BATTLING BABEFEST!" From day one, DoA had found its hook, something to set it apart from competition like Sega's Virtua Fighter and Namco's Tekken, the latter of which still rules the 3D fighting genre today.
Decades have passed since then. We're currently in an experimental era for fighting games, with everyone trying new ideas and concepts. Whether it's Mortal Kombat's cinematic storytelling, Street Fighter's obsession with the eSports scene, King of Fighters' venture into 2.5D, Arc System Works' anime crossover chaos or, bafflingly, Tekken bringing in guest stars from The Walking Dead.
Perhaps realising the need for change, Team Ninja announced last year they'd be taking a new tack with their own franchise. It's time for Dead or Alive to be taken seriously as a fighter, they said. Enough of the cheesecake bouncing boobs, panty shots, and doe-eyed lolis. This would be a new Dead or Alive - for a new world of core values - marketed proudly with the slogan "Fierce Fighting Entertainment."
Not really. As Yogi Berra once said: "It's deja vu all over again."