DA 2

Like the boobs of its busty characters, the chances of a western release for video game Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 seem to be swaying back and forth.

Japanese society has hardly batted an eyelash over the upcoming domestic release of the game, which transplants the well-endowed female martial artists of the Dead or Alive fighting game series into a beach volleyball/swimwear modeling simulator. Publisher Koei Tecmo has said, however, that it has no plans to bring its bosomy cash cow the U.S. or EU, citing “issues…[in] regard to how to treat female[s] in video game[s].”

The announcement has prompted several fans of the long-running Xtreme subseries to loudly announce they’ll import the Asian release of the game. Not only would it be compatible on the non-region-locked PlayStation 4 hardware owned by North American and European gamers, it’s also believed that the Asian version of the game will include English menus and subtitling.

Still, specially importing a game adds time and cost to the process of getting your gaming fix. There may be another way for those outside of Japan and the rest of Asia to play the game, though. If Koei Tecmo itself isn’t interested in selling Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 in the U.S. and EU, two local companies are willing to step in.

Championing the game for the North American market is game developer HuniePot, which made a name for itself with its tile matching/adult dating simulator HuniePop, which released last January. Compared to the explicit sexual content of HuniePop, and its currently in-development HunieCam Studio (which invites players to “Become the ultimate smut peddler!”), Dead or Alive Xtreme 3’s scenes of bikini-clad young women frolicking on the sand and relaxing by the poolside seem squeaky clean, and are well within the limits of what HuniePot is comfortable attaching its name to, and the company says it would happily pay Koei Tecmo one million dollars for the rights to publish the game in North America.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Instacodez, an online video game retailer with offices in Dubai and Madrid, is offering twice as much, although without specifying whether its figure is in US dollars or Euros.

▼ And if it’s in yen, then it’s the equivalent of less than US$16,700, making this a case of extreme lowballing while trying to help out blue-balled Dead or Alive Xtreme fans.

So does this mean import-averse gamers should break out the lotion (of the “suntan” variety, of course)? After all, HuniePot seems to make a pretty compelling argument here.

Except it’s debatable whether or not taking HuniePot’s offer would really produce a net gain of one million dollars for Koei Tecmo. Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 is aimed at a very defined demographic of young, techno-savvy males, most of whom assumedly know places they can import the game from. Koei Tecmo’s per-sale revenue is going to be higher from such import sales than it would be if it licenses the game to HuniePot or another publisher, as the local partner will of course need its cut of the sales revenue too.

▼ The three Bs of Dead or Alive Xtreme: Boobs, butts, and business

From a strictly bottom-line standpoint, the issue thus becomes whether Koei Tecmo thinks licensing the game for official western release will boost sales by enough to offset the lower per-sale revenue that comes with an arrangement, even when factoring in HuniePot’s upfront one-million-dollar payment.

There’s also the question of how such a partnership would affect the reputation of Koei Tecmo and its products, which goes beyond simply the risk of being called offensive or sexist, though that too is a potential pitfall. As we mentioned above, HuniePot’s self-developed offerings go far beyond the PG-13 titillation objectives of the Dead or Alive franchise, and Koei Tecmo may or may not want to be associated with the company, especially in light of its professed reason for not publishing Xtreme 3 in the West on its own.

On the other end of the spectrum, while HuniePot is a small, recently formed company, Koei Tecmo is one of the giants of the gaming industry. Japanese companies are often extremely wary of having their products be sales failures overseas, and given the difference in scale between Koei Tecmo and HuniePot, Koei Tecmo might not think the fledgling operation can provide the level of marketing and promotion a North American version of Xtreme 3 deserves and requires in order to be a success.

Nevertheless, the offers from HuniePot and Instacodez are out there, so the volleyball is now in Koei Tecmo’s court.

Sources: Dual Shockers via Hachima Kiko, Anime News Network, Breit Bart
Top image: Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 Facebook