'Virtua Fighter' in 'Dead or Alive 5': What's in it for Sega?

Team Ninja's Yosuke Hayashi talks about the franchise crossover.

Fighting game crossovers seem more common than not these days, but it was still surprising when Tecmo announced three months ago that Virtua Fighter characters would appear in Dead or Alive 5, given how serious the VF series has taken itself in the past.

Unlike most fighting series crossovers, though, this one — at least, for now — is a one way street. Akira and Sarah will appear in Dead or Alive 5, but Sega has announced nothing about DOA characters appearing in a Virtua Fighter.

It's classic marketing that the underdog likes to position themselves next to the leader, and while Virtua Fighter might not be as dominant as it used to be, the deal clearly benefits Tecmo. Which made me wonder: What does Sega get out of this, aside from a bit of collateral marketing?

According to Team Ninja producer Yosuke Hayashi, Tecmo approached Sega about the deal, and money never exchanged hands. "It's not about the money," he says through a translator. "We really just wanted to celebrate this occasion for Dead or Alive 5 ... we're really grateful to Sega."

In that case, does Sega now have the rights to feature Dead or Alive characters in its games?

"When we approached the Virtua Fighter team, we definitely told them, 'You can use our characters for the future of the Virtua Fighter series,'" he says. "For now, we're just focused on getting their characters in Dead or Alive ... but moving forward, we're very open minded for Sega and VF to feature DOA characters."

And with Virtua Fighter characters appearing, why not go the route of Street Fighter X Tekken and make it a full crossover?

"When we started Dead or Alive 5, we came up with the concept of 'fighting entertainment,'" Hayashi says. "It's kind of the natural progression of the DOA series, since we've always had that extra dimension with the stages and everything. ... I think if we actually did a Dead or Alive vs Virtua Fighter thing, it wouldn't have matched our concept 100% ... so this time we've decided to only take a few characters and feature them in DOA."

Notice his phrase "a few." That might be a translation hiccup, but to date Tecmo has only announced two Virtua Fighter fighters, noting that the final roster has not been released but not confirming whether there will be additional guest characters. However it plays out, Dead of Alive 5 is scheduled for release in September.

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