Tecmo Koei announced Dead or Alive 5 this morning, alongside a relatively rote trailer and a surprisingly maudlin "key visual."
What's a "key visual"? Honestly I'm not entirely sure. I think it's some kind of Japanese-to-English translation quirk that would otherwise mean "promotional image."
It's a picture, is what I'm saying here. I've attached a pertinent copy at right, though I'd recommend having a look at the full-sized image at the Tecmo Koei Facebook page.
As for what it's a picture of, well, that's kinda murky. I'd assume it's Kasumi, based on skin tone and canonical prevalence, but beyond that I'm lost. Why is she crying? Does she need a hug? Is this going to be sexualized by the internet in the creepiest anthropomorphization of a gaming character since Rule 34 met the Weighted Companion Cube?
The answer to that last question is "of course, because there is no kind and loving god," but we'll likely have to wait until the game ships (or Tecmo Koei drops another batch of media) before we learn the source of these worrying tears.
Now, on to something a bit easier to explain: punching!
This debut trailer for Dead or Alive 5 is described as "pre-alpha," yet it seems to include all the classic aspects we've come to expect from Team Ninja's hyper-kinetic fighter. Say what you will about the game's simplicity or lack of depth, but for pure aesthetic appeal, its hard to top the Dead or Alive games.
Visuals aside, two things immediately jump out at me here. First, I love how "alive" that stage seems to be. That crane swinging through the background and knocking stuff over is a neat touch, and the bit of caution tape that Ryu kicks through is a nice step toward creating fighting arenas that seem like actual, real-world environments.
Second, that attack at the end where Hayate nearly punches Ryu off the side of the roof -- what was that? Since when can he slow down time? For that matter, since when can characters catch themselves before falling off of Dead or Alive's multi-tiered stages? Yes, I realize they're both ninjas and ninjas are like unto wizards in terms of awesome, unexpected things they can do, but is this a whole new game mechanic, or merely a bit of visual flourish to conclude the trailer?
Maybe that's why Kasumi is crying. She doesn't know either. Congratulations Tecmo Koei. In your quest to hype your next fighting game, you've made a fictional ninja girl cry. I hope you're happy, you monster.