Fighting games featuring characters from other fighting games or completely different genre games is nothing new. Still, the Virtua Fighter characters Sarah Bryant and Akira Yuki appearing in Dead or Alive 5 holds a little more meaning for the creators at Team Ninja than the average guest appearance.
In a three-way interview with Weekly Famitsu, Producer Yosuke Hayashi and Director Yohei Shimbori from Team Ninja and Specialist Daichi Katagiri and Asistant Team Manager Haneda Takayuki from SEGA discussed the crossover in the latest Dead or Alive game. For Team Ninja which approached SEGA with the idea, the Virtua Fighter series had always been something they sought to strive for. "Dead or Alive was a series that was born because of Virtua Fighter, and the Virtua Fighter series has always been something we've kept aware of and seen as a target" Said Hayashi. "I've personally always seen Virtua Fighter as the parent and Dead or Alive as the offspring."
With the development of the fifth numbered Dead or Alive game, Team Ninja finally managed to catch up in numbering with their rival/inspiration. With a new number, the developers saw it as a new starting point and a chance to try something new. With that in mind, the developers prepared samples and a proposal to take to SEGA. Having Sarah and Akira appear in Dead or Alive 5 held a great deal of meaning not just in terms of homage. "We wanted both characters because they've been in the Virtua Fighter series from the beginning, and carry with them the history of the series." Explained Hayashi. Katagiri added, "We asked why [Team Ninja] wanted to use these two and were very satisfied with their answer."
For the creators at SEGA, the Dead or Alive series was viewed differently at first. "When I first saw Dead or Alive, my initial impression was, ‘Look at them jiggle.'" Said Katagiri. "But when I actually played the game, the uniqueness of the defense and offense mechanics and the original elements of things like the danger zone were enjoyable and gave me an overall image that it was ‘a series that has evolved in its own way.'"
Now that the Dead or Alive series has caught up with the Virtua Fighter series, people are wondering if SEGA is planning to pull ahead with a Virtua Fighter 6. Said Haneda, "Even if we were to make a Virtua Fighter 6, we would need it to have something to make it worthy of the number ‘6' or we wouldn't be able to give it a number."
When asked if any other characters from Virtua Fighter would be showing up in Dead or Alive 5, Hayashi answered with a laugh, "That's… A secret for now."