Evo Japan 2019 kicked off festivities last night in Fukuoka, ushering in a second year of the Evolution Championship Series spin-off event. The broadcast day opened with a special Dead or Alive 6 exhibition, followed by a stage show that apparently got too risqué for the Evo organizers, who later issued an apology.
Dead or Alive has long been known to put its female fighters at the forefront of its marketing campaigns, with an entire “extreme” side series asking the question, “What would they look like in bikinis?” While the folks behind the next mainline installment say they are dedicated to bringing the franchise’s deep combat mechanics to the forefront, the Dead or Alive marketing team leaned hard into the more titillating elements of the franchise when showing the game off at Evo Japan alongside two models.
What began as a simple stage show demonstrating the fighting of Dead or Alive 6 veered off the rails as the women on stage modeled in clothing that had been torn up to show their cleavage and bras.
While waiting for the demo to be ready, the models hopped up and down to mimic the traditional Dead or Alive breast and butt-bouncing physics.
It seems the final straw for the Evo Japan broadcasters, however, was when the Dead or Alive 6 producer showed off the game’s photo mode by pausing an attack while the characters were locked in a pile drive move that, when paused, looked like a sexual embrace.. Just a few minutes later, the Twitch stream abruptly cut to black.
Shortly after, Evo head honcho Joey “Mr. Wizard” Cuellar wrote a now-deleted Tweet stating that the Dead or Alive 6 stage show did not “reflect the core values” of Evo or the fighting game community in general. “We ended the stream temporarily to protect the integrity of our brand,” he added. “We sincerely apologize to our fans.”
Meanwhile, the simultaneous broadcast on Japanese live stream platform OPENREC remained live the entire time.
When the broadcast returned, Evo’s director of global business development Mark “MarkMan” Julio reiterated these sentiments with a second apology. “I just wanna get on stream and apologize on behalf of the Evolution Championship Series,” he explained while commentator Steve “Tasty Steve” Scott sat in silence next to him. “The stuff that was on stream just recently from one of our partners does not reflect, of course, the content and intention of Evo. We do apologize if we offended anyone during the broadcast.”
Evo has not responded to Kotaku’s request for comment.
Ian Walker loves fighting games and loves writing about them even more. You can find him on Twitter at @iantothemax.