For the past week, Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja have been teasing an announcement at the Dead or Alive 5 Battle Royale 2017 Grand Finals at Northeast Championship 18 in Pennsylvania. The developer tweeted that fans should be watching the event using the “I’m A Fighter” slogan that was used for Dead or Alive 5’s marketing, leading people to believe that a new game in the series would be announced there.
Instead, Team Ninja ended up holding a funeral for Dead or Alive 5, which was briefly interpreted to be a goodbye to the entire Dead or Alive series.
At the end of the Dead or Alive tournament, a special message from Team Ninja head Yosuke Hayashi and other developers on the team, thanking fans for supporting Dead or Alive 5 with tournaments and tearing up as they described work wrapping up. However, a rough translation made the information unclear, leading to attendees going to social media and reporting that Dead or Alive as a series is ending.
The announcement was also confusing for many because Team Ninja had announced a few months prior that development on Dead or Alive 5 had ended, causing confusion among fans that expected a new game announcement.
A retranslated video appeared shortly after the tournament, clarifying its meaning and emphasizing that the Dead or Alive team is working on something new.
Dead or Alive 5 first released in 2012 on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It has since been ported to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The game has been an extensive DLC moneymaker for Koei Tecmo, with hundreds of dollars of costumes and characters available for sale.
It seems likely that Team Ninja is going to announce Dead or Alive 6 sooner rather, but the optics of this announcement were poorly planned, and at very least should not have lead fans to thinking there would be a new announcement.