Remember the Dead or Alive franchise? Well, it's about to make a comeback on 3DS sometime this spring -- and it would have already made an impact in Japan if it wasn't delayed due to a far more important and devastating impact (that you're hopefully helping out with!). The fighting game side of it has been absent from the market for over half a decade. Or maybe I should refer to the entire franchise being absent for that long, because there are all sorts of people who wish Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 never happened.
Now it's due to return with Dead or Alive Dimensions on 3DS. This isn't really a new game in the franchise, but one that takes the story and character elements from all four games and puts them in one. The gameplay itself seems to be a combination of what was found in 3 and 4. And there appears to be a little Metroid thrown in as well. There are perhaps two reasons for this game's existence: the first is this being the franchise's first foray onto a Nintendo system; the second is that it's possible Team Ninja is preparing a new game in the franchise, and they want to get everyone who played and didn't play the older games up to speed. Keep in mind both of those are just speculation on my part, but the likelihood of both of those being true is pretty high.
Oh, but you've seen the title, so you came here to observe some covers. I'll not waste your time any longer. In the interim between its retailer solicitation and the present day, the box art has been changed. That nice cover you see above featuring some nice anime-style artwork of Ryu Hayabusa and Kasumi? Yeah, that's gone. It has been replaced by...
...this. Whatever the hell this is. The cover now features CG renditions of Kasumi and Ryu, the latter of which is relegated to the background. Yeah, it's nowhere near as good, and I'm not sure what Tecmo Koei and Team Ninja were thinking here.
But you didn't think this entry was about a mere cover change, right? There's something else far more interesting here. Take a closer look at every part of the box art, specifically on Kasumi's body. Can you find it? There's a little censorship present on Kasumi's thigh, because apparently it was something us Americans couldn't handle.
It was at this point that I was ready to spew more bile in the ESRB's direction, as Destructoid did, but this doesn't appear to have been their decision. 1up did a follow up story to see whose decision it was to censor the art, and it appears that the decision was Tecmo Koei's. Some people on their team felt there might be some issue with the untouched image. It's a damned shame that things like this keep happening, though it's not quite as bad as the Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together situation since that art was pretty good.
Some European fans were happy that their retails had the cover shown at the top, but that doesn't appear to be the case. With Nintendo of Europe today announcing that they're publishing Dimensions in Europe, they've also presented the cover, albeit in a very, very tiny thumbnail-sized image. Make sure you take your magnifying glass over there with you. If you can see the cover, you can see that it's also censored. But it doesn't look like "clever" Photoshop use here, as they used the ratings to cover up the unmentionables. It's another bad form of censorship, but at least this one has some hilarious results.
It's always sad to see this happen, but here's something to assuage the fear of another cover that we thought would be censored. Apparently both of Catherine's covers have been approved by the ESRB, according to Atlus USA localization editor Nich Maragos. So at least that one is a relief, though it's possible they cut that one a break due to it being an M-rated title.
P.S. Surely you want to know the origins of the "She Kicks High" phrase found in the title, right? Well, it came from an old commercial from Tecmo advertising Dead or Alive 3. It's undoubtedly one of the corniest commercials ever made, but we can all sit back and laugh at it now.