Gaming companies sending DMCA takedowns for fanmade content is nothing new, though when it happens it can range from understandable to overzealous in the eyes of fans. For Koei Tecmo, a DMCA they allegedly sent to a fan artist might fall into the latter category.
A fan artist going by the username of @lewdgazer (NSFW) is known for creating risque fan art of character from the fighting game franchise, Dead or Alive. The artwork is very sexual, but this fact is not surprising considering the fanservice the series is known for.
The takedown in this case was done through Twitter/X, meaning the images have been removed from their respective posts, confirming this to be done through a DMCA takedown.
According to another image shared of the reasoning, it appears this was done specifically by Koei Tecmo themselves:
The reasoning behind the removal continues to be alleged that the company has done this, despite evidence showing that it could be a third party acting in their name. Whether they’re affiliated with them to be able to legally do this is unknown, assuming this is even the case in the first place.
Stranger still is that if it really is Koei Tecmo that directly sent this DMCA takedown, why they would do so in the first place. Dead or Alive fanart is easily found throughout the web and while Lewdgazer might create “adult” content with their characters, they’re far from the only one doing so.
For now, the removed content is still available through their Pixiv, Patreon, and SubscribeStar accounts (NSFW). These events have made them consider stepping away from creating art based on the franchise to avoid headaches. Though right now they are recovering in the hospital due to medical reasons.
Hopefully for them, this turns out to be a misunderstanding and they can have their work unblocked. If not, then fan artists of Dead or Alive should keep an eye out on if this could actually turn out to be a trend.