Later, in an interview at Tecmo's TGS booth, I asked Hayashi to clear up that terminology. The early generation of fighting games, around Street Fighter 2, he said, "had some of the most outrageous graphics, fun gameplay, and really a lot of stuff going on." He implied that, in comparison, modern fighting games emphasize online competition over wowing players with unprecedented visuals.
"It's not as over-the-top, it's not as much of the entertainment aspect that the originals had, and so they seem a little bit dull, in some aspects." The term "fighting entertainment" represents an effort to return spectacle to the genre.
But Dead or Alive has basically always been about spectacle, and not just the embarrassing kind of spectacle the female characters provide. Stages are multi-layered, complicated, and interactive, with fighters knocking each other off of waterfalls, into electrified walls, and through wooden floors. How could it get any more "entertaining?"
"So in the past [Dead or Alive] games," Hayashi said, "most of the dangers were fixed, set areas on the stage that you can knock your opponent into -- and they were just set there, the stage didn't change a whole lot. If you watch the video from our press event, you can see the entire stage changing and taking a different shape, and all sorts of chaos happening." You'll be able to trigger changes to the "geometry" of stages in addition to moving up, down, and through them.
That sounds to us like a pretty natural evolution of that particular series -- more natural than, say, volleyball and bathing suit gifting.