Yosuke Hayashi explained that a grittier approach to the game allows the developer to make the characters more mature, but emphasised that they will retain their sex appeal.
"As a Japanese developer, we wanted to keep our roots," he told Eurogamer. "But it's more of a mature sexy element.
"When you fight, you sweat now. You get sweaty. There's dirt as well - we wanted to show a grittier nature. So they have 'cool' characteristics now."
Hayashi previously expressed his hope that the fighting sequel will "move the genre forward".
"When we were looking at what to do with Dead or Alive, we want to make sure it provides something else [and] something different," he said.
Dead or Alive 5 will release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on September 25 in North America and on September 28 in Europe.
Watch a Dead or Alive 5 trailer below: