In my personal case, I've never had this "character loyalty" thing in any of the fighting game franchises I've played. Every game needs a couple of main characters for me to choose from without taking into consideration which ones I played with in previous iterations. For example, In DOA3, I mained Jann Lee and Leifang during the years that game was alive, but in DOA2U, I kinda left them behind and went over to Kasumi and Helena because I loved their play-styles in that game (even though Helena was shit in DOA2U). But in DOA4, No matter what I tried, I just couldn't feel completely comfortable with anyone other than Helena and Ryu. For seven years, they reigned my DOA4 adventure and many other characters tried to take their places only to be destroyed by their awesomeness.
During all my DOA4 time, which were seven long years, I tried to adapt Jann Lee, Leifang, Eliot, Lisa, Kokoro, Hitomi, Kasumi, Ein, Christie, Nicole and Tina to my gameplay but I just didn't feel as good with them as I did with Helena and Ryu. It bothered me all this time because I truly feel a deep love for Jann and Leifang and they weren't as good as their DOA3 versions. But all this brings me to a personal debate. Who should I play with in Dead or Alive 5?
In the Alpha Demo, I mained Hayate, but that's mostly because I hate Ayane, Hitomi felt too DOA4ish and Ryu just felt like playing with Bass dressed as the Ninja Gaiden protagonist. Now, in terms of gameplay style, Hayate was also very DOA4ish but since I never played with him in that game, I just went and practiced a lot with him. But to be honest, I'm not interested one bit in playing as him in the final game. But that's basically because many others seem to be simply much more fun.
I can't simply abandon Ryu without giving a serious opportunity to him in the final version of the game. After all, he accompanied me in Dead or Alive 4 for seven long years. I played with him thousands and thousands of times both offline and online and I feel a deep connection to him, I simply can't. But from all the gameplay videos and breakdowns seen all over the internet, especially over at FreeStepDodge, I'm now sure that Jann Lee is gonna be a beast again, just like in DOA3. This makes me be 99% sure I'll be maining him.
But DOA5 will be the game I'll be playing the most for years, and two characters won't be enough for me. I'm now planning on taking three instead of two as I always do. I think DOA is pretty simple as to allow being seriously good and solid with three different characters. Since Jann is pretty much decided as the first official member of my team, I'd like the other two to have different styles.
A very serious consideration for this is Tina. She just seems extremely solid and fun to play as, like in DOA3. Besides, all her insane DOA4 tools will actually work this time around. She has guaranteed ways to ground throw, has extremely damaging grabs and her air grab requires little height now so it's possible to both juggle AND air grab in the same combo. And besides her solid gameplay, I won't be lying to anyone out there, the girl is just too fucking beautiful as to not play as her.
Other characters that interest me a lot are Leifang, mostly because of nostalgia and because her parries, advanced holds, throws and sabakis remind me of Aoi, one of my favorite Virtua Fighter 5 characters. Rig is looking extremely fun to play and in case of choosing a TKD user, I'd definitely go for him instead of Sarah which I'd rather use in the game she's originally from. That exact scenario happens with Kokoro. She seems to be a sit-down stun monster and works around the DOA4 stun game very effectively and as a Bajiquan user, I'd rather play as her instead of Akira. Eliot is looking very solid as well, that 9-frame punch, parries that guarantee launchers and strings and grabs that leave his opponents back-turned look incredible and people are saying he's a strong contender for a high-tier spot.
But all this leaves me with a very important characters yet to be seen. Helena! Along with Busa, Hele accompanied me in my entire DOA4 time and I simply have to give her the benefit of the doubt. I'm literally dying inside to see her fighting and to start reading breakdowns and things about her gameplay. I just know that once I get my hands on the game, Helena will probably be the first character I try to master.
All of these leaves me with the following team: Jann Lee, Tina, Helena and Ryu will have the priority and I'm pretty sure the final trio will come out of those but in case they fail me, I'll try to learn Eliot, Rig, Kokoro and Leifang. That makes a total of EIGHT possible characters. Without including the other yet-unseen fighters like Gen Fu, Mila or Pai.
I just can't wait for this game. It's gonna be a blast.