Brad Wong's design, fighting style, and moves are heavily influenced by several martial arts films starring Jackie Chan, most prominently the 1994 film Drunken Master II.
For Dead or Alive 3, Team Ninja considered replacing the entire roster of the past two games with a new set of characters, with Hitomi as the new heroine to replace Kasumi. This idea was scrapped, with the exception of Hitomi's inclusion as a fighter.
Most likely because this game was released as a launch title for the Xbox, it was released in an incomplete state in the North American market in November 2001. As such, the European and Japanese versions of the game, which released a few months later, feature a new opening cutscene as well as extra content and gameplay updates such as new costumes and attacks for certain characters. Between June and September 2002, the Official Xbox Magazine distributed a "Booster Disk" for Dead or Alive 3, which included the new opening cutscene and all of the extra costumes released in the European and Japanese versions of the game. It did not, however, contain the new attacks or gameplay balancing that the other versions brought. This update would later be released as unlockable sync-able content under the name "DOA3 Booster Disc" in Dead or Alive Ultimate upon unlocking every costume in the game.
Jann Lee's ending contains references to two Bruce Lee films. The first reference, in the scene where one of the club customers stubs his cigar out on the table, is similar to a scene from the 1972 film Way of the Dragon. The second reference, when one fighter attacks Jann Lee with a nunchaku only to have him take it from him and demonstrate far greater skill with the weapon, this is similar to the dungeon scene from the 1973 film Enter the Dragon.