When a game franchise has entered a state where gamers look at it as stale, publishers have to find a way to either reinvigorate the property, or simply let it die out. With the new Devil May Cry, potentially titled DmC, Capcom decided to give their franchise to developer Ninja Theory in hopes that they would not only redesign the look of iconic hero Dante, but would deliver a more narrative driven experience.
Kotaku was recently able to sit down with the lead producer on the game, Alex Jones, to dive deeper into the character design decision that many, including Devil May Cry’s original creator, do not care for. Beginning as an attempt to make the game more story focused, Capcom came to Ninja Theory with the desire to take the character of Dante in a new direction. Instead of the traditionally pale haired hero, Ninja Theory worked out several versions, including:
“A shirtless version of Dante, with just suspenders…[that] looked like he had just stumbled out of a Clash concert.”
With none of the design concepts offending Capcom’s big wigs, including Keiji Inafune, Ninja Theory was sent home with a clear idea of what was being asked of them. Building upon Capcom's suggestions, this new Dante, seen in the first trailer for DmC, became a much younger, punk-influenced character, who moves a lot like his older self does.
Backlash was sure to follow over the design change, but could passing judgment so early on be a mistake? Ninja Theory thinks so. Jones does realize how fans must be feeling at this point, but wants to reassure them, saying:
"I totally understand the reaction, but I want people to know that we will make them proud... eventually."
No matter how you feel about Dante’s redesign, there is still a lot of hope to be pulled from this situation. Ninja Theory has proven themselves to be accomplished storytellers with Heavenly Sword and the upcoming Enslaved, and should not be counted out. Yes, they may have been asked to commit an atrocious sin against the fans they are developing for, but when Capcom hands out an opportunity like this, it must be hard to turn down.
Knowing that Capcom was actively seeking out a Dante redesign, what are your feelings about his look now? Are you still wishing to cleanse your mind, or can you understand where Ninja Theory is coming from?
Devil May Cry currently has no release date.