Did you happen to catch the backlash regarding the reimagining of Dante in the new Devil May Cry game entitled DmC? We sure did. The game is the first in the series not to be developed internally by Capcom, who instead opted to outsource it to western developer Ninja Theory, best known for the PS3 title Heavenly Sword and the upcoming Enslaved: Odyssey to the West.
The internet was ablaze with rage within minutes at the look of the new Dante. We all know the Dante you see in this article's banner - the one who's been present in the first four games. The new Dante looks completely different, leading to the anger spreading across the internet. Below, you can see the new Dante for yourself:
A few choice comments from the 1UP forums can be found below.
"I literally can't stop laughing at how bad that character design is."
"I think they are trying to bring new fans into the series and don't care if they alienate the old fans."
A lot of people have shared the sentiments above, certainly; it can be seen all over the internet. However, some counter the statements. Another post on the 1UP forums said the following:
"For the style that DMC has gone for all these years it seems like a logical progression. The Metal Goth imagery is still intact with a change to a more urban setting (reminds me of a DMC-inspired Empire City from Infamous) and the style [of] the main character is relevant to the style of people who are into that culture. It's just no longer being drawn by anime-inspired artists."
Keiji Inafune has recently voiced his opinion that the Japanese games industry is failing, and that focus on western developers is what's important. The creative director at Ninja Theory, Tameem Antoniades, who conveniently enough looks eerily similar to the new Dante (which he himself claims was not intentional - but I'll leave it up to you to decide) says that the upcoming DmC, and Inafune's attitude in general, is an important shift.
"The essence of Devil May Cry is all about 'cool,'" he says. "It's about Dante being cool and making you feel cool when you're playing it, and so the combat and the style system and everything is integral to that. But, you know, what was cool 12 years ago -- I think that was when the first game came out [Author's Note: Incorrect. The game was released in 2001, which is 9 years ago.] -- isn't cool anymore. If Dante, dressed as he was, walked into any bar outside of Tokyo, he'd get laughed out. What Devil May Cry did when it launched was it brought everything that was great about action cinema like the fashion, music -- it was like a cultural melting pot -- and I feel like now, for Devil May Cry to have that same impact, it needs to draw on new things. New music, new ways of cinematography, new fashion."
When asked about Bayonetta, the newest title from Hideki Kamiya, original creator of Devil May Cry, and if he thinks that it looks cool, this is what he had to say: "Personally, I don't. I love the game. I think it's awesome. It's taken everything -- it's just gone to a total extreme. But in terms of, 'Do I think it's cool?' No, not at all. I think it's caricatured and over-the-top and very 'Japanesey,' and for that absurd style it does that really well, but that's not what I want."
Evidently, Ninja Theory had been working together with Capcom's US and Japan offices on the new art style for about a year.
"[Initially], we said, 'Go explore the space,' and [Ninja Theory] came back with a very incremental look from what Dante had usually been," said Capcom USA lead producer Alex Jones. "And we went, 'No guys, go back to first principles and really do something,' and then they went about 25-percent more down the field. And we're like, 'No, seriously! Do something that you think would make us angry with you,' and that's when we started making progress."
Regarding the fan backlash, Antoniades and Jones said that since this is an origin story, the Dante of DmC will evolve during the course of the game, and that what we've seen so far isn't what he'll look like during the entire game. They refused to comment further on it, however. They did mention, though, that his hair is white during the trailer.
"His hair is white!" said Jones. "Actually there is some white in the trailer, to all you guys on the forums saying it's not. There's... there's some white in there. We weren't trying to hide it."
Personally, I can't spot it, but maybe you can.
It's funny, I thought that the prequel Devil May Cry 3 which dealt with the relationship between Dante and his brother Virgil was more or less the series' origin story. Apparently not.