Ninja Theory About DmC: "What Was Cool Isn't Cool Any More"

by Nicholas Taylor, posted on 22 September 2010 / 2,943 Views

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.

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Crystalchild (on 23 September 2010)

Messed up Worlds were livin in... So the Success of Mario is because he isnt cool? ..

PX54 (on 23 September 2010)

I've owned all the DMC games so far, and i've got to say the design of the character is not something that will bother me. How it plays will be the main issue. If he looked like Brad Pitt or Will Smith, i wouldn't care. In the end what makes you enjoy the game is the story and gameplay.

nandakoryaaa (on 23 September 2010)

Ninja Theory isn't cool anymore

Majin-Tenshinhan (on 23 September 2010)

@Killiana1a, this is hardly a vocal minority, though. The entire internet has been in an uproar. This is, by far, a vocal majority, I assure you.

onionpaper (on 23 September 2010)

I understand you guys want money, but PLEASE! NO MORE SOUND ADS! Especially not if they're going to push other ads into your articles so you can't read them. Ads for ads? What is that shit?

Killiana1a (on 23 September 2010)

I think the criticism of young Dante is unfair. Face it, from the trailer it looks like he was born mentally ill and spent his formative years in a mental health facility. This is not some normal kid who goes with what is trending. He does not have a choice to how his hair looks. As for his hair being "emo," mentally ill people to begin with are not very attentive to their hygenic needs. Dante having uncombed, disheveled hair with bangs running down to his eyes is not unexpected. As for the developer response, there never should have been one. No matter how you make young Dante look, there will always be a crowd that howls and screams about it indignantly. Don't pay attention to the vocal minority whom you could never please.

Los (on 23 September 2010)

I think this has potential... To each his own but I did feel that the original DmC was way too Anime/unrealistic. This on the other hand has my attention it seems to me to have a more Resident Evil look, and to me what made Resident Evil so good was that it seemed so real.

ChrisIsNotSexy (on 23 September 2010)

Screw you Ninja Theory,u will go bankrupt with this title,none messes with DANTE!!:D

kain_kusanagi (on 22 September 2010)

I don't get why people are upset. He was emo before and he's emo now. I thought that's why so many emo kids liked the games. If anything he's slightly more emo looking so the emo kids should be happy. I never cared for DMC and I doubt I will now either.

Beuli2 (on 22 September 2010)

I tottaly agree with them: DMC was good, but isn't good anymore with this bizarre new Dante.

AwesomeElmo (on 22 September 2010) I guess I'm just not cool enough to buy this game huh? Way to insult your potential audience dimwit! It sounds like the new Dante was designed the same way as Poochy from the simpsons. "Ok guys, we need this character to be 27% cooler. Now, when I was a kid, nothing was cooler than smoking." "Sir we should give him a bowl cut, that is" (making quote marks with his fingers) " wicked cool." "I think you're onto something Jenkins, ok that's a great days work, lets give ourselves all raises and go fire some lackeys"

NYANKS (on 22 September 2010)

@ CChaos, that was Team Ninja, not Ninja Theory.

AdventWolf (on 22 September 2010)

Wow that is awful, he looks like a chick.

Cleary397 (on 22 September 2010)

I've never been insterested in DMC, mainly because Dante's look didnt seem to suit the brutality of the game, i think the new design is better, and more suits the style of the game series

IMU1808 (on 22 September 2010)

What Ninja Theory thinks is cool... isn't cool.

Ferryarthur (on 22 September 2010)

If Dante, dressed as he was, walked into any bar outside of Tokyo, he'd get laughed out. Oh yeah the new Dante wouldn`t get laughed at all.

thismeintiel (on 22 September 2010)

What's funny is for a game that is supposed to be appealing to the "western" audience, the main character looks more like a Japanese character than the original. The original had a masculine face, while this one could be confused as a girl with short hair. Oh, and note to Ninja Theory, just because you give an emo looking character scars and make him smoke, doesn't automatically make him look/feel badass.

Xbbjf9s (on 22 September 2010)

Hmm, I wouldn't say 3 was origin story. It just seemed to center around the relationship of Dante and Virgil. I would like a Virgil story, I would like to know who is Nero's mother and what happened at the end of dmc3 when virgil was stuck in hell.

MARCUSDJACKSON (on 22 September 2010)

well heres hopeing fot rhe best

elmerion (on 22 September 2010)

He looks like an emo, definetly cool and somehow, less friendly (lolololol)

Tbone (on 22 September 2010)

Lmao Ninja theory u really think that.

Spagoodle (on 22 September 2010)

Not a big fan of the new look, but I like the idea of a reboot. DMC 4 was pretty bad and the talent behind DMC & DMC 3 are long gone. Maybe its time for a fresh take on the series.

lolita (on 22 September 2010)

I prefered the look of the old Dante, so I guess I don't have great taste according to him.

CChaos (on 22 September 2010)

Oh, wait, that was Team Ninja who did Other M...huh, okay, I guess there's nothing I really liked from these guys then. This won't go well.

CChaos (on 22 September 2010)

I have to say, I thought that Ninja Theory did reasonably well with the new Metroid game...but then they had to go and do this. Seriously. Heavenly Sword was not that good, there's a reason why it's not added to the list of the best games on the PS3. All in all, some might like this, but I can't see this ending up going well for Ninja Theory or Capcom.

hunter_alien (on 22 September 2010)

Mediocre developer, and a terrible concept. HS was a pretty good game, but cost them waaaaay to much for what it was. This has all the potential to ruin the DMC IP for good if it comes out as a mediocre game :-(

Rafux (on 22 September 2010)

I won't be buying this, Heavenly Sword sucked.

sparticus112b (on 22 September 2010)

If the old Dante isn't cool anymore then why is he in the upcoming Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, why don't they go with the new look Dante. Oh wait...probably because the old Dante is iconic and shouldn't be messed with. I like when he is talking about Bayonetta and says "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." I like at the end when he says "that's not what I want." Who cares what the hell you want dude.

darthdevidem01 (on 22 September 2010)

Please that hideous roach monster thing doesn't look cool

Aiddon (on 22 September 2010)

NT and CAPCOM, every time someone has tried to revamp an iconic character or make a character based around "youth culture" the same thing has ALWAYS happened: IT FLOPS. This redesign WILL bite them in the ass

Rath (on 22 September 2010)

Hey he's so right! What was cool isn't cool anymore, Dante's character used to be cool and now the new version isn't.

Nybbas (on 22 September 2010)

I am pretty sure they came up with this design by simply google image searching "stupid goth kids" The new Dante looks like my friend from school who went through a retarded goth phase... it is just really bad. Now if they are trying to appeal to 16 year olds who think they are badass because they are goth'd out, I think they might have something going here.

Ultr (on 22 September 2010)

he looks more asian than ever before, didnt they want to make it more western, i dont get it, even though, I think DANTE IS AND WILL BE COOL, old one, AND I have trust in ninja theory, soooo we'^ll see

Khuutra (on 22 September 2010)

Now I wonder how well this game will do compared to Bayonetta. If Bayonetta outsells DmC, I think that would be a little hilarious.

hagelt18 (on 22 September 2010)

It isn't all too uncommon to be laughed at when cosplaying any unique fictional character in public. That aside, I think the big issue here is that this isn't just a revamped character design...this guy looks completely different. How are people so supposed to say, "Oh yeah, that's Dante right there. He's the man!" What if suddenly sonic was a green squirrel? You wouldn't think he's sonic anymore no matter how "cool" the green squirrel might look.

A203D (on 22 September 2010)

Hmmm, tbh i saw the interview with Ninja Theory at IGN, and i actully like the direction their taking the series, the action looks good, Dante's personally seems to be in line with before, - cool, and he smokes, which is also cool (i'm not saying lung cancer is cool - but this is fictional). and i think DMC4 was a bit shite, so i think they can bring something new to the table. the only think i dont like is Dante's new look, i think DMC4's Dante looked a bit to butch, but the DMC1-3 (especailly 2), nailed the design, its the one thing that should never change imo.

Sholities (on 22 September 2010)

well, if you look at the top of his head, you'll see that it's white up there.