While DmC has a completely different look and a reimagined Dante, it feels like, well Devil May Cry. That was my first impression after slicing through enemies in the game’s tutorial level and defeating the Succubus boss in DmC. Since the core gameplay is essentially the same my first question for Motohide Eshiro, producer of DmC and the Ace Attorney Investigation games, and Hideaki Itsuno, director of DmC and Devil May Cry 2, was why they wanted to reinvent Dante.
Why do you feel now is a good time to reinvent the Devil May Cry series with DmC, which Ninja Theory is developing?
Motohide Eshiro, Producer: As far as the timing is concerned, a big part of the motivation is not waiting for the series to fizzle out, but to do it while the series is still doing really well. We’ve done Devil May Cry 1-4 and they keep getting better with each iteration, but rather than waiting for things to go badly and then trying to give it a rebirth we thought it would be an interesting challenge to try to do something new with it while it’s still quite viable.
While we were doing this rebirth we decided on a new artistic direction to potentially draw in more Western fans. That was the motivation to work with Ninja Theory. We had the right developer, a good concept, and Itsuno-san to supervise and direct the title with Ninja Theory to make sure we have a proper DMC game while still trying to break new ground. As a company, we want to challenge ourselves rather than wait until the series is not viable. Let’s do it now and see what happens while it’s still quite big.
DMC’s gameplay is so much like the other Devil May Cry titles and at the least from the demo it feels like it’s just as responsive any other Capcom action game. Do you think fans, perhaps, have judged the book by its cover?
ME: You raise a good point, when people actually get to play it or see more of it they will understand its a proper DMC in every sense of the word. It’s difficult to get that across with screenshots and without getting more people to play it. Something we struggled with from the start is when you do something new with an established series is you do have a certain amount of winning people that needs to be done.
How do we win these people over? Part of that is increasing opportunities for them to play the game and part of that is releasing more assets that aren’t screenshots. Something they can see in motion. These are elements we need to engage in to get users interested. We’re not just looking for new fans, we’re looking to make the game for the standard DMC fan as well.
Hideaki Itsuno, Director: I think when people get the controller in their hands and feel the responsiveness in the controls they will start to understand it’s a proper Devil May Cry game. In our discussions with Ninja Theory we haven’t given them a directive on how to do things, but we identified these pillars that are really important to the Devil May Cry series when it comes to the controls, responsiveness and gameplay. I can’t give too many specifics and reveal our secret sauce, so to speak, but we gave Ninja Theory these pillars so they can work these elements in the game and we’re pretty happy with their results.
It kind of feels like the angelic weapons, like the scythe, is a long range and fast weapon while the demonic weapon, the axe, is slow and heavy. Can you tell us about the angel/demon weapons and will it always be like that when Dante inevitably picks up other weapons?
ME: You picked up on something that is quite deliberate. Generally speaking, the angel weapons will be about speed, crowd control, and a wider range. The demon weapons will focus on big damage against a single foe, shorter range, and they’re slower, but more damage dealing. These themes will run throughout each side of the weapon selection.
I see. I like how you can switch weapons at anytime and continue the combo. So, you can switch between crowd control and heavy damage on the fly. Can you tell us more about the other weapons and how this will affect the game?
HI: I don’t want to talk to much about the specifics of the other weapons we haven’t revealed because it’s not time to address those. But, what I can say is the way the system is set up is you will always have access to all of your weapons. There isn’t a pause menu to equip different weapons.
In addition to the triggers to select angelic and demonic weapons, you can use the d-pad to pick weapons inside those categories. You’re right that you can link everything together. If you think about the kind of combos you can do and the three dimensionality of the combat this time – there is a lot more of a focus on aerial combos as well as ground based attacks the sky is the limit. The key is the freedom players have.
I noticed there were red orbs in the game. Can you tell us how Dante will develop?
ME: What you’ll see is similar to previous DMC games. You can use red orbs in shops, but it goes deeper than that. There are also other ways to upgrade moves and weapons, in a separate sphere, but there is a great deal of character growth on Dante’s part.
Will it be like Devil May Cry 3 at all where you have different styles?
HI: I would describe it as very similar to DMC3.
While some action games simply controls, DmC rewards players for specific actions like extending your devil trigger if you keep enemies in the air and a speed burst when you get a "S" ranked combo. Was Capcom trying to create an effective play style?
HI: That is definitely the case. We’ve seen similar systems implemented in Devil May Cry 3 and Devil May Cry 4 as well. For the players that are exceptionally skilled and can show off by doing cool things we feel they should be rewarded in some way and that continues in this iteration of Devil May Cry as well.
The idea for Malice, the morphing world came from Ninja Theory. Can you tell us your impressions when you first saw it and suggestions you gave them to fit this into DMC?
ME: I think at the beginning, the Malice mechanic was a visual motif. The advice, what we at Capcom wanted to see more of, was not just to look at this as a method of giving the game more visual impact, but to tie it into the gameplay. If the world is trying to kill Dante, let’s make that happen with traps and tie it into the way you have to make your way through the stage.
Let’s talk about the story. What are your thoughts on a half-angel and half-demon form? And it looks like the story has dark humor in it too from the demo and so forth. How do you feel about this tone?
ME: [The half-demon, half-angel concept for Dante] was Ninja Theory. Interestingly enough, we’re at the point where we are putting the finishing touches on the Japanese script so it’s hard to pick out lines or scenes since we’re cementing them for our version. What I can say is, we took a largely hands off approach with the script itself. We wanted Ninja Theory to have a sense of control over that. We wanted to see what Westerners could bring to the table, as far as the storyline, the character, and cool lines to speak. We’re pretty happy with what we’ve seen so far.
HI: We’re going through the script with a fine toothed comb revising it and we noticed there are a lot of homage lines. Dante will say things he said in previous Devil May Cry games, Easter Egg kind of stuff. I think fans will look forward to that.
Will we see any characters from the Devil May Cry series in DmC? Maybe Vergil…
ME: In the coming months, as we talk more about the storyline we can get into the characters that appear in the game. [Laughs.]
Moving forward with Devil May Cry as a whole, will we ever see I guess I should call him classic Dante again? Devil May Cry 2, which is the last game chronologically speaking shows Dante riding off into the sunset. Will we see a continuation from there?
HI: We see this branching off into a new path as an expansion in the Devil May Cry universe, rather than a replacement. Only the future can tell us where the series will head, but this doesn’t mean the old series has ended or we’ll never go back to it. We’re certainly eager to do new things with this new series as well.