With the game so close to release, it is saddening to see that many gamers still do not fully understand DMC Devil May Cry – the child formed from Ninja Theory and Capcom Japan’s partnership and re-imagination of a successful and treasured franchise. Since the game’s initial announcement during the Tokyo Game Show back in 2010, long-time fans of Dante (the series protagonist) and his fictional universe have been more than skeptical many reeling with rage and others sulking in disappointment as the soon-to-be fifth installment in their beloved franchise offered everything they did not want in a sequel.
The failing on the fans’ perspective here however is that DMC Devil May Cry is not Devil May Cry 5 and is not a sequel, and in fact Ninja Theory were handed the project by Capcom to deliver the exact opposite, going as far as to disprove NT’s (Ninja Theory’s) earlier renditions of the world and its characters due to the similarities being too close. Capcom stated that if they were after a sequel or conceptual follow-up to the existing titles within the franchise, they would have developed this game themselves. Capcom instead trusted NT’s vision of their own unique re-telling of Devil May Cry and its origins and also encourage their controversial take on it.
Both aesthetically and fundamentally the game differs greatly from the previous titles that have inspired it and this reboot is a departure from the way the traditional titles look and play. The hardcore gamers and Devil May Cry purists have made no attempt to disguise their anger towards the DMC project, criticising it at every turn, analysing the games speed which is slower, the difficulty which is a lot less intense and even the dialogue which is not as smooth as typical Devil May Cry games – once again however, many are missing the point here; DMC is for the most part a hardcore franchise, with stylistic gameplay denoting skill and practice, however 2013’s DMC is one designed to be more accessible in every aspect, a game that wants to be mastered by even the average gamer; the game seems to be designed to make anyone feel capable of executing a swift combination of attacks, rewarding players. Even Dante himself has been altered with little understanding from series fans, who fail to realise that this universes’ Dante has not been designed to be a badass – he has been designed to be a teenager conflicted with the awkwardness of dealing with fitting in to a society of normal humans while discovering and accepting his demonic/angelic backgrounds. Like every teenager he wants to fit the mould of the cool kid, but clearly hasn’t mastered it yet; with lines like “…you can call me Dante the demon killer – has a nice ring to it don’t you think?” it is evident that he is a somewhat lost individual trying to impress others and at the same time himself – arguably his personality in this game is actually rather intelligent considering his backstory and the world he is set in.
Of course fans are not incorrect for being disgruntled and raise solid points in reference to what they deem to be “flaws” in the continuation of the franchise, but this is where it becomes evident that it is best for all purposes to consider this title a complete re-direction of the franchise rather than the continuation of it and this does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. Many loved games have both endured and thrived from being rebooted, in all cases creating new fans and implementing new ideas to the franchise. Let us not forget about the positive reboots in the game industry such as Rayman Origins, Burnout Paradise, Street Fighter IV and Metroid Prime (the latter inspiring further successful sequels across various platforms). While looking back at previous successes, let us also not forget that if it had not been for directors rebooting familiar franchises, we would have never seen Christopher Nolan’s vision of Batman (2005-2012), Marc Webb’s vision of Spiderman (2012), Matthew Vaughn’s vision of the X-Men (2012) and the much-needed reboot of famed law-enforcer Judge Dredd courtesy of Pete Travis. This generation has seen a lot of reboots, but it is always a good thing to remember that many of these reboots have been well received.
DMC is extremely different from the Devil May Cry series of videogames, but if accepted by gamers as something new, rather than be compared to something old (or classic if you’d prefer), then perhaps gamers will be able to appreciate it for what it is and enjoy it.
DMC Devil May Cry is released on January 15th in the UK and America.