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Dantes Inferno

Dante's Inferno: Poem meets game, scythe meets face

Jan 29 // Nick Chester
"There’s an argument to be made that in obliterating their soul forever, you’re actually doing them a favor," Knight admits. "But in that moment, when a giant scythe is sticking into their face and coming out the back of their head, I’m guessing it feels like punishment." Knight makes a good point, and Dante's Inferno has a wide range of animations and punishment variation to back it up. This thing gets torn in half. That thing gets the scythe in the face. This other thing gets pummeled with that same scythe's handle. And let's face it -- this is a videogame, and tearing things apart in deliciously vicious ways is simply fun. So why then would you want to Absolve anything? It's in Dante's Inferno's skill upgrade system. Killing enemies will unleash souls which act as currency for purchasing new abilities, but which abilities you can purchase is dependent on your "Holy" or "Unholy" level -- punish an enemy, gain Unholy Righteousness, absolve them and earn Holy Righteousness. Broken up into two parts of a traditional gaming skill tree, Unholy abilities generally deal with scythe-related combos, with Holy combos upgrading Dante's cross combos. (Both tracks offer various other upgrades, such as health, as well.) While it won't be necessary to commit to one side, it certainly won't be possible to upgrade both in full by the game's end. Trust me, I tried.  "You should be able to level up fully on one side or the other, in a single play through," Knight explains. "but not both." You'll also notice that it's far faster to Punish enemies -- it happens in a rapid series of quicktime events that allows the action to progress quickly. Absolving takes a bit longer for the player, slowing down the action. As Knight explains, this was intentional. "We wanted the choice to be more than numerical in nature, it should be reflected in the animation, the weapon choice, the visual effects, etc.," he tells me. "So that the choice truly influences your play style and play experience over the long run.  Either Dante is really a brutal bastard, a holy warrior, or a bit of both." Working my way down through the circles of hell, the imagery became even more twisted than was hinted at in the demo. Scalable walls made from the twisted bodies of the damned, creatures and demons with oozing orifices, newborns blades for arms, and monsters gaping, drooling maws. The word "sick" comes to mind, some coming close to pushing the boundaries of "too far." But as Knight explains, the team did show some restraint. The design of one character in particular (whose name I'll omit to avoid a potential spoiler) was scaled back because it was too, as Knight puts it, "distracting." "[Its] entire body was made up of sex organs," he explains, "penises for fingers, that sort of thing. But that was part of our process... leveraging imaginitive concept artists to push the boundaries so that the game didn't feel like a generic fantasy game, but a really twisted vision of hell." This twisted vision spills over into the game's environments, directly inspired by the poem where possible.  "Most of the circles are well described in the poem," Knight says. "Violence, the seventh circle, is described in great detail -- the river of boiling blood, the centaurs, the wood of the suicides, the burning sands, the waterfall, and so on."  In other cases, circles that were only briefly touched upon by Alighieri had to be fleshed out for the videogame, building upon ideas from the original work. Knight uses the the Lust storm, the mud and rain of Gluttony, and stones that crash against one another in Greed as examples. Inspiration from sources outside of the original work are seen throughout the game as well -- Boticelli's early Renaissance drawnings of The Divine Comedy, the illustrations of Gustave Dore, the sculpture's of Rodin, the paintins of Bosch and Beughel. Visceral even worked closely with fantasy and science fiction illustrator Wayne Barlowe, who published his own interpretations of the Inferno in the late 90s. In action -- whether playing it on the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 -- it all comes to life at 60 frames per second, without exception. This focus on the technology was an early mandate, Knight tells me.  "I told the team almost on day one that we were going to make a 60fps game," he says, "and this this was less a technology problem and more of a will-power problem. There was a lot of angst over this decision, we're all now 100% confident it was the right decision, and don't regret it for a moment." With that said, it looks like fans of fast-paced, third-person action and combat should head into the game expecting exactly that. But is Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy required reading before entering Visceral's vision of hell? Knight says that call is up to the individual; he points to book to movie adaptations saying "Some people like to read books before seeing the movie version, and others don't want it spoiled." But in the case of Dante's Inferno, the adaptation is "quite loose," he explains. You won't ruin any of the game's major plot points and twists by reading the poem first, but you may recognize nods to the original work, like the three harpies above the Gates of Dis.  "We are aware that we're making a game, first and foremost, and that the vast majority of our audience will not have read the poem, and won't evne know how loose we are," he says. "At the same time we have a great admiration for The Divine Comedy, and tried to include as many details -- large and small -- as we could." "Now, whether 'Demon #5 that you slaughter is a character you can point to in the poem," he tells me, "that's not something we worried much about. Demon killing is what the game is about; if that's not your cup of tea, then definitely curl up by the fire with the poem." But if you are interested in sticking a giant schthe into a demon's face and having it come out the back of their head, Dante's Inferno hits shelves on February 9 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. 
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Having recently played through some updated preview code of Visceral Games' Dante's Inferno, a question ate at me -- what punishment could there be that's worse than being in Hell?  The question comes from one of the gam...

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EA drops mad dime on Dante's Inferno Super Bowl ad


Jan 27
// Nick Chester
Spoiler alert! If you're going to be watching the Super Bowl, prepare to "go to hell." IndustryGamer has confirmed through sources Electronic Art's marketing dollars are getting pushed the limit to secure a Dante's Inferno ad...
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Dante's Inferno 'Dark Forest' DLC also coming to 360


Jan 26
// Nick Chester
PlayStation 3 owners who pick up a copy of Dante's Inferno: Divine Edition get treated to free downloadable content, a prequel level called "Dark Forest." In fact, since all versions of Dante's Inferno for PS3 are this "Divin...
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'Leaked' proposed Dante's Inferno products are hilarious


Jan 22
// Nick Chester
Leaks. They happen in the videogame industry, probably more often than publishers and developers would like. People just can't seem to keep their mouths shut. The most recent "leak" just hit our inbox, and the tipster writes,...
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Dante's Inferno anime gets fancy London movie premiere


Jan 20
// Nick Chester
Hey, if you live in the UK... go to hell! With the premiere of the Dante's Inferno animated film that is! *rim shot* The Film Roman animated production will makes its premiere at West London's Apollo Theater on February 2. Mo...
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Committing fraud leads to a dark place in Dante's Inferno


Jan 11
// Samit Sarkar
Remind me not to defraud anyone, ever, because even the slightest mendaciousness will land me straight in Malebolge, the Eighth Circle of Hell. Roughly translated from Italian, “Malebolge” means “evil ditch...
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EA releasing three new scores in the next few weeks


Jan 10
// Matthew Razak
EA has been ramping up its music release for the past few years since launching EA Recordings in order to release games' soundtracks on their own. The latest three to hit the market will be for their three biggest games comin...
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Dante's Inferno demo now available on Xbox Live


Dec 24
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The Dante's Inferno that has been available on the PlayStation Network for the last few weeks is now up on Xbox Live today. The "Gates of Hell" demo starts you off at the very beginning of Dante's Inferno with Dante making h...
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Our horrifying Dante's Inferno ornament arrives


Dec 22
// Nick Chester
Just because the holidays draw near that doesn't mean the weird Dante's Inferno-related crap I've been getting in the mail is slowing down! Nope, today a horrifying ornament -- as seen on the Internet! -- arrived. Wrapped in...
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Dante's Inferno has Xmas gifts for you and they're sick


Dec 20
// Jim Sterling
Dante's Inferno is still squeezing out as much crazy PR as it can, and with Christmas just around the corner, what better way to celebrate than with Visceral Games completely grossing everybody out? Just hit this link right h...
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Guest Blogger: Visceral's Vincent Napoli talks Dante's Inferno's Cross combat


Dec 16
// Vincent Napoli
[Editor's note: Visceral Games' Vincent Napoli is the Lead Combat designer for the developer's upcoming title, Dante's Inferno.] Dante wields two main weapons against the enemies of the Inferno. One of them, a magical cross i...
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EA puts a little Dead Space in Dante’s Inferno


Dec 15
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Europeans, rejoice! Looks like your version of Dante’s Inferno will be better than the American version. How so? Dante’s Inferno Death Edition will feature lenticular artwork, a few documentaries, the full soundtr...
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Dante's Inferno demo impressions, full video playthrough


Dec 10
// Nick Chester
Detractors have said many negative things about Visceral Games' Dante's Inferno. But let's keep one key point in mind -- many of them (in fact, most of them) haven't played it yet. For PlayStation 3 owners, that changes toda...
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Dante's Inferno gets PS3-exclusive 'Divine Edition'


Dec 10
// Nick Chester
Visceral Games and Electronic Arts are showing the PlayStation 3 a lot of love with Dante's Inferno.  First, a demo for the game goes live on PlayStation Network first later today. Now, the developer and publisher have a...
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Dante's Inferno getting a live stream event ... from Hell


Dec 08
// Jordan Devore
The hot new thing in this industry appears to be live video streams in which members of a development studio goof off, answer questions from fans, and give a demonstration of the game in question. Yes sir, Dante's Inferno is ...
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Dante's Inferno demo to hit PlayStation Network first


Dec 01
// Nick Chester
As promised, Electronic Arts will be delivering a Dante's Inferno demo this month. Small caveat -- PlayStation 3 owners will be getting a two-week head start.  The publisher has confirmed that the demo will hit PlayStati...
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Mass: We Pray is really a Dante's Inferno viral


Nov 20
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Earlier this week, we got an e-mail about Mass: We Pray, a Wii-like game where you Church at home. The Web site and video for the "game" was pretty outrageous, and pretty much bordered on heresy. Well it turns out the whole ...
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Story: Dante's Inferno has one


Nov 18
// Brad Nicholson
If I was a bad dude, the last damsel I would choose to distress is one who pals around with a large guy named Dante, who just happens to carry around a scythe composed of bone and sinew all hours of the afternoon. But bad gu...
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The Dante's Inferno figure looks pretty hot (Update)


Nov 14
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Last month, we brought you a very early look at the Dante's Inferno action figure. Now, NECA Online shows us exactly what the figure will look like. Dante has 30 points of articulation and a interchangeable right hand that le...
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Pre-order Dante's Inferno, get figure from fires of hell


Nov 11
// Nick Chester
When Visceral and Electronic Arts announced the Dante's Inferno demo for December, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was not, as many demos seem to be these days, tied in to a pre-order bonus. Instead, Dante's Inferno is gettin...
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Demo for Dante's Inferno coming this December


Nov 10
// Nick Chester
Those on the fence about Visceral Games' videogame adaptation of Dante Alighieri's poem The Divine Comedy will get their shot to try it out this December. Electronic Arts has announced that a demo for Dante's Inferno will be ...
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The latest look at Dante's Inferno brings us to Heresy


Nov 10
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Dante's quest will take him through all of the Circles of Hell and the latest developer diary for Dante's Inferno brings us to Heresy. As Dante gets lower in Hell, the more Hellish things become. Fire is everywhere, souls ar...
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These Dante's Inferno PSP screens are needlessly huge


Oct 27
// Jordan Devore
I don't really care how contrived Dante's Inferno may or may not be. As a die-hard action fanatic, I'll be playing it either way -- on a console, that is. As for the PlayStation Portable version, not so much. If I couldn't pl...
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What's in the Dante's Inferno box?


Oct 27
// Nick Chester
Electronic Arts is at it again, continuing its Dante's Inferno marketing/PR-related mailbox assault. Yesterday, a gigantic box cardboard box showed up. Inside that box was big and dirty wooden box. What was inside? Well, that's what the video is for. And well... yeah. I've got nothing. Talk amongst yourselves.
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Nanny group thinks Dante award may promote violence


Oct 23
// Brad Nicholson
Dante’s Inferno and Fairytale Fights share a few things in common. One of those things is an Achievement that nets players points for killing children -- an action most developers tend to avoid in their games. In Dante&...
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Dante's Inferno comes to the world of action figures


Oct 18
// Matthew Razak
If you were unsure that EA was making a franchise out of Dante's Inferno here is another hint. Dante is getting his own action figure. I think the movie adaptation in the works was probably a bigger hint, but they both get th...
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Dante enters anger, hits things with his scythe


Oct 10
// Matthew Razak
Another month and another layer of hell in the videogame version of Dante's Inferno. This month brings us to Anger, in which things get really angry... or something. According to the devs anger means that you'll be kicking a ...
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As you heard this morning, EA’s Visceral Games is working on a game based on the famous 19th century serial killer, Jack the Ripper. Our sources dropped hints about the title to us back in May, and now is a good as time...

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Dante's Inferno team doesn't mind God of War comparisons


Oct 01
// Brad Nicholson
Not many would liken Dante’s Inferno to Duck Hunt. The brutal action title set in the underbelly of Hell has neither ducks, laughing dogs or even the color blue. But we do compare it to the God of War. It’s only n...

Our $200 Dante's Inferno check from EA arrives

Sep 11 // Nick Chester
Pay some bills, give Dante's Inferno a 10 out of 10. Reserve 20 copies of Dante's Inferno.Reserve 20 copies of God of War III. Buy $200 worth of booze, let Dale North drink it on a web cam all day long. Give it a charity, maybe Child's Play.Sign it over to Kotaku's Brian Crecente, who decided to burn his check. It's possible he's regretting his choice, and we'd love to give him another chance.
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You may have heard some rumblings: Yes, as a promotion for Visceral Games' forthcoming multi-platform Dante's Inferno, Electronic Arts sent out $200.00 checks to select members of the media. Why? The idea, we're told, is to e...


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