The new Devil May Cry game has been released to the tears of thousands of fanboys (myself included) and to the praise of many game critics (including our beloved Jim Sterling). Much has been said about the game, how it destroys or reinvigorates the Devil May Cry franchise, how it waters down or improves the combat, and how it no longer turns straight men into gay men.
Don't worry--this blog isn't going to me bashing the game for the next XXXX words. I plan, instead, to use the game as something of an springboard into a bigger topic. As my title implies, that topic is reboots.
We seem to be in a time where reboots are almost as common as new ideas these days, and growing dangerously close to being as frequent as sequels. At first glance, the logic for a reboot makes sense. A new franchise is created, and people love it. But, as the franchise goes on, a number of things can happen. The audience for the game can grow limited in scope, for example, or the crazed continuity of a complex plot could alienate newcomers. Or, they just released a shitty sequel that essentially drove the game into the ground. Whatever the reason, attempting to start fresh in any of those scenarios seems not only like a logical course of action, but also a damn good one. Let's strip away the parts of the game that didn't seem to work, and go back to the basics. Or hell, scrap everything and start fresh.
It sounds good. But is it really?
Honestly, my views on reboots as a whole are mixed, and I think many people will agree with me on that idea. For example, let's take the new Star Trek movie. I am the opposite of a Trekkie, but I really enjoyed the movie for a lot of reasons. It took Star Trek, gave it a kind of mass market appeal, and made it into a fun action film. In that case, the reboot worked, and worked quite well.
Plus, it made lens flare a thing!
"But Ryoma," you say, looking up at this blog ever-so-eagerly, "when are you going to talk about DMC?"
I think there is a point where a reboot stops being a reboot and instead becomes wholly different from the original source material. And this where I think the new DMC game runs into its trouble. You look at the new DMC and it barely resembles the old one. Like, barely. Not just that Dante looks different, but the game itself is just so incredibly different in tone, art style, gameplay, etc. that if you didn't slap the title DMC on it, no one would've believed it was a DMC game.
Which brings me to a question. Why is it a DMC game?
I wish I knew.
I feel that if the game didn't have the DMC title slapped on its box, it wouldn't've gotten nearly as much controversy. Think about it for a second. What does this game have in it that makes it DMC? A fighting engine?
Not really, if the fans are to be believed. The new game is far easier than the past games, and runs at a lower framerate. It is no longer controller-shatteringly difficult, and SSS's are handed out like candy.
Not only that, but plenty of games have fighting engines similar to DMC. Bayonetta, Ninja Gaiden to name a few. They aren't Devil May Cry games.
Okay, so the fighting doesn't make this game feel like a Devil May Cry game. What about the characters? I think you all know where this would go. I'm not even going to bother linking to new Dante, just because you all know what he looks like by now (and if you don't, why are you reading this?). Dante and Vergil don't look anything like their original selves, and really don't act the game either. They are, in a lot of ways, the characters in name only. Same applies to Dante's weapons.
I could go on, but I think the point is made. DMC really isn't a DMC game if nothing about it resembles the past games. So, why bother called it a DMC game at all? Like I said above, I really don't know. I suppose it would have something to do with name recognition, but as far as I can tell, it only served to make people angry. Very angry.
If the game wasn't called DMC and associated with that series, would it have received nearly as much hate? Honestly, I doubt it. In fact, it might have been praised as a promising new IP. Especially since the game itself is considered by many to be well worth it. It's almost a shame that a game that is well put-together isn't selling as well as it probably should/could because people who are fans of the original are outraged.
I believe that if the only thing changed about the new DMC was the character names and the title, it would've been far better received. What do you think?