With the whirlwind of controversy surrounding the newest Devil May Cry, the consensus seems split on what to make of this new direction. While there have been some good points made on both sides, I think many glaring issues have gone largely unaddressed. First, let us cover the burning issues…
ISSUE #1: Dante’s new look
This has been a huge point of contention (a.k.a. internet flaming) amongst DMC fans. I’ll be up front and say I don’t like the look. It’s like a bad cross between Twilight, Fight Club, and a reject from a Tim Burton film. Plain and simply mediocrity.
Tameem Antoniades, creative director of Ninja Theory, was quoted as saying, “The essence of Devil May Cry is all about cool”. He goes on to say, “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 — isn’t cool anymore”. First, without sounding like the nerd of time, it was nine years ago. Second, I’d say you failed miserably at the whole cool thing.
This new Dante looks as hip as grunge flannel, but it’s not a big issue for me. He could look like a polka dot dung beetle with googly anime eyes that farted rainbows. As long as he is fun to play, I could care less.
///designer rant on/// Oh, and while we’re at it, can someone tell me what on Earth this ink blot turd smear of a logo is? What’s that, you’ve only got two hours to develop a new logo for a game? Why just smear something on the screen and use a military type that looks like it’s been freshly spray painted (OMG GRAFFITI). Looks like a bad album cover for a 90’s garage band. Nothing says dated or lazy like a good old destroyed look. ///designer rant off/// ISSUE #2: It’s not developed by Capcom:
Another issue is this game will not be developed by Capcom. Instead, the project has been entrusted to Ninja Theory. Now before I blow a gasket, NINJA THEORY IS NOT TEAM NINJA MORONS!! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had people say, “Oh yea, Team Ninja is making the game”. Just because both companies share the name ‘Ninja’ in their titles does not make them one in the same. Moving on…
I have mixed feelings on the subject. On one hand, I don’t trust Ninja Theory one bit. Their only two games were Kung Fu Chaos (meh), and more notably Heavenly Sword (a little above meh). Not a stellar track record. Heavenly Sword wasn’t a terrible game. It just wasn’t a great game plagued with issues and problems that kept it from greatness. Even the demo for their newest game Enslaved looks like a big bowl of meh.
I will admit, I could be totally wrong about this. Ninja Theory may have a few tricks up their sleeves. Other studios I had little faith in, such as Retro Studios, took a blasphemous idea like a first person Metroid, and turned it into a great series. So in that example I see a glimmer of hope.
On the other hand, I wouldn’t be too excited if Capcom developed it. You see the Capcom of today is radically different from the Capcom of the original Devil May Cry. When the original game hit the PS2 in 2001, it was directed by Resident Evil veteran Hideki Kamiya with Shinji Mikami as executive producer. Years later in 2007, both Hideki Kamiya and Shinji Mikami would be cut from Capcom and form what we now know as Platinum Games. Not to mention the departure of a few other members of the original Devil May Cry team.
If a new Devil May Cry were to be developed by Capcom, I have my doubts as to whether it would be of the same quality and polish as the original. As with Ninja Theory, Capcom could have surprised us all and made a great Devil May Cry with remnants of the original team, and some fresh blood from other internal studios. Of course we’ll never know.
At this point, it’s a wait and see kind of situation. I have almost zero faith in Ninja Theory or Capcom, but it remains to be seen. As the say, hope for the best but plan for the worst.
ISSUE #3: Competition:
Here’s a point I haven’t seen addressed. Even if Ninja Theory defies the odds and develops a spectacular addition to the franchise, how does it stack up to other third person action games. Since we’ve already mentioned them, Platinum Games’ Bayonetta is a perfect example.
A brand new franchise that did what Devil May Cry did and perfects it while adding a dollop of OMG DID YOU JUST SEE THAT?! Mix that with a mind numbingly deep combat system, excellent controls, and you’ve got a game I would say is infinitely better than any DMC game.
In this humble writer’s opinion, Bayonetta set the bar for third person action games. Remember, Platinum Games consists of the two key members from the original Devil May Cry, Hideki Kamiya and Shinji Mikami. You’ve got a team who’s not only created the original formula, but the successor to the original formula as well.
It’s still too early to see how this game will turn out. I’ve yet to see any concrete gameplay footage or a demo. If video games were like weather patterns, I’d say Devil May Cry 5 has a 70% of acid rain with a slight chance of disappointment. Like all weathermen, I could be dead wrong and DMC 5 might be a ray of gaming sunshine.
So I’ll just advise you carry your acid proof umbrella until the forecast becomes more clear.