Devil May Cry can look forward to younger, raging Dante in the 2012
reboot, along with a total change of environments, Angel and Devil
modes, and aerial combat galore.
British developer Ninja Theory made the trek to Cologne, Germany for
Gamescom 2011 to show off a very short tease of Capcom’s Devil May Cry
prequel. The game will reboot the franchise with a brand new Dante, who
has been completely redesigned as a younger, less refined hero. But his
attitude has remained intact.
Rebel with a demon-smashing cause
The game retains the black humor that has been a staple of the
third-person perspective action franchise, but it brings a more
contemporary feel to the forefront. Tameem Antoniades, who’s official
title is "Ninja Theory’s main creative dude,” used a Hollywood boxing
reference to compare the new Dante to Raging Bull, rather than Rocky 3. He’s a disenfranchised youth, a rebel, and he has plenty of pent-up rage to unleash on demons and assorted creatures.
The new story, details of which have yet to be revealed, introduces
an outcast Dante. Living on the periphery of society, Dante just doesn’t
care. Fortunately, at least from a gameplay perspective, Dante has no
fear and no respect for the demonic authorities that run the world he
lives in. The new game introduces Limbo, a parallel universe controlled
entirely by demonic forces. The gameplay experience in this world opens
up new challenges through an interactive environment that’s always
working against Dante’s quest. Passageways will close up, platforms will
move, and demons will spawn from doorways. The action will occur in
both the real world and in Limbo as the story unfolds.
Let there be light
The Gamescom game demo was set in a modern city that’s full of
vibrant colors and light, which is a stark contrast to the dark,
foreboding castles of past Devil May Cry games. The city retains the
traditional Gothic elements that many European cities have, but gamers
won’t have much time for sightseeing. Demons are everywhere. They
literally spawn from the floor and walls.
The first thing gamers will notice in combat is that this rebellious
young Dante is not the hero of old. He’s a more aggressive — and raw —
fighter. Dante is equipped with new fighting skills to take out the
assorted demons and monsters. While the traditional fighting mechanics
of assorted melee and close-range weapons remains intact, there are more
than just guns and swords at play now. Dante has a full range of
airborne attacks, which are a great way to string together combos as
enemies are hacked and slashed.
Antoniades said the combat has the Devil May Cry feel, which will
become more evident once gamers get their hands on the game (even press
haven’t been able to touch the controller yet). One of the goals for the
development team was to preserve the combat dynamics of the franchise,
but add a new flavor to the mix. Gameplay encourages players to perform
more aerial combat. Demons can be tossed in the air, where they remain
for an inordinate amount of time as multi-chain attacks take them out.
Adding a new twist to the combat, as well as more depth to the
experience, are the Angel and Devil modes. It’s here that Dante’s move
set literally triples. By holding down the trigger button, Dante can
make use of a new arsenal of powers categorized as either Angel or
Devil. Devil powers introduce a grapple hook that can be fired at
enemies. This maneuver plays in with the aforementioned aerial combat,
opening up a tumult of combo-infused damage. The Angel powers will
revolve around traversing the screen quickly, although this feature was
not demonstrated. Each of these powers also opens up new weapons, with
the Devil powers introducing two different sets of dual pistols and the
Angel powers showcasing a scythe. Players can map these weapons to the
D-pad for instant access in the heat of combat.
Capcom Japan and Ninja Theory insist that this latest game will offer
the same addictive gameplay experience that fans the world over have
come to love. Antoniades said the short game demo is only a small subset
of the game’s combat. But he hopes it shows the developer has a handle
on things. Motohiro Eshiro, the producer on the game at Capcom Japan,
believes the new aerial combat, along with the Devil and Angel powers,
adds something fresh to the franchise.
A hybrid approach
Ninja Theory is known for creating beautiful worlds and developing
believable characters, while Capcom remains one of the best
fighting-game developers in the world. The new Devil May Cry looks to
marry these strengths, while introducing a new legion of fans to a
different Dante and a more interactive and immersive world. The
independent game studio is working collaboratively with Capcom Japan on
this 2012 release.
To date, the development team has focused on creating fluid character
control in building out this new world. How Dante and his enemies
maneuver in combat has been the heart of this franchise from day one. As
part of this effort, the new game will run at a fixed 30 frames per
second (fps), rather than the previous games’ 60 fps. Antoniades said
this allows the gameplay environments to be more complex with dynamic
world changes, as Dante crosses between the real world and the demonic
realm. The developer promises that by the time the game launches, it
will still play like a Devil May Cry game.
The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game is scheduled to ship in 2012. By
then, the game should have a much-improved story line, which is a staple
of Ninja Theory games. And as long as the gameplay retains the
precision-based fighting action that has propelled the series to
millions of units sold around the globe, fans who have questions the new
look of Dante should be mollified.