It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, and I’ve been meaning to express some agonizing sense of self-righteousness and cry about a game that may or may not exist. What the devil am I going on about? Well, there were hints, and you’ve read the titles and are clearly writing horrid comments below, I gather.
Just read on.
This article was sparked by rumors of Devil May Cry 5 being in production, and I ask if we should really care about the possibility of it being made. I know what you’re thinking Jesus Patrick, you’re moaning about a game that hasn’t even been announced yet. Well, I am, and for good reason: we all know that it’s coming, and with the remaster of the original Devil May Cry trilogy, it’s a good sign that something’s coming. It’s a shame, as I loved Ninja Theory’s DMC and felt it was a smart and frantic reboot the series needed, including some fresh ideas and a pleasing visual style. I’m sure people are getting the pitchforks and negative comments ready. So let me explain, I was never a massive fan of the original DMC games, and the news of a fifth entry into the saga doesn’t fill me with joy. Personally, I’d rather see the sequel to DMC. Let me tell you why.
The Series Began Lacking New Ideas
The original DMC was an exciting game changer back in 2001. Having been born from a potential Resident Evil concept, this new hack and slash showed great depth in its combat while offering an exhilarating sense of pacing. It was highly refined, fast, and stylish, with an amazing visual style that looked more like Castlevania on crack. While it was far from perfect, DMC was still a pretty good game. Then we got DMC2, and that was less than inspiring and just felt mindlessly rushed. The story was bland, the combat had evolved, and Dante was such a bore. Then DMC3 came along and showed great promise (personally, my favorite game in the series) but still played it safe with the same setting, same characters, and only a few new tricks in the combat. Then we got DMC4, and yeah, that was pretty bad.
The series failed to evolve and thus failed to adapt to the changing nature of game design and held off any dynamic progression with the sequels. Pretty much like how Gears of War is now, a safe, rehash of what was great. Bayonetta came out a couple of years later and helped re-define the genre with more style, interesting characters, and the most awesome personality in a game. Even Ninja Gaiden included changes, which many didn’t like, but at least it tried new things and learned from its mistakes. Even DMC made some impressive design choices, with awesome boss battles, a killer soundtrack that felt in tune with the action, and a compelling world where the visual style merged with the gameplay more flawlessly.
This is why Capcom handed the series over to Ninja Theory. The team did a great job with DMC, but the hardcore fans weren’t very happy with the industrial/punk influenced rebirth of the series.
The Original Dante Was A Bore
Yes, I know everyone loves Dante with his long grey hair, red leather suit, and big whopping sword. I ain’t denying he’s a good-looking guy, but outside of those good looks, the man is extremely dull. In the first game, he had style, wit, and a cheeky yet charming attitude, making him a likable hero in gaming. But from the first game, Dante lost the edge, his style, and his wit, making his personality whither away into a bland, generic demon hunter.
This personality issue rubbed off on the other games, which then lacked compelling narratives to keep you invested. Dante’s humor became too dry and his ego was redundant, and it felt like other characters around him were far more interesting. Trish, Vigil, and even smaller supporting cast members such as Gloria were more interesting to watch. Even Nero was more likable!
DMC’s Dante first impression was overly slammed and unfairly judged for being an “emo” even though the original character had some traits of an emo too. The new Dante had attitude, wit, and more importantly, emotional depth. He was a guy with gravitas, and his heart-breaking backstory provided as a relistic motivation for his journey. Plus his fighting styles were super awesome!
Devil May Cry 4 Was Bad
Okay, I won’t bash DMC4 too much, but I will address some critical flaws that made Capcom reboot the series with DMC. DMC4 was unimaginative, uninspiring, and overall a painful end to the series. While the intro boss fight was pretty cool, we were misled by Capcom who created a game where all the awesome set pieces, combat, and style were contained in cutscenes. We watched the amazing spectacle of DMC only for the game to throw the same small selection of enemies at us in small, contrived arenas while forcing awful camera controls, tedious lateral elements, and the same four bosses three times. Also, let’s not forget the second half of the game being the first half of the game in reserve with no major changes.
I’ve heard development was heavily under budget and Capcom had given minimal time for the team to create their vision. This is all fine if true, but alarm bells do spring up as Capcom had three years to develop the title, and back then, that’s a decent amount of time considering games like Gears of War 2, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, and Uncharted 2 all took two years to develop. Plus, DMC was a successful series, so why sabotage the fourth title?
It’s a shame that Ninja Theory won’t be continuing their version of DMC. Instead, we may have to suffer the same bland world that revolves around overly used gothic themes and the same tired, soulless plot devices that include our dull icon, Dante.
Should We Care?
There’s promise here as Capcom took one of its most famous franchises and rebooted it in a way that helped save the series. Resident Evil 7 was a great addition to the franchise and showed that Capcom was able to evolve their games and bring new ideas, dynamics, and responses to fan feedback. They could do the same for DMC and make it highly enthralling, new, and something that could easily rival Bayonetta. This also shows that Capcom is willing to gamble with their money like they did with DMC4, though they might’ve very well been restrictive on the budget for no good reason and wanted to abuse the trust of fans and gamers alike.
Then again, it’s Capcom. I don’t have a massive amount of faith in them, but there’s a small chance they might actually make DMC5 a bold addition to the series and a game changer like Resident Evil 4. I’m of two minds when it comes to imagining a sequel for DMC, but I think anything is better than leaving the series to die.
I would prefer to have Ninja Theory continue their vision.