Interview from Ninja Theory talking about what their doing with the series:
"Is Devil May Cry Still Cool? The creative director behind Capcom's revival defends the new art style and talks Bayonetta comparisons.
When Capcom released the first DmC trailer (reproduced below) last week, the Internet wasn't happy. Here was a series fans loved, in a genre dominated by Japanese developers, with a main character that looked like a Japanese pop star; and the people in charge were bringing in a Western development team, and "reimagining" main character Dante by making him look like -- depending who you ask -- a trendy vampire, Hillary Swank, or Justin Bieber. For many (though notably, not all), the gut reaction was anger. "I literally can't stop laughing at how bad that character design is," said Ken Saunders on the 1UP forums.
"I think they are trying to bring new fans into the series and don't care if they alienate the old fans," added Emilio Morales.
"For the style that DMC has gone for all these years it seems like a logical progression," countered Matt Schulte. "The Metal Goth imagery is still intact with a change to a more urban setting (reminds me of a DMC-inspired Empire City from Infamous) and the style [of] the main character is relevant to the style of people who are into that culture. It's just no longer being drawn by anime-inspired artists."
Capcom's Keiji Inafune has made many comments recently about Japanese companies needing to look to Western developers for inspiration, and DmC is the most obvious example yet of the publisher putting a Western spin on a well-established Japanese franchise. Ninja Theory creative director Tameem Antoniades, who some have pointed out looks like the new Dante (which he claims wasn't intentional), sees this as an important shift.
"The essence of Devil May Cry is all about 'cool,'" he says. "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 [Editor's Note: he's a bit off, as the first title came out in 2001] -- isn't cool anymore. If Dante, dressed as he was, walked into any bar outside of Tokyo, he'd get laughed out. What Devil May Cry did when it launched was it brought everything that was great about action cinema like the fashion, music -- it was like a cultural melting pot -- and I feel like now, for Devil May Cry to have that same impact, it needs to draw on new things. New music, new ways of cinematography, new fashion."
Showing clear cultural differences, Antoniades -- who's based in the UK -- places the new game in contrast to Platinum Games' Bayonetta, which was led by original Devil May Cry director Hideki Kamiya and a team in Japan.
Asked if he thinks Bayonetta looks cool, Antoniades says: "Personally, I don't. I love the game. I think it's awesome. It's taken everything -- it's just gone to a total extreme. But in terms of, 'Do I think it's cool?' No, not at all. I think it's caricatured and over-the-top and very 'Japanesey,' and for that absurd style it does that really well, but that's not what I want."
As it turns out, Ninja Theory has been working with Capcom's U.S. and Japan offices on this new art style for the past year.
"[Initially], we said, 'Go explore the space,' and [Ninja Theory] came back with a very incremental look from what Dante had usually been," says Capcom USA lead producer Alex Jones. "And we went, 'No guys, go back to first principles and really do something,' and then they went about 25-percent more down the field. And we're like, 'No, seriously! Do something that you think would make us angry with you,' and that's when we started making progress."
When I mention the fan reaction thus far to Jones and Antoniades, they point out that, since this is an origin story, DmC's Dante will evolve over the course of the game, so the Dante seen in the trailer won't be the same Dante on the screen for the entire game. They stop short of confirming whether that means he'll be playable as a child, or whether he will turn into something resembling his character from the older games at some point along the way, claiming that much of the story is still under development, but they point to his hair in the trailer as an example.
"His hair is white!" says Jones. "Actually there is some white in the trailer, to all you guys on the forums saying it's not."
Wait, is it really?
"There's... there's some white in there," he says. "We weren't trying to hide it."
Regardless of the details, it's clear the idea here was to shock players with something new, and to that extent Capcom has succeeded. The question now is whether they can overcome the negative feedback that's come along with that, and whether there's a large enough new audience to replace disappointed legacy fans. Antoniades points out that while the game looks different, it will still feel "mechanically responsive," and control "like a DMC game," which if true should go a long way to calming fears about a new development team taking over the franchise. But with a game based around the idea of being cool, word of mouth will play a very important role over the next year or so before it hits stores."