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DmC Retrospective: The History of a Controversy (Part 1/2)

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DmC Retrospective: The History of a Controversy (Part 1/2)

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Game over whore mother I don't know my.

Mother but if you're calling me a son-of-a-bitch wouldn't be the first yeah so I have.

Been much looking forward to this one since starting this double May Cry series retrospective but almost two years ago to him I've been doing this for almost two years I knew this video was going to be the most challenging one to do not because I have some seething hatred for it or anything but because for me this reboot is extremely tough to talk about for years I've had conflicting feelings about this reboot to a series that is quite dear to me there are certain things I love about this game but also parts I kind of despise and I don't.

Think I'm the only one with this issue when you look towards the general reception to DMC's reboot mixed response as a fairly app statement with some loving the game and others wishing to see it wiped from the face of the earth even within my own comments there are people that are waiting for me to either via mentally defend this game like it's my firstborn child or to drop some blanket style teardown on how much I love it and this is what makes ninja theories reboot of Devil May Cry stupidly titled DMC Devil May Cry with the little M in the middle so difficult to analyze since it is the most divisive video game reboot in history typically when you look towards the fan reaction to a video game reboot you can find a general consensus on public opinion of it ranging between yeah that's a pretty good game to mass hysteria and questions of why we even play video games but this isn't quite the case with DMC within gaming culture specifically the DMC fanbase there's a large group that says DMC Devil May Cry is easily the best game in the series and fixes all of the problems the older games have in anyone hates it as a crybaby plus the new Dante's way hotter well there's the opposing side that says something like slap in the face to the fans and it irreparably damaged the name of this series we should burn down Ninja Theory burn it burn it to the ground and the truth of the matter is that the game actually falls somewhere in the middle of these two arguments beyond all the controversies and outrage DMC Devil May Cry is a fine game it's fine it's totally fine it's nowhere as bad as the fandom makes it out to be and not as amazing as the supporters make it sound it's simply a decent game that was damaged by the legacy it had to uphold along with some questionable decisions by both the developer and the publisher.

But now that it's been more than five years since its initial release I think it's time we remove ourselves from our biases a bit and re-examine this game in order to see what went so wrong that it created such a giant divide for fans of The Devil May Cry series so let's jump into limbo and take a look at the good the bad and the ugly this is my DMC Devil May Cry retrospective.

So while there is a huge amount of things to get into with this game like the changes to the formula the new Dante and the terrible dialogue and I got a bigger dick probably the most important thing to start off with is how we got here and the decisions that led to Capcom even doing a reboot for the Devil May Cry series in the first place you see DMC Devil May Cry was made in an entirely different culture than all other previous DMC games and within an entirely different context and to really get into that and how we would end up shaping the end product we have to go all the way back to the end of 2008 the Year DMC 4 was released hey Dante.

When Capcom released the fourth DMC game there was high hopes for its sales performance wise since it was the first game that was released on consoles other than the PlayStation meaning it could reach a much larger audience and when BMC 4 came out it had extremely strong sales numbers for a relatively niche title like Devil May Cry even being the best in the franchise in terms of total sales worldwide but they weren't as strong as other games in the market at the time with titles like Call of Duty and Gears war 2 selling upwards of 4 million units each a sales tier that the higher-ups at Capcom were hoping the MC 4 would reach now that it was on multiple platforms forgetting those games had an entirely different demographic and development budget to them so it was due to the perceived lackluster sales of DMC 4 that led to the belief that the series needed something to take it in a new direction in order to grab that larger audience that they'd been aiming for since 3 instead of you know letting the devs have the appropriate time to actually make the games they originally planned thus resulting in a higher quality product that fans would recommend to others which could bring in a newer audience but man what do I know though even if Capcom wanted to take their series in a bold new direction there were a few things they had to sort out first to start there was the problem that Capcom had been writing themselves into a bit of a corner with DMC for a while now at least from a writer's perspective it's safe to say that the narratives in the Devil May Cry games were never their strongest aspects with the story quality of the series essentially peaking with 3 and as much as future gamers would eventually miss the classic Dante we grew to love over the years the writers knew they couldn't keep doing the same half-demon bounty hunter saving the world story without getting old and tired the writers tried to fix this by making the fourth game about a new character while putting Dante in more of a mentor role which was a great idea in hindsight but the troubled development of 4 resulted in the story being half-finished and as a result Nero turned out to be a half character that was a transparent imitation of Dante and the actual Dante became the main thing everyone was focused on in the end so now the writers were stuck with essentially the same problem they already had just with more characters and a time line just as mixed up as the Metal Gear series but while issues with writing aren't anything new for Capcom and they could have worked through it I mean we could get a game focused on Sparta's adventures and I would be happy another bigger issue was that the main person that DMC had been built around for so many years just didn't want to do it anymore at least for the time after completing the almost four year development cycle of for Hideki at suno the director of DMC two three and four got really deep into the development of his true passion project Dragon's Dogma which he'd been planning for years and finally got the OK from Capcom to start working on it and this came at the perfect time too as he was looking to take a break from the DMC series basically it suno was concerned about DMC becoming stagnant if it was constantly made by the same team with the same hardware telling the same stories which could lead to fans becoming tired of it and if this sounds ridiculous to you just look at what happened with the Assassin's Creed series it was this mentality that led to hit suno thinking it was a good time to step away from the series for a bit and focus on other games for a while so in the end rather than rush out a fifth double May Cry game with an entirely new director and dev team with no real script and the hopes of selling even more than previous titles the higher-ups decided that it might be best to take the series somewhere else somewhere outside the studio but the question was who could make an action title like DMC Devil May Cry has always had a very specific style of hack and slash gameplay to it and not just anyone could make it work again let's look at what happened with DMC - when you give an unfamiliar team a property like that now at this point in time clover Studios had already been dissolved due to a majority of their talent leaving to go form Platinum Games Team Ninja was already busy with Ninja Gaiden and ruining Metroid and grasshopper wasn't answering Capcom's calls anymore so Capcom had to do a little searching around named lead towards the West now Capcom outsourcing the development of one of their IPs wasn't anything new for the better part of the late 2000s Capcom had been going to a lot of western devs to do work on their titles in order to improve their reach into the expanding Western market for example after the first Dead Rising game was made in-house by Capcom Japan the development for the rest of the series was done by blue castle which later became Capcom Vancouver then there was the third Lost Planet game which was handled by spark unlimited out of Sherman Oaks California and the Swedish developer grin worked on both of the late 2000s Bionic Commando games yes including the one with the wife arm.

Eventually even Silent Hill Homecoming Fame double-helix would make the reboot first rider in 2014 Capcom did this massive amount of outsourcing because it meant that they could increase their output by maximizing the amount of games and development on top of expanding their reach into the Western market with the Western main releases of their slightly lesser-known IPS which they would continue doing up until it stopped paying off and Capcom blamed this strategy for their massive net losses to their investors in 2013 but we're getting ahead of ourselves on that one it was during this time of outsourcing when capcom Japan was made aware of the uk-based studio ninja theory originally known as just add monsters when working on their kung fu film game kung-fu chaos ninja theory was a somewhat unknown developer in the late 2000s with their two more well-known titles being heavenly sword a hack and slash ps3 game about a woman who uses her heavenly weaponry to fight an evil Andy Serkis and the vennen development enslaved Odyssey to the west a modernised fantasy retelling of the Chinese novel Journey to the West except this time with robots despite being a smaller developer with not a huge amount of street cred though when looked at face value ninja Theory had a lot of what Capcom was looking for their games had solid melee combat systems that fitted somewhere between God of War and Devil May Cry in terms of complexity and with an extremely unique aesthetic to them that separated the games from a lot of other studios but even more important was that ninja theories games included highly character-driven cinematic experiences which was very appealing to Capcom as they knew that the story to DMC had always been a limiting weakness for the series so going to a developer that was experienced at making narrative focus games with good combat systems like ninja theory was a strong choice for them so Capcom went to the devs of Ninja Theory namely Tamim antoniadis chief creative director of the company with the proposition of doing a DMC game which eventually shifted to being a reboot to the series so that there were less restrictions and ninja theory was happy to develop the next big Devil May Cry entry since it would be a huge get for their smaller studio and they had a lot of ideas going in but Capcom had one big prerequisite for them and that was that it needed to be ninja theories take on the series more specifically a Western take Capcom felt that one of the biggest things limiting their sales numbers was that DMC didn't appeal enough to Westerners overseas so they wanted a western-style of game to better appeal to that part of the market and in retrospect this was a tough request because at its core Devil May Cry is a Japanese game and I'm not just talking about where it was made the series has a lot of gothic European inspirations for its architecture and lore but the story and game design elements that made Devil May Cry what it was was heavily influenced by its origins in the Land of the Rising Sun well designed to look like a British guy by its original creator Don T's mannerisms were highly impacted by anime characters from the 80s namely Cobra from space adventure Cobra which affected his devil-may-care attitude and flippant tone towards demons from the underworld something that would translate into the eventual cheesy irreverent tone that the games would have especially with the later games I mean how many western-style characters could you see riding a motorbike of a collapsing tower and then using said motorbike as a sword while fighting demons midair mmm-maybe Joel from Last of Us I guess then there's the fact that Japanese game designers prefer to use more vibrant colors and vivid character designs compared to the grittier realism that is favored in the West which is why the demonic enemies Dante fights have a more stylized look when compared to what most Western games go for when designing demons and when he came to game design the Devil May Cry games have always had a linearity to them not a huge amount of branching paths even when every other developer was trying to get into that GTA sandbox playstyle and that is because Japanese gamers for the most part don't gravitate as heavily to open-world games as Westerners do and perform or linear experiences that focus on story which is why games like FF 13 did so well over there and while these aren't hard fast rules for how games are made in the east and west as we're starting to see a slight shift with games like breadth of the wild in 2009 this was still a pretty prevalent standard so yeah making something like Devil May Cry into a western-style game with a narrative focus was gonna be tough from the get-go since it would mean changing a lot about what made DMC what it was on a fundamental level but to me man ninja theory took the challenge Capcom gave them and started development on their version of DMC with hopes of keeping the core of Dante and the series intact this party's getting crazy let's rock and this is where most would expect me to start tearing into Ninja Theory for the changes they made to Dante and how it ruined the series but there's a little bit more to it than what's at face value from looking at early designs it was clear that Ninja Theory wanted to make their world and more specifically of their characters stand out from the other games in the series by adding a lot of their own visual flair to things but still carry over some of the aspects of the original that fans loved each character and enemy they created went through a lot of early drafts and redesigns to figure out the aesthetic they wanted to go for but the character they spent the most time working on was Dante at first making slight alterations to the original design but still keeping familiar traits like the white hair and red coat a few of the early drafts that the artists that ninja Theory made were actually great interpretations of a new style of Dante like one that had a big NOLA era Hellboy aesthetic to them or did this sleek modern Templar design but Capcom wanted a new and take on the demon hunter that could appeal to a younger western audience and insisted they go even further with the designs for them this reboot was meant to be an origin story for Dante and so they wanted this version of him to be highly distinct from the Dante fans were familiar with because it's always a good idea to drastically revamp an iconic character and hope it will do even better than previous iterations that's definitely not something that has turned out badly before so for those who are ready for me to tear into Ninja Theory for what they did to Dante it's important to remember that it was actually Capcom that pushed for the extensive changes in Dante's design and Ninja Theory were actually the ones who wanted to keep it closer to the original only making the dress alterations we would eventually see because the higher-ups thought it would be more appealing to those of us in the West and it was this series of decisions that would set the course for the rest of the game's development for better and definitely for the worst which brings us to the 2010 Tokyo Game Show which would be one of the most defining moments for ninja theory and their DMC reboot while gamers were excited to see Capcom's big announcements for titles like MVC 3 oakum Eden and Usher as wrath probably the biggest reveal Capcom had prepared for the show was for the new Devil May Cry game there had already been rumors in Game Informer of ninja theory being involved with the fifth Devil May Cry title meaning there was a lot of speculation on what this could mean but it wasn't until the 2010 TGS that it was publicly confirmed by Capcom with the teaser trailer for the new game and going in Capcom and Ninja Theory both knew that fans might not immediately latch on to the new designs that were going to be shown so they were ready for some negativity from the fanbase but I highly doubt they were prepared for the response that gods.

What the fuck is wrong with you there.

This new Dante looks like a smoking emo junkie ah Dante looks like a fucking emo kid scum.

Care I mean who is it woodsy now Sweeney Todd you jesting up in a Halloween.

Costume that's not even remotely close to what Dante looks like nigga you got the jacket in the guns so yeah there.

Were a few people that maybe didn't like the new approach that Capcom seem to be taking with the DMC series I mean it wasn't quite Ghostbusters 2016 or Infinite Warfare's levels of hate but still there were a lot of troubled fans voicing concerns about the teaser and they reacted in the typical calm internet fashion were all accustomed to now don't misunderstand this there were some that genuinely enjoyed the new take on the series thinking it was an interesting direction to go and others that were reserving their opinions for when the finished product was out but the most vocal group the ones sending the death threats were the ones that despised the changes shown in the trailer thinking it deviated way too far from the original series with the Dante's lack avoid hair grittier design and new smoking habit being key complaints and this is likely when Capcom stepped in after seeing the negative response that the announcement trailer received Capcom rushed in to start doing damage control its uno and some of the other Capcom employees from previous DMC games had been supervising the project since the beginning but it was at this point in development that they took a bit more of a hands-on approach at least to redirect ninja theory to fix some of the issues that fans been quite vocal about because as much as they wanted to take the series in a bold new direction for a younger western audience major controversies don't typically make for good sales numbers so while the general aesthetic that was shown in the trailer was kept the same with Dante's outfit and the design of the enemies staying fairly intact the tone of the game was heavily shifted dante was given much softer features and speaking voice made to be a bit younger and lost the smoking habit though the haircut was kept the same despite the complaints as it was part of the plant narrative that ninja Theory had written for the game what was removed entirely though was the supposed backstory for Dante that he was some sort of prisoner or test subject since the scene of Dante being strung up and interrogated ultimately never appeared anywhere in the game or is even alluded to which was likely for the best but unfortunately even though the devs addressed a lot of the complaints from fans while still keeping to the original spirit of their game the damage had already been done when Capcom came to e3 2011 the next year to show a trailer that was much closer to what the finished product would be many were already dismissive towards it due to the perception created by the teaser trailer there was a good portion of the fan base that had preemptively wrote off the game is being terrible and disrespectful to the original VMC games before it even came out and no matter what capcom showed it wasn't gonna get a fair shot which is kind of silly in hindsight I mean who bases their opinions on something entirely on how it looks in early trailers okay yeah but that's completely different and from here all the negative reception and death threats continued all the way through the next two years of DMC's development up until the game's official release in early 2013 and even continuing to this day the sad thing though is that ninja Theory was doing everything Capcom asked for it was Capcom that wanted to make a reboot to the series and it was Capcom that insisted on making a western-style DMC game with major changes to the formula while forgetting what it was that people appreciated both the series in the first place and it was ninja theory that took the brunt of the anger and vitriol for decisions Capcom made for the sake of making BMC a more profitable series in the West which ironically ended up not working out how they planned it's basically the classic intersection between art and business leading to bad decisions for both and a lot of those decisions actually started with Capcom and their major lack of foresight.

The question is though now that we know what Capcom's involvement was in creating the reboot and the bad decisions of the higher-ups were making that led to it was the game that ninja theory ended up making worth the pre-emptive hatred it was getting from the fandom was all the outrage warranted or was this simply the knee-jerk fan reaction had changed that Chris Penson thought it was well we'll get to that next time thanks for watching and I'll see you again soon. DMC Devil May Cry is easily the best game in the entire series and fixes all of the problems the older game has and anyone who hates it it's just a crybaby to anyone listening this I don't actually believe a word of what I just said please Fox is keeping me at gunpoint someone sent help

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