a portfolio of videogame writings
Nobody could accuse Ninja Theory of lacking confidence. The opening chapter of their re-imagined Devil May Cry begins with demonic strippers thrusting at the camera during a raucous dubstep infused credits sequence. We’re introduced to the re-designed youthful, crew-cut Dante as he engages in some late night salacious partying on a Santa Monica style pier. And when the action begins and Dante is drawn into Limbo – a demon realm parallel to the human one – aggressive and foreboding messages paint themselves on the environment à la Splinter Cell: Conviction, and flashes of a news report denounce him as a terrorist. There’s not an ounce of subtlety in sight, and that is entirely deliberate. This is Ninja Theory’s Devil May Cry, and they sure as hell want you to know it.
Capcom’s brand of camp gothic anime is still simmering away somewhere beneath the surface, but it’s overshadowed by a more sexualised western stylising. You’re more likely to find this incarnation of Dante roaming a modern nightclub than an ancient castle, which is a welcome reset in tone for a franchise that was quickly descending into self-parodying melodramatic ridiculousness – remember the rose in mouth flamenco dancing of Devil May Cry 4?
And if it was these stylistic changes that resulted in an outcry of pre-release concern regarding Ninja Theory’s design deviances, then the naysayer’s can rest assured that their worries were unfounded. This is the same devil may care Dante you’ve played as before, a cocksure pun-slinger with a thing for pizza; he’s just a bit more grounded. The same can also be said for the world around him, as it’s plagued by governmental debt, a population subduing energy drink and the propaganda of a demon run news corporation. At the centre of all this turmoil sits the demon lord Mundus, the murderer of Dante’s parents, posing in the human world as the banker Kyle Ryder.