Ninja Theory's task is to make the new Devil May Cry accessible to new players and those who "may have abandoned" the franchise, chief designer Tameem Antoniades said at an E3 demo of DmC. If "fast-paced, demonic action with giant swords and guns" is "accessible," then Ninja Theory has nailed its market. Not everything about DmC is a brazen departure from its roots. The world may be more colorful, but it is still Dante's world, and he owns it with the same wit and flair of his predecessors. The heart of Devil May Cry lies in action, and DmC features plenty of moments for brutal, multi-weapon attacks and quick strategy to uphold this legacy.
The extended demo has Dante run an obstacle course constructed by Lilith, the ruler of all demons in Limbo City. The course itself is one of the more obvious attempts to modernize the series, as it's a parody of reality television contests, which Lilith calls "The Devil Has Talent." Dante runs through several stages, with "Round 1! Fight!" announcements introducing each battle, and hilariously altered catch phrases from shows such as America's Next Top Model sprinkled throughout Lilith's taunts.
Dante uses his classic human sword, Rebellion, along with the angel scythe Osiris, and Arbiter the demon axe. He also relies on his trusted firearms, Ebony and Ivory, to fight off The Rage, fire demons and ice demons, among a few others. Fire demons can only be destroyed with demon attacks, ice demons only with angel attacks, and The Rage is a pair of beasts that become enraged when one partner is killed.
The strategy behind killing each brand of enemy is the crux of DmC's intrigue as a character-action title, and Ninja Theory made sure to focus on that aspect – not necessarily making the game "hard," but creating challenging, engaging battles and including a variety of enemies.When Dante activates Devil Trigger mode his hair turns white and he takes on the face of a demon, lending him more power and speed while restoring his health. The white hair isn't a thowback to classic Dante's appearance, but it does hold some significance, Antoniades said.
"These are the early formative years for Dante," he said. "It has a story point that leads somewhere else later on in the game."
Antoniades promised, without revealing who exactly would show up, that DmC will feature a cast of classic franchise characters, all stylized to fit the new title's world. Alex Garland, who wrote the screenplays for 28 Days Later and Sunshine, is a consulting writer on DmC's story, so expect those new characters to be literally reborn, or really, really tan.
DmC is slated to launch on January 15, 2013 for consoles, and will hit "soon after" for PC. Ninja Theory is still working on porting the console build to PC and configuring the controls, Antoniades said. The title has been delayed once, and for good reason, as Antoniades opened the demo with a warning: "The cut-scenes are unfinished."
Capcom had previously expressed plans to release a new Devil May Cry game every 2.5 years, but for now, Antoniades said, Ninja Theory isn't even thinking about a sequel. DmC will, of course, have DLC.
DLC in this day and age? How rebellious.