The Devil May Cry series has been a beloved franchise in gaming ever since its introduction in 2001. The game series focused on Dante, a half-human, half-demon hybrid who hunted demons for a living after the demon king Mundus killed his family and locked away his father, the demon Sparda. The series featured critically-acclaimed combat and the gaming community quickly latched onto Dante for his cocky demeanor and signature style consisting of white hair, red jacket, and oversized sword hanging off of his back. The series only got
better with time, as the third and fourth entries in the series focused on expanding the writing of the series, introducing Dante’s brother Vergil and the impulsive Nero as key characters into the mythos of the world. Devil May Cry 3 is seen by many as the pinnacle of the series and Devil May Cry 4 was a worthy sequel.
However, it all ended there.
In 2010, at the Tokyo Game Show, Capcom announced that they intended on rebooting the series. Sales for the series had always been consistent, but Capcom wanted to reach a wider audience in the West, so they redesigned the game to appeal to the more lucrative market. As news for the reboot leaked out, fans became more and more outraged. No more would Dante sport his signature long, white hair; instead, it was replaced by a short, dark haircut that many described as making Dante seem “emo.” His red jacket was gone, and an oversized dark jacket now hung off of Dante’s shoulders. There was talks of making the combat more accessible to a new audience. None of this painted a good picture in the minds of longtime fans, and before the game had a chance to prove itself, it already had haters and detractors.
When DmC: Devil May Cry was released, it actually garnered many positive reviews. It garnered an 85 on Metacritic, and many reviewers even called it an improvement on the series as a whole. However, that was the best it could do. Many players refused to even give the game a chance on release, citing that Capcom was money-grubbing through its reboot and did not care for fans of the series. It was made too accessible, and therefore watered down the product.
So, where is the middle ground? Is it fair to damn a game before it comes out just because it is different from a predecessor, or should companies owe some loyalty back to the customers that supported these IP’s through thick and thin?
In my opinion, there have been some poor reboots in modern gaming. The new Thief game and Skylander’s: Spyro’s Adventure tend to stick out in my mind. It seems that these were only written with the intention to reach new buyers and lacked the heart and soul of the original franchises. However, that does not discount the success a reboot can offer. One only has to look at the latest Tomb Raider game or the new direction that Mortal Kombat has been heading down to see that. In these cases, the games were made substantially better than their predecessors, garnering critical acclaim and starting the franchise off in an exciting, new direction. I feel that DmC: Devil May Cry is going down this path as well. Dante, Virgil, and Mundus were all written substantially better than they had been in previous games, the style of the levels were beyond creative, and by the end of the game, Dante very much resembles the Dante of old that gamers were accustomed to while also leading the franchise into some interesting ideas for potential sequels.
Change is not always a bad thing. Change has done wonders for the gaming community already. Bullheaded ignorance and defiance begets nothing. Be wary of the negatives that a reboot can carry, but a game like DmC: Devil May Cry does not deserve to be buried for being different.