Devil May Cry had a curious journey as it went from a prototype for Resident Evil 4 for what it would eventually would become. Because of the nature of how popular Resident Evil 4 ended up being in the social consciousness, the journey that Devil May Cry made has had less investigation than the many different iterations of Leon’s solo outing.
Double unfortunate is that the only concept art of Devil May Cry that really exists on the internet appears to be the handful of pieces available on the HD collect release disk. Most of these for the original title are just promotional renders of Dante and the different enemies in the game.
Let’s make some observations based on what I’ve found available online:
At one point in time it looks like Dante had some sort of supporting cast. Since this picture in particular involves what looks like two police officers/detectives, I think it’s actually concept art from when the game was still being pitched as the fourth Resident Evil.
This is a neat tidbit because in the actual series itself, Dante is never around anyone that could be considered a ‘normal human’ except for a brief bit in the introduction of the fourth game in the series. As the concept would have gone, in the Resident Evil series Tony Redgrave might have represented a fantastical element out of the norm, whereas in Devil May Cry Dante is representative of the closest anchor we have to reality.
Also worth pointing out: Dante’s outfit might have been the first thing really established about the character. A piece of art I haven’t been able to find online is a concept artist trying out several different color combinations of Dante’s coat before looking like they finally settled on the red outfit.
Above and below is more concept art of Dante. I’d like to key into how the character is represented in these pictures as when we might be able to determine if this was “Tony Redgrave” or “Dante” we were looking at. The top most picture is most certainly from the era after Kamiya was given the green light to create a wholly original product. Dante’s outfit might be similar to the bottom picture, but is rendered with a more stylish flourish. He looks like a character that wouldn’t have been out of place in Vampire Hunter D.
This picture is more hard to say, but judging by how para-military Dante’s outfit is I think this is from the “Tony Redgrave” design of the character. Notice that while in an undefined style, certain details are already set in stone: regal detailing on his vest, and a combination of motorcycle and street wear.
Despite Dante’s flamboyant attire, this outfit wouldn’t seem too out of place among the likes of Oswell Spencer or even Wesker post him seeing The Matrix. Dante’s outfit merely stands out more because it is a great deal more complex than the simple button up coat Wesker eventually dons.
Before moving on to area and equipment concept art I’ve found: This is probably the most interesting piece of art for the original Devil May Cry. Mostly because of the character standing between Dante here, wearing an outfit near what he wears in the final game, and Trish. Was this character a last minute cut? Or simply did Mundus originally appear in the game in a more human form.
Devil May Cry has an incredibly small cast. The top-most picture in this article already details that there was originally more of a supporting cast for Dante when the game was still connected to Resident Evil. Maybe this third figure was a last attempt on delivering on that idea before it was finally abandoned?
In the original concept for Resident Evil 4 that Kamiya worked on, it has been noted that Tony Redgrave was either the son of Wesker, or the son of someone directly related to the Spencer family. Supposedly this is an image of Sparda (judging by the twins in the crib) but here he looks unlike any of the ways he’s depicted elsewhere in the series.
Sparda’s role the in the series is an interesting one: His demonic visage frames the opening of the original Devil May Cry and is references throughout the rest of the series. Yet there’s never been a true depiction of him in the games outside the above mentioned alternate costume in Devil May Cry 3.
The only possible thing that could shed doubt on that character being Sparda is the existence of artwork of the above man - who bears a striking resemblance to Dante’s alternate costume in the third game but is still markedly different. I think there’s evidence that more of the series’ storyline was already present than we’re aware of before the game took on the moniker Devil May Cry and this art points to it. At some point, this became the art that future references to Sparda would be based on.
Above is concept for an area the player encounters super early in the game, below it is the final product as the area appears in Devil May Cry HD collection. It’s immediate that you’ll notice the concept art depicts a much gloomier and spookier area. The final area, with the exception of a single boss fight, retains a brightly lit aesthetic for the duration of the game. Also worth pointing out is that in the concept art there’s a much more of a bizarre wildlife concept present, whereas all that remains in the final version is the vines below the fountain and a few trees.
This is one of the first areas in the game you’ll lay eyes on if you play Devil May Cry. Much like the original Resident Evil has the iconic opening hallway that introduces the player to the mansion this area serves to tell us as much as it can about Devil May Cry and its gothic aesthetic. While there’s more color apparent in the conceptual design of this room, the finalized area comes off as pretty close to how it was envisioned.
I especially like how much care was to taken to bring in the spacial arrangement as close as to the concept as possible. The horseback rider dominates most camera angles here, and when it doesn’t the camera lingers in tight corridors or on the giant statue of what players will later discover is Mundus towards the climax.
Finallly - another area from the beginning of the game that looks to have changed entirely. Out of frame in the lower screenshot is the fact that the final product keeps the warped, organic pillars that throb like veins. Yet here the entire layout of the room has changed too - gone are the staircases to the side and the large ornate gothic windows. Replaced is something much simpler in design yet still just as effective.
Unfortunately, even though there’s yet more concept art for Devil May Cry none of it really answers the question of how much of the game remains unchanged from its original format. Just looking at some of these area designs there’s still some Resident Evil influence. In many ways the castle that Devil May Cry is set in has the sort of bizarre somehow lived-in atmosphere that the Mansion and Police Station in Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 had.
As the franchise went on it’s a feeling that was eventually lessened over time. While there’s strange occultism present everywhere in the castle Dante journeys through in Devil May Cry it still feels like a real inhabitable place. This is contrary to the environments in later games of the series that while well designed still feel like wholly digital environments. They become Hell Castle or Ancient Temple.
While it may no longer be fresh in our minds, the original Devil May Cry marked the death knell of the 3D action game as it was. Gone would be the stilted combat systems only added as an afterthought so the player might explore an area in 3D. Instead, it delivered action games to a whole new level of mechanical brilliance and essentially lay the groundwork for the modern action game.
Even games like God Hand came from lessons that team members learned from Devil May Cry and it’s approach to making combat a cornerstone of design and not just an afterthought. Some of the only legitimately important titles in the same genre that could be considered cut from the same cloth like Shinobi are only so because they decided to embark in a separate direction entirely.
Devil May Cry was an odd experiment for its time that just happened to crawl kicking and screaming from the womb of creation and grow into a full on franchise. It’s a series that’s left it’s mark with a host of imitators in the realm of videogames as well as dozens of homages and shout-outs in comic books, anime and film.
Appropriate for a game that was so inspired by all of the above that it in turn was able to leave a deep cut in all of the things that inspired it. Devil May Cry wasn’t just a breakout hit on the Playstation 2 - it was the result of a creative decision that likely wouldn’t fly in a major studio these days.
If you’re not familiar, Devil May Cry was a pretty big creative gamble for Capcom. The director, Hideki Kamiya had previous experience but still was given the ultimate go-ahead to create a new title completely separate from one of the studios’ most popular franchises instead of trying to tie it in to that pre-existing series.
So goes the back story of Devil May Cry: Around the turn of the new millennium Shinji Mikami tasked Hideki Kamiya with creating a new entry in the Resident Evil series. Kamiya decided to go in a different direction then the survival-horror trappings of previous Resident Evil games, and instead wanted to make a stylish action game.
Eventually the scenario that was planned by Shinji Mikami and Nobooru Sugimura (a scenario planner for Capcom a the time) was deemed to have gone in too different a direction then would be fitting of the Resident Evil moniker, so ties to that series were severed and our hero Tony Redgrave became the eponymous Dante.
Even though Devil May Cry became it’s own creature apart from the monster that is the Resident Evil Series, it always had a little familiar glimmer of Resident Evil in its makeup. Whether it was in the design of the devils bearing the same eyeball-obsessed sinewy look that many Resident Evil monsters would share or the many dark corridors Dante would walk down, Devil May Cry and Resident Evil always had the faintest of connections.
In honor of that, I’ll be dedicating the end of September and, more importantly, October to an examination of the Devil May Cry series of videogames (including DmC) in an attempt to not just find out what makes the individual games tick, but more importantly because I’m on the hunt to find out what keeps the series from being true horror and instead be left in the realm of ‘spookiness’ along with Jack-O-Lantern’s and spider-webs.
Of course, my ultimate goal is to do a critique of the newest release/reboot of the series, DmC: Devil May Cry. I feel like the game has been critiqued before, but not in how it relates and draws from previous games in the series in a kind of schizophrenic way. What I mean (if you haven’t played DmC) is that the game had an unclear idea of just how much it wanted to draw from previous elements of the series. Anytime it does wholeheartedly, it seems a little bit apologetic in the way it re-hashes elements players were familiar with before.
Before we can make that criticism of DmC seem sound, I’ll be covering every other game in the series from what I hope is as close to the ground-up as I can possibly get.
NEXT -> FROM A WORLD OF THE UNDEAD TO A WORLD OF DEVILS: Concept art and it’ relation to the final look of Devil May Cry
A common sentiment read this week: Videogames are at a position that comics were in the 90’s. That position is one of pandering. A market unsure of where to expand next, just as well bolstered by marketing to the kinds of people that devour tales of male chauvinism as it is by those of creators who value equality and better representation.
Videogames are such a massive industry now that if not for the massive amounts of money companies make off of things like movies and cartoons, it’d be easy to say that videogames by themselves surpass the size and scope of the comics market. Yet even though massive in size, they have yet to supplant comic books in terms of storytelling and representation.
A woman in a videogame (Resident Evil)
Nowdays, comic books attraction to the idea of the male power fantasy has started to become something of a running joke. It’s less likely to happen outside of the realm of superhero comics and even there the idea of a story offering better representation of marginalized groups is usually welcomed by the people that actually buy comics (not so much the people that complain about them).
People who buy videogames though couldn’t apparently more different. What I mean by ‘people who buy videogames’ is not the same thing as people who necessarily enjoy them or want the medium to develop or grow at all. I mean a particular set of people that have a stack of posters ripped out of old copies of Electronic Gaming Monthly who, when prompted about what game could offer a truly cinematic experience to rival that of film will tell you God of War.
Not to say that people who read comics are inherently better. For every person that buys a comic like Saga there’s probably two or three people who don’t see why anyone would want to read anything that doesn’t involve a man in a cape. Comics march on without those people though - they are starting to become a minority rapidly losing its voice.
What we’re seeing this week with what’s been going in the realm of games journalism is like taking a time machine to the end of the era of 90’s comics. I don’t doubt for a second that when more ‘indie’ comics started getting higher marks at reviews and more creators concerned about using comics to give more credence to stories that weren’t specifically about straight white protagonists showed up that if comic fans in the early 2000’s had the benefit of websites like Tumblr and Facebook that we would have seen a reaction that was just as violent from comic fans.
A woman in a videogame (Parasite Eve)
For the people living under a rock: This week, a particular game developers jilted and emotionally infantile ex-boyfriend posted details of her relationships with other people online for all to see under the cover of “revealing” some “corruption” in games journalism. I wont link the article here because the person doesn’t deserve any traffic or notoriety. Instead, we talk about him as if he doesn’t exist. In the article itself he stretches the limits of proof only when it’s necessary to manipulate the reader into getting on his side. Maybe he’ll give up on videogames as a hobby and go to work for a billion dollar game company as a marketer.
I’m not going to call gamers “The gaming public” because they certainly don’t represent me even if I used to be someone who would have seemed terrifyingly similar to the lot of them. What they are instead is a group of people who likely feel marginalized by culture at large because they tend to lack any amount of it. In any case, these people quickly stuck to that particular writers claims and were only fueled by the latest Feminist Frequency video releasing around the same span of time.
The purported scandal along with Sarkeesian’s timing was the one-two punch that rustled the jimmies of grognards everywhere. Not only did Sarkeesian’s harassers come out full force, but a small community grew around the initial blogger in the claim that somehow game journalism was corrupted or invalidated.
Ella Guro writes a spectacularly apt take on the whole ordeal as it occurred over the last week and a half or so. That might be a more level headed place to get caught up on the rest of the details of what happened and who exactly was involved.
Violence, particularly the kind of violence people have to constantly be surrounded with if they want to interface with being a part of videogames at all has started to permeate almost every interaction between content creators and their audience.
Abuse seems ingrained in the monster collectively referred to as “gamer culture” as if there were anything we could pin down outside of some vague association with green soda and Call of Duty. Gamer culture, like comic culture, is impossibly large compared to what any of the things it’s defined as would have you think.
In a slightly heavy handed and hyperbole filled article, Andrew Todd of Badassdigest pretty accurately surmises that for one reason or the next, abuse is thoroughly ingrained in gamer culture because of how the descriptive “gamer” actually came about.
A woman in a videogame (Dreamfall)
While I want to say it was a long long time ago, it really wasn’t more than a few years ago that I was locked into the marketing machine’s clutches. I ate it up. I say Andrew Todd’s observation that gamers see themselves as the victims is pretty correct because I used to embody that line of thinking.
To put it all on the table as ugly as we possibly can: gamers are the opposite of fucking self aware. Gamers are, to be blunt, generally miserable people that victimize themselves as outcasts of society because they generally lack any sense of empathy or good graces required to actually take part in it. Gamers favorite characters are fucking Kratos and probably Travis Touchdown. Two characters that are completely morally reprehensible.
For Travis Touchdown though, that’s the joke. Hardly anyone who is a fan of No More Heroes is proficient enough in understanding parody or literary devices to even know that the character isn’t supposed to be liked for any of the traits he exhibits in the games.
The thing about this, the biggest thing and I can tell it’s affecting other people covering the story is that there are just so many victims, so many martyrs now. We’re reaching a point where as much as it’s nice to consider the idea of “gamer culture” being in it’s death throes that we can’t even keep track of who to stay mad about anymore.
The conversation about what happened has gone on for little over a week and a half now, with all sorts of people beyond the world of videogames starting to chime in. Yet very few people are bothering to raise concern about what the next step is other than continuing to speak up and hoping these people drown themselves out (when evidence points to reasoning that they never will.)
We talk so much about the symptoms lately that the idea of a cure is never presented other than waiting things out and hoping for the best. As much as it’s nice to tell ourselves that these are indeed the death throes of a giant and terrifying beast at the same time it sounds an awful lot like we’re still trying to convince ourselves that’s the truth.
A woman in a videogame (Beyond Good and Evil)
Part of the problem is that any time something like this happens the first part of the dialogue that has to start before any others is convincing people that don’t deal with this sort of thing on a daily basis that there’s even a problem at all. Even against cries that we’re somehow coming for videogames as a medium to uhh make them a better place or something every conversation starts the same way
Over at The New Statesman Ian Steadman gives us a harrowing recap of the many ways so called gamers have tried to discredit Anita Sarkesian and it’s much the same as the jilted ex-boyfriend who made a campaign of harassment against a noted game developer. Steadman pretty thoroughly examines the criticism levvied at her and how it’s anything but sound - and how referring to straw man arguments as “criticism” undermines any actual criticism that could be levied against the videos (of which I don’t think there’s much at all)
I don’t think the core group of gamers that repeatedly become harassers in the face of having their beliefs challenged are well connected enough or intelligent enough (in a way beyond armchair philosophy) to construct an argument that seems baseless but would have the larger effect of invalidating further works. It’s a nasty side-effect of having so many voices cry out together.
A woman in a videogame (Mirror’s Edge)
To work towards a solution required better volume control from people capable of doing it. There are a lot of people that could be using their voices to boost the volume of women like Anita’s own statements rather than attempting to control the dialogue themselves. Certainly, there are people doing this very thing but it’s not enough yet. Telling people that it’s not enough is important too, because it makes them keep striving for change.
Finally, at Gamasutra one of my favorite writers, Leigh Alexander, offers her own insight into the situation. In her article she laments that nobody needs to make games for “gamers” anymore because they’re a group that to be blunt, is being erased. Leigh wastes no amount of words saying how much this isn’t a problem for videogames but possibly part of the solution.
I’ve seen a criticism of this specific article that in writing about gamer culture that the article has become a piece that’s self evident and is fully apart of gamer culture. This is laughable in a new kind of way. It makes me imagine a horde of grognards chasing a writer down to the chant of “one of us! one of us!’ desperate for any lasting amount of validity that the most basic criticism they can leverage at something is it exists in the same space.
Slavery built the Cumberbatch fortune, which at its height in the mid-18th century made them one of Britainâs wealthiest families, owning at least seven Barbados sugar plantations and a stately home near Taunton, Somerset.
" Cumberbatch has also revealed that his mother, the actress Wanda Ventham, had urged him not to use his real surname professionally, in case it made him a target for reparation claims by the descendants of slaves."
They knew, they knew where they came from, and still DO benefit from slavery white supremacy, and they don’t want to have to give that up, or what they think is worst, give back. I have no sympathy for him or his family. I hate his face, and see through this thinly veiled attempt at making an attempt at shredding light on the atrocities that his ancestors committed.
no wonder the dude is uglier than a fucking piece of gum on the street