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