I should mention that I’ve opened my ask box, as this is a large and time constrained project if you have any questions about material I couldn’t or decided not to include, please ask away!
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.
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?
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
look all im saying is if youre gonna be drawing nightwing you need to be drawing nightwings butt
Do you like Demon’s Souls? From Software’s early work was a little too unpolished for my tastes, but when DeS came out in ‘09, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole game has a clear, focused combat system, and a respect for the player’s intelligence that really gives the gameplay a big boost. He’s been compared to Miyamoto, but I think Hidetaka Miyazaki has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor.
Frame from THE WOODS #5, out tomorrow!
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by me and Colours by Josan Gonzalez
Published by Boom! Studios