Dante's Inferno Panel Recap

We run down what was said as game designers, comic artists, and writers took to the stage to talk Dante.

Who Was There: As a panel intended to discuss the way Dante’s Inferno has been spread across various forms of media, the group onstage had equal representation from all the Dante’s Inferno projects currently underway. For the game, there was executive producer Jonathan Knight and art director Ash Huang. There to talk about their work on the animated feature film were writer Brandon Aumon and animator Vic Cook. Finally, the writer behind the upcoming comic-book adaptation, Christos Gage, was also in attendance.

What They Talked About: The panel began with a general overview of the original poem upon which the game is based. Jonathan Knight talked about the history of Dante’s work and how intriguing it was that he was the first person to map out Hell. In fact, these maps were the original starting point of the game. Before they did anything else, the team members at Visceral Games looked at Dante’s nine circles of Hell and built out from there. That includes the artistic liberties they took in adding a deeper love story with Beatrice and taking the character Dante to give him a deeply troubled past to make him a genuine antihero.

Ash Huang talked a lot about the artwork behind the game and the stages his teams took with the concept art. Every circle of Hell begins with what’s called a catalyst painting, which is a piece of concept art intended to map out the general look and feel of a setting. From there, the art and design teams split up into fleshing out these settings with concept art and doing very basic 3D model character blocking to begin how they want the gameworld to be laid out. The example they showed was a catalyst painting for Anger, the fifth circle of Hell, which is a place filled with ugly, dank marshes. Huang also talked about the character design in the game, such as how Cerberus has gone from a three-headed dog to a dog with a whole mess of gaping mouths sticking out of his neck.

After the game, a quick overview of the comic book was given. Christos Gage decided early on that he didn’t want to focus too much attention on the story of Dante because that’s where the bulk of the existing writing already focuses. Instead, he elected to explore some of the side characters, such as Beatrice and Lucifer. So while the name Dante is featured front and center in the title, you’ll see quite a bit of other faces in the comic.

Finally, the panel ended with a discussion of the animated feature movie. The movie is split into six sections, with a different director for each one. Because of this, you’ll see remarkably different visions of Dante (and Hell itself) in the movie. One example shown was the work of Dong Foo, who designed Dante as a thin, androgynous figure with long hair--almost like a Final Fantasy protagonist. This stood in marked contrast to the game’s Dante, who’s manly as all get-out. But then some of the style guides that were used as suggestions for artists adapting the original game artwork were shown. These included all the important parts, such as the laurel leaf headband and red cross on his chest, which were right there just as you’d imagine.

Memorable Quote: “We’ve got Dante literally shoved up a monster’s butt.” This was spoken by Brandon Aumon in a discussion about some of the edgy content in the animated feature. Apparently, this was something the team at Visceral Games also tried to work into the game but couldn’t “for a variety of reasons.”

Best Audience Question: Sadly, there were none. The panel discussion ended with a good 15 minutes to go. But instead of following the usual format where a group of attendees lines up in front of the microphone to ask questions in front of the audience, the Dante panel just let everyone rush up to the stage and ask the entire group questions individually. It turned into a zoo in a hurry.

The Takeaway: Much like EA did with Dead Space, it looks like this original IP will be turned into much more than a game. However, much like EA also did with the development team of Dead Space, the teams behind the other work will be given a lot of creative freedom. Those behind the other forms of media are taking what Visceral Games has dreamed up for Dante’s Inferno and adapting it into some pretty risky formats. One look at the artwork of Diego Latorre in the comic book shows an art style that looks nothing like what you’d see in any game.

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Discussion

36 comments
shii666
shii666

This is a game I have become to look forward to. I can't wait!

ranjeet_murba
ranjeet_murba

lookz O-SUM cant wait 2 get my fingeryyy hands on it

mark2579
mark2579

Looks awesome. I'll keep an eye on it

rachkovsky
rachkovsky

I looked over some of the footage at E3, and I like what I saw so this might be a game I'll play.

ryaz_weaponx
ryaz_weaponx

looking forward to this game.looks awesome.

Bobobored13
Bobobored13

giving psp a crazy adventure thats for sure

chappy_man
chappy_man

man this game is beginning to really heat up :P

NuKkU
NuKkU

this game looks like it will be a clone of GoW but hey cant say it yet havent seen too much of the game

Regisland
Regisland

release Q1 2010 GoW3 will come march 10...so yeah,no DI for me

ajthelegend
ajthelegend

They totally need to come up with a way to ensure the process is fair with people getting into the panels at Comic Con. I was sitting in line awaiting the Dante's panel and the security guy says if you want to go in now for the current panel feel free to because we do not clear the rooms after each session. Now one, I should not have to endure sitting through a panel that I am not interested in just to ensure I get a seat for the panel I really do care about and two, I feel as if by going in early I am possibly screwing someone who really may have been interested in the panel I was in (only to ensure I had a seat) and taking away from that individuals Comic Con experience. I guess it ultimately is what it is, oh well....

plastikpanzer
plastikpanzer

I was 5 feet away from the door, in line, when they announced the room was full, slightly gutted, but I didn't miss much in the end. Damn exhibition passes don't get you special privileges for the conferences

ajthelegend
ajthelegend

Funny, I am sitting in line for the panel of this game, look up and this face looks familiar as all hell. We get inside this same familiar face is sitting right next to me which I finally ask excuse me (he looks at me as if I was nuts or something) do you work for GameSpot which he says "yes, yes I do" I said thought so, I've seen you on there a few times however at the time I could not place the name with the face however it ended up being Sean. Anyway, just wanted to share that the guys are out and about working hard to provide some great coverage of a great Comic Con 2009...

geedotherodian
geedotherodian

@pooyah actually yes it does, all books copyrighted prior to 1923 are now public domain, (That doesn't apply to new editions or reprints after that date). As proof here is a site that lets you legally download electronic versions http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page

geedotherodian
geedotherodian

I liked the Dead Space animated movie maybe I will watch these ones.

TheAcejoel99
TheAcejoel99

@Khlantis Like the elephant mans bones! (this is getting really off topic, sorry)

TheAcejoel99
TheAcejoel99

So its god of war but without Kratos.....hmmmmm. Excited for it regardless. Quality stuff is all ive seen so far!

Khlantis
Khlantis

@pooyanh Actually, that's exactly what it means. As soon as you die, everything you've made/thought/printed/said is up for grabs

thegermangamer
thegermangamer

OK "The Divine Comedy" is a three part story, the inferno (Hell), Purgatory (Place in between Hell and Heaven), and paradise (Heaven). First being with the Inferno in which Dante travels through the 9 circles of Hell then finally to the finial stage where the devil is. Then on to purgatory and paradise. I'll let you read about these 2 stages. When ppl on the board say dante's inferno they are referring to the first part of the poem. just thought i would try to clarify what has been posted already.

pooyanh
pooyanh

@d_kell411 Yes he's dead, that doesn't mean every random guy can abuse his work though, now does it?

d_kell411
d_kell411

Dante's Inferno is based on the poem from the 1300's. Because of the religious set of mind at the time, the poem doesn't feature epic boss battles or puzzles or anything like that. The game itself is based on the overall story of the poem, but the various elements that make it fun to play are going to be improvisations. Also, if you disapprove of the game feel free to contact Dante Alighieri's lawyers. Oh wait that's right, he's been dead for 700 years.

pooyanh
pooyanh

@schesak I totally agree with you. What I say is that developers should make it clear that this is not a remake. The game is just inspired by the book, which is a good thing imo. But lots of people think the in-game events are the same as the ones we see in book which is absolutely wrong. Developers are taking advantage of this. Oh and btw, movies and games which were made inspired by literature are _ALWAYS_ on a lower level of quality compared to the actual book. Look at LotR f.e. the movie was amazing but compared to the book, it was nothing.

schesak
schesak

Pooyanh, you are being a stuffed shirt. People always seem to complain when they make movies inspired by a book, or movies inspired by a game, or games inspired by a book..blah blah blah. Doesn't matter how good the new media is, always the whiners complaining because they changed too much or took a different approach. Imitation may be a great form of flattery, but it's also boring as hell, because we've seen it already. Taking the source material and creating a new artistic vision merely inspired by it, on the other hand, brings us something new and different. Which, if you can get your bias of wanting immitation out of the way, may suprise you in pleasant ways.

pooyanh
pooyanh

I just want them to tell people that this game is just inspired by the book (meaning they have taken the atmosphere, monsters, etc). It is by no means a remake. Dante in the Divine Comedy is a man who is trying to get back to the right path and find his lost love. He is not a butcher with big scary weapons ripping stuff apart. God, I wish they had never made this game crapping on that great book. I wish they'd explain more about what they actually got from the book. This is just sad. This book should have remained untouched.

NielsNL
NielsNL

This game still reminds me a lot of Shadowman for the N64.

Pale-Folklore
Pale-Folklore

They've avoided talking about the gameplay for how long now?

AyuSora
AyuSora

I want to read the source material now. I've heard Dante's Inferno is actually a very good poem from my language arts teacher last year.

SciFiCat
SciFiCat

While I have not read the Divine Comedy, now I will look for it to see how the source material might have influenced directly (or not) the game.

metalkid9
metalkid9

I'm so getting this game. It simply looks awesome!

ironcreed
ironcreed

Simply cannot wait for this.