2013 is now very much on the horizon, which means that we're starting to think about what we'll be playing in the new year. The first big release, on January 15 in Europe and North America, is DmC: Devil May Cry, which sees British developer Ninja Theory taking the reigns on one of Capcom's most beloved franchises. We were lucky enough to check out a nearly finished build of the game and speak to the developer to see how it's shaping up. The developer is making some bold and exciting changes to the franchise while keeping other key tenets--here are the five key things you need to know about the game.
A modern evil
DmC takes the series' gothic horror inspiration and updates it with a more modern take on evil. This means that the Demonic forces utilise corporations, advertisers and banks as a way for the Demon King Mundus to control the human world. In the nightclub level we were shown, celebrities are lured in for drink, drugs and girls, and are brainwashed by Lilith, the club's demonic manager.
The human world of DmC is drab and uninteresting, which is in stark contrast to the bright and colourful demon-inhabitied limbo world. The architecture was inspired by modern European stylings--the nightclub, for example, takes inspiration from a club that the developer visited in Germany. If you take a look at our video preview above, you can see how these different elements come together in visually in a way that's completely new for the series.
Dante's new threads
The most vocal feedback from fans of the series has been about Dante's general appearance, whic h has changed quite dramatically over previous games. According to Ninja Theory, the original character designs they submitted were similar to the Dante of old, but Capcom sent them back, saying that if it wanted the same old Dante, it would have made the new Devil May Cry game itself. Ninja Theory says it will satirise the fan reaction to the new brunette Dante at the beginning of the game with jokes about his hair colour, while the blonde hair and red coat will still make an appearance when Dante performs angel combos.
One element of DmC that remains true to the roots of the series is the combat, which rewards skill and aims to make you feel cool as cool as possible at all times. According to Ninja Theory, this is the area where Capcom's expertise was invaluable, given the Japanese company's decades of experience refining combat across numerous genres. The aim is still to earn a triple-S ranking on each level by chaining together cool combos, and you're rewarded with concept art and new moves for Dante as you progress. You can reassign your library of moves during the game as the situation demands, but it'll take multiple playthroughs to unlock everything. In fact, just with previous games in the series, new difficulty levels such as Son of Sparda, Dante Must Die! and Heaven or Hell reward many, many playthroughs of the game.
Ninja Theory's last game, Enslaved, was famed for its collaboration between scriptwriter Alex Garland, actor Andy Serkis, and musician Nitin Sawhney. For DmC, Garland has given feedback on scripts from Ninja Theory's chief designer Tameem Antoniades, while Giant Studios in Los Angeles, who worked Avatar, was used for motion capture. The team also contacted street artists to incorporate their work into the game to give the outdoor locations an authentic urban feel. And while Sawhney may not be on the audio this time around, Norwegian aggrotech band CombiChrist and Dutch electronic group Noisia have both provided new music for the game, with music that is very much in keeping with the visuals.
Overall, we're excited about DmC's combination of a bold new visual direction and solidly satisfying combat mechanics. But are you excited about what Ninja Theory has done with the franchise? Let us know in the comments, and watch out for the game on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on January 15th in Europe and North America, with a PC version to follow.