Devil May Cry 4 devs may talk

Hiroyuki Kobayashi and Hideaki Itsuno discuss the series' new hero, hint at surprises in store for the game.

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Devil May Cry protagonist Dante is being replaced for the fourth installment in the series, a move the game's developers explained in the new Famitsu PS2. The magazine interviewed Devil May Cry 4 producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi, whose credits include Basara 2 and the GameCube version of Resident Evil 4, and Devil May Cry series veteran Hideaki Itsuno.

Itsuno revealed some of the reasons why Dante was replaced with his younger look-alike Nero. "First of all, Dante sort of peaked out in the last game. Also, the introduction of the new protagonist, levels the playing field for veterans and new players," Itsuno told the magazine.

As for the similarities in appearance between Dante and Nero, Kobayashi gave a couple of reasons for that design choice. "The silver hair and coats are symbols that make it easier to recognize the series' protagonist," Kobayashi said. "There is also a deeper meaning [to their similarities]..."

Nero is a member of a religious group called the Kyoudan Kishi, or "Order of Knights." Kobayashi said he will have some new powers, including the abilities to pull enemies toward him or throw them. The awakening of these powers in Nero will apparently make up one of the plot elements in Devil May Cry 4. Regarding Nero's ability to pull or repel enemies, he said: "Nero's right arm uses a new system we're calling the 'Devil Bringer.' This system could have been done on the current hardware, but due to problems with the PlayStation 2's specs, it would have looked primitive. However, with the PlayStation 3 we were able to get the visual aspects right."

A close examination of the screen shots provided in Famitsu PS2 reveals a strange, life-bar-like graphic in the upper left-hand corners. Itsuno explains, "This is like the throttle and clutch on a motorcycle... The sword has a sort of will of its own. Nero has tuned it himself, turning it into a very powerful weapon. I can't talk about the specifics of the system, but we'd created a new style of game-play for the sword."

Despite the focus on Nero, it seems that he may not be the game's only playable character. When asked if it would be possible to play as Dante, Kobayashi replied with another question. "Do you want to be able to play as Dante," he laughed. "In order to proceed through the story, the player's point of view will change but...who knows?"

Expect more details about the game to be revealed later this month at the 2006 Tokyo Game Show. Kobayashi noted that in addition to the playable demo of the game at the show, "the stage event will include a real-time demonstration of the game... There will also be some surprise announcements!"

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