Devil May Cry 5 Director Discusses New Sequel Ahead of Debut
Hideaki Itsuno shares his thoughts on the new game, the series overall, influences, and more.
By Chris Morse
The release date for Devil May Cry 5 is finally upon us, and by all accounts so far, Capcom has hit the jackpot with its attempt to successfully return its stylish action series to prominence. Although we received a bit of a series reimagining in 2013 with DmC: Devil May Cry, this latest installment aims to be a direct follow-up to Devil May Cry 4, which debuted in early 2008. That being said, it’s been quite a long wait for fans who have wanted to see more from the main series and timeline, but it certainly seems like this was long overdue.
Take it from game director Hideaki Itsuno, who spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the new sequel and insisted that it felt like the right time to return to the franchise. “I felt like there have been fewer action games in most recent years and I wanted to put another title in the genre in front of players,” he explained. “As a director of a long-running franchise, I think it’s only natural that you start having the itch to work on a sequel after so many years.”
From a narrative point of view, it made sense to do this as well with Itsuno adding, “There were narrative elements that I wanted to manifest in a brand-new Devil May Cry title, which was one of the big reasons that I wanted to jump-start the project as well.”
The director also spoke about a number of other topics, starting with what other games and media have had an influence on his work on Devil May Cry 5.
I haven’t actually received much influence from external action games. I did, however, use Monster Hunter: World as a reference point in how quality-of-life improvements were implemented from previous iterations. Naturally, when working on the latest title, I heavily referenced previous series games, specifically Devil May Cry 4, Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition and 2013's DmC: Devil May Cry. In order to tap into the fundamentals of action games, I also frequently go back and play the Ghouls ‘n Ghosts series to get a feel for the roots of the genre.
“Hollywood heroes strike a fine balance between realism and fantasy which was a concept I heavily drew from,” Itsuno continued. “In regards to most recent films, I drew inspiration from Mad Max: Fury Road in terms of its scenario writing and tempo.”
Next, he dove into a little bit of what fans can expect from the sequel’s gameplay, which should feel simultaneously familiar and fresh for veterans of the franchise, especially with respect to V’s all-new gameplay style.
Each of the three playable characters fights completely different from one another, adding a whole new level of depth and complexity to the combat. Nero’s “Devil Bringer,” a physical manifestation of his demonic power from Devil May Cry 4, is now an anti-demon combat arm dubbed the “Devil Breaker.” There are eight different types of arm options that can be swapped to add more variety and excitement to the combat. Dante’s also got some new additions to his arsenal of weapons, as well as some new combat systems to create a flurry of new combos. The third character named V, who is brand-new to the franchise, fights from afar by summoning three different types of demons.
Itsuno also touched on the game’s cameo system, which, as we previously learned, allows you to occasionally see other players out in the world battling on their own. Conversely, they can see you fighting as well. Here’s his full explanation of the feature.
The thought process behind implementing the Cameo System is adding some extra flare to the single-player experience. How it works is, during your playthrough, you’ll have moments where you can see another person playing onscreen. At the same time, your gameplay will also be reflected in someone else’s play session. I like to think of it as kind of like going to the gym. Working out alone obviously has its benefits, but you’ll be way more pumped if you’re working out alongside others and you’re able to see each other’s performance and progress. There are also moments where you’ll be able to fight alongside each other against adversaries as well.
Even if you’re not able to match-make in real time, someone’s replay will be saved on the network and you’ll be able to check those out. If you’re playing offline, you’ll be able to see replays created by myself and other members of the development team. Once you’ve completed a mission, you’re able to rate other players’ performances as “Stylish!” or not. Depending on the rating, you’ll be awarded a Gold Orb that can help you progress along the game if you’re having trouble. We’re hoping it’ll be a good opportunity for more interactions within the community, where people can take the opportunity to friend those who they’re impressed with.
Next, the director spoke about the design of Dante and how he should still have a familiar feel compared to past games, with the end goal being a fun and exhilarating experience while taking control of the character. He had the following to say about the series’ long-time protagonist.
I believe the fundamental core and personality of who Dante is hasn’t changed over time. He has that level of natural charisma that I think any of us would love to have. It’s something the development staff is always very conscious of in making sure that element shines through. In terms of progression, we always take special care in making sure any weapons or systems tied to him fit his character while being exhilarating and fun.
Before capping off the interview with some discussion on the title’s in-game purchases, which he insists are completely optional and minimal, Itsuno shared a rather interesting look at the team’s work on appealing to both franchise veterans and newcomers alike with this new sequel. Although those may sound like conflicting ideas, it’s quite the opposite, he says.
One of the big things to always look out for is making sure you’re not removing or drastically changing something that players were able to do in the past. Satisfying veteran needs and raising newcomer interests seem like opposing ideas, but they’re actually very much related. The one element that we’re always conscious of in development is to “keep the threshold low and make the ceiling high.” We want to keep the threshold low so that regardless of who you are or how much experience you have with the franchise, it’s easy for you to jump in and have a good time. It’s something we’re conscious about in other elements aside from combat as well, whether it’s the graphical integrity, initial tutorial, or narrative composition. However, no matter how low we try to keep the threshold, we try to keep the ceiling considerably high for veterans who want to really have something to chew on and master, in order to be the most stylish of players.
Finally, the director offered a few parting words, imploring fans to stick it out and make it to the end of the game, because the team poured a ton of energy into getting that part just right.
All in all, everything sounds great and exciting, so it’s about time for us to get ready to fire this one up and leave thousands of dead demons in our wake. Devil May Cry 5 arrives in just a couple hours on March 8th, 2019 and will be available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
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