While Ninja Theory thinks its new Devil May Cry will stand on its own merits, the developers want the game to be able to stand toe-to-toe with Sega’s Bayonetta.
I’m thinking of a famous videogame character. Try to guess which one! This action game protagonist, who loves ridiculous outfits and outrageous hairdos, dispatches foes with stylish combos, wields an arsenal of over-the-top weapons, and takes part in a twisted, convoluted plot told through cutscenes right out of a wire-fu movie. If you guessed Dante from Devil May Cry, you’re correct! If you guessed the titular Bayonetta, well, you’re also correct. Ninja Theory, the company behind the much-discussed Devil May Cry reboot, wants Dante’s latest adventures to be distinct from those of a certain witch sporting pistol high heels. At the same time, wherever the mechanics of Devil May Cry and Bayonetta mirror each other, Ninja Theory wants the newly redesigned demon hunter to come out on top.
Alex Jones, a producer at Capcom, acknowledges that, despite overt similarities, Devil May Cry is a distinct beast from Bayonetta, particularly when it comes to narrative and tone. At the same time, Jones wants the reboot to deliver where it counts. “You always want to go out there and beat your competitor to some degree,” he says. “[How] does the game feel when it’s in your hand? We absolutely want the same fluidity of control that’s a standard setting [for Bayonetta].” While Jones seems to have a lot of respect for Sega’s sexy heroine, he doesn’t feel that she has a monopoly on the stylized action game. In particular, he cites Dante’s newfound ability to “rip apart the world and manipulate it … Some areas we’re offering something different.”
The fact that the two series share so many similarities is hardly a coincidence, given that Hideki Kamiya, the director of Bayonetta, was also the original creator of Devil May Cry. What’s more puzzling is why Ninja Theory would be so concerned with competing with a game that’s already two years old and has no sequel on the immediate horizon. While Bayonetta is a superlative example of its genre, how many people will decide to invest in it instead of the new Devil May Cry? If Ninja Theory knows something we don’t, and the bespectacled temptress is due for another adventure, that could be exciting. Otherwise, Dante and Bayonetta are perfectly good protagonists on their own, but if Capcom and Sega really want to move some units, all they have to do is put them together in one game. Ball’s in your court, guys.