After 10 years, the Devil May Cry franchise needed a fresh start.
"Right when Devil May Cry 4 finished up we said, if we do another one, let's make it really different," said Eshiro Motohide, the Capcom of Japan producer on the new DMC reboot. "Something that's totally unexpected and off the rails."
Capcom's solution was to give the traditionally Japanese-developed game franchise to Ninja Theory, a developer based in the U.K.. Ninja Theory has made a name for itself with third-person action titles like Enslaved and Heavenly Sword, but none of their games have really looked anything like classic Devil May Cry titles, which is just the sort of "off the rails" Eshiro was looking for.
"It was important to us to not just take the game design itself and do something new with it, he said. "If we were going to do it, we were going to do something big, so let's change the developer."
Another big change for Capcom: Eshiro's producing duties are shared by Alex Jones, a U.S.-based producer working inside Capcom. Jones explained that Ninja Theory's involvement came about after the release of Heavenly Sword.
"If you look at Heavenly Sword, it was one of the first games that got people thinking of the PS3 as looking competative with the 360 at the time," said Jones. "Everyone was underwhelmed [with the PS3] but that was the game that proved it to be a next gen console. Ninja Theory had shown enough talent on the combat side to where we could bring them to where they needed to be. Everything else they do, from the cutscenes to the presentation, will be great, if they just did that for DmC."
Jones' confidence wasn't exactly shared among the fans of Devil May Cry when the reboot's first teaser was released.
"The reaction when the guys first showed it ... it was fair to say that we didn't expect that intensity," said Jones. "We knew that when you're changing something, like a new developer from outside of Japan and a change in the aesthetic, that some people were not going to react well to the volume of change up front, especially with no context and just a trailer."
Because of the negative reaction, Jones did wonder whether the announcement could have been handled a bit better.
If the trailer went out there and people just went 'Eh,' we'd be kinda dead."Maybe if we had to do it all over again we would not have announced so early so we'd have some more context to offer people. So they weren't just looking at the character in a vacuum. But I understand that, and at the end of the day, I'd rather have people that are passonate about it than apathetic, because if you're engaged then you can be converted. If the trailer went out there and people just went 'Eh,' we'd be kinda dead. The idea that people had a reaction at all...while it's not cool to see people blowing up about you on message boards, at least you knew they were there to be converted."
The conversion, he says, will come when people pick up the controller.
"It's going to feel like a DMC game. I think that's what most people come to DMC for."