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DmC: Devil May Cry's art director explores the series' 'visual rebirth' at GDC

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At a GDC panel, DmC: Devil May Cry's visual art director, Alessandro "Talexi" Taini, chronicled the process of creating the art that underlies Ninja Theory's recent reboot.

Taini said he was responsible for creating the "syle of game we're making," which encompassed everything from concept sketches to setting the tone of the in-game world. At Capcom's direction, he worked to remake Dante "cool, Western, grounded and stylish." The new Dante needed to be "urban," not boldly styled like a punk rocker or supernatural, he said.

Taini built upon the idea that Dante is a "regular guy," imbued with arrogance and supernatural powers. Using a backstory inspired by Dexter, in which Dante inherited a lock of white hair after the shock of surviving his mother's death. Taini pared back Dante's classic white mane to a single colorless patch in early artwork.

"Epic moments in a colorful world."

Taini feels it's important "to draw characters in situations," and a slide titled "Rebellion" showed scenes of Dante as a brown-haired teenager in a bed and on a chair. In both scenarios, he was surrounded by naked angels, symbolizing his rebelliousness. Other character sketches showed "a kid with a very strong look" and drawn only from the neck up because Capcom "really wanted to see from the eyes that he's a bad guy."

To recreate the alternate world of Limbo, Taini began with environments from previous Devil May Cry games, which were marked by a depopulated feeling. Using photographs from bustling cities, he created a bright, saturated color palette and populated Limbo half-formed ghost presences. He also built upon the architecture from the previous games, incorporating European structures largely from Genoa and Barcelona.

Throughout the process, Taini was able to create justifications for the decisions he made, which he said contributed to a richer world.

"We wanted a reason [for] why things [worked], but at the same time [to create] epic moments in a colorful world."

For more discussions about world building from GDC, be sure to read our report about how Sebastien Mitton, Dishonored's art director, created the game's world.