DmC: Devil May Cry’s artists on why life in Limbo is anything but dull
SA We try to get that story arc into a lot of things. Monkey and Trip, they were different characters at the end of the game. We are giving the boring answer which is that it’s character progression. To do that, we had to strip a lot of things off the preconceived Dante to fit him in this world and tell that story. See how you feel about him after you’ve been through the cool moments with him and seen the story as he does. Also, if you see one extreme then it’s more effective when you come to gel with him, when you have those story moments when you see genuine feeling and emotion on him. Like a lot of things it makes that more apparent.
AT I like the example of the last Spider-Man movie. When he’s just realised his power and you see him standing on top of that building with just a bag and a mask he took from a shop, and his trainers. When I saw that I was like: this is kind of our Dante because that progression is there. And the last Batman movie, even Chronicle. It’s not new what we’re doing. Many movies now try to tell stories in a more human and realistic way.
SA I think that was the only thing we felt about the reactions [from forum posters]. We put all this effort into figuring out a good story arc and good character development for Dante, peeling everything back on the conceptual level and just feeling it in his eyes, in this youthful kid that had fight in him but was also tired of trying to escape Limbo and not knowing why. We have such a big investment of time into the character of Dante that to be getting into conversations about his hair was, I dunno… just wait and see.
AT People who love the first Dante, I’m pretty sure they like manga like Dragonball, for example. In Dragonball he’s dark, and when he’s got power he’s got white hair. If they like things like that then they should understand when we’re coming from. They should understand that to create something new, we have to think about how he gets to these Devil Trigger moments. It’s evolution.
SA We never deviated away from it, even after the responses. We don’t just do it based on the story elements or pure concept; we do it from getting the right kind of actors to get a performance, then getting feedback from them, whether it’s an expression or a physical characteristic. We often take a little bit of everything. It’s a journey for us to achieve the optimal type of character. If we’d released screenshots of Nariko at the early stages of Heavenly Sword then it’s a very unrefined version. That’s just the way it is. Things get out there.
Are the resources there to ensure a superior PC version?
SA The way that we work is very much higher-res and scaled down a bit anyway – it’s the best way of generating the assets. So it’s nice that the PC version can be exactly how we saw the game. But that’s not to say it’s really any different content-wise, it’s just slightly higher quality. A slightly higher resolution of the textures, and you can ramp the framerate up and stuff. We played it recently and there’s no concerns from our end there. It’s exactly the game we made. In all honesty, we never gave up with pushing the Xbox and PS3 for putting content in there. The attitude was that this is a stylish game: we can’t just cut out what makes Limbo, what it gives visually. So we put an enormous amount of effort into optimising stuff that gave the same visual impact but was done in a different way, and I’m pleased to say we didn’t really have anything that was cool but had to be cut.