In Defence Of Ninja Theory’s DmC
Is it really so terrible that Ninja Theory has been brought in to develop and brand new take on the Devil May Cry franchise?
Last week at TGS Capcom announced the return of Devil May Cry. This should have been a cause of celebration. Instead it seems the air is filled with vitriol and indignation. ‘Fans’ (and I use the inverted commas deliberately) have chosen to attack what little they have seen of the game, damning the ‘new look’ of Dante and new developer Ninja Theory into the bargain. At the risk of being skewered on a digital pike, might I offer a call for calm.
My chief issue with those attacking DmC is that they are choosing to ignore the gradual decline of the Devil May Cry titles and the rise of significantly better competitors. There can be no doubting that Devil May Cry remains a strong brand (the strength of reaction this last week vouches for that), but things haven’t been brilliant recently. The Metacritic average score (perhaps the issue Capcom is most concerned with post-Bayonetta) has been in gradual decline. Beginning with a 94 average it dropped down to 84 with the most recent outing. To my mind Capcom has always been a company that strives for quality first and assumes sales will follow, so I would imagine it’s the average scores rather than sales that bother it most (around 2.5 million for DMC 4 across platforms, which isn’t terrible).
So, in light of these declining scores and the original creator of the series Hideki Kamiya making better games in the same genre, it’s really no wonder that Capcom has sort a fresh start. Whether reboot or prequel, Ninja Theory has been brought in to give us a new kind of Devil May Cry game. For my money, Heavenly Sword has already shown it can handle the combat side of things and Enslaved will prove to all of you that it can handle the story too.
But the bottom line here is that Capcom wants to be more successful in the west and to do that it’s working with western developers to find new directions for its franchises. And while you may be concerned that it will mean these games losing their identity then may I point you towards Blue Castle’s Dead Rising 2, which was as bonkers and infuriating as the original despite being developed in Canada. Capcom has already confirmed members of its team have joined the Cambridge developer to help bring DmC about.
And let me reiterate that Ninja Theory is a superb developer, second to none in the field of story-telling and cut scenes. It’s really come of age with Enslaved, showing great potential and that alone promises to help make DmC an amazing ride. I for one welcome their appointment and can’t wait to see what they come up with. Besides they’re British… I’m duty bound to support them on patriotic grounds.