It’s never easy taking one of the most loved video games characters and reinventing them, but that’s exactly what Ninja Theory is doing with Devil May Cry’s Dante.
No matter what Ninja Theory do, they are likely to come under fire. Changing a gaming god to some is sacrilegious. No matter exactly how Ninja Theory reinvent Dante, there will be disgruntled Devil May Cry fans, simply because he is not as he once was. He is different.
That said, any truly objective set of eyes will surely agree that ninja Theory are doing a brilliant job of reinventing Dante’s character.
Dante’s reinvention, of course, began with one clear character choice: to make Dante a punk. Heck, they’ve even put a Union Jack on his trench coat. It’s the sign used by Punk bands like the Sex Pistols to show their intolerance of authority in theUnited Kingdom. It’s a little detail of Dante’s design, but it speaks volumes.
Every part of Dante’s visual design is punk. His open black trench coat that screams of a life lived on the streets while underneath sits the scruffy plain white T of a teenager. The heavy army-style boots that we can imagine trudging through puddles. The downcast face that speaks of reluctance while an anger glimmers in dark eyes. And as for Dante’s hair. It’s the quintessential cut for hip 16- 24 year olds. Dante’s style is all rebellious punk teenager.
And then you get to Dante’s voice. The words his says do not matter so much (after all, verbal communication is only 7% of all communication). Tone and vocal delivery matter a great deal, however. And what do we get with Dante? There’s a slight mutter that speaks of non-commitment (again, he’s the reluctant hero). Compare his voice to Virgil’s. Virgil’s words are all well formed and spoken with conviction. Details like this illustrate the difference between the two characters. Then there’s the bite. Dante’s words have a lot of attack to them—unlike the smoothness of Virgil’s—and this gives him the quality of fighting. Again, think rebellious teenager: they feel they’re never listened to so in rebellion they add attack to their voice. It’s vocal details like this that give his character attitude.
And finally, his body language. Check out the way he walks at the end of the Gamescom DMC trailer [below]. His body is open, his walk smooth and cool but his head held low. In the body language of walking, these gestures show confidence but also distance. Again, he’s cool like the most in teenager, but rebellious too.
Dante, then, is gaming’s teenage punk rock superstar, and a very well designed one at that. Doubtlessly, some Devil May Cry fans will be against this reinvention, perhaps thinking Ninja Theory have taken Dante in the wrong direction. But whether you personally agree with the Dante and Devil May Cry’s new design direction or not, you certainly cannot doubt the artistry with which Dante’s teenage punk rock self is being brought to life.