Japanese game company Capcom told Devil May Cry developer Ninja Theory to "go crazy" with the design of the rebooted Dante.
It even told the Enslaved and Heavenly Sword creator to make more changes after initial designs were considered too close to the Dante of old.
"The concepts for Dante went through a lot of different iterations," Ninja Theory's Nina Kristensen told Develop.
"They went all over the place – we went really far out with some. The first time we sent our initial concepts to Capcom Japan, they said no, no you need to push it way further.
"Because, obviously, Dante is a big character for Capcom, we stuck fairly close to the original design template. But Japan said we needed to go much further, go crazy with it, and so we did."
The new look Dante is young, angsty, slightly ungainly and has black hair worn in a lanky emover – a stark change from the white-haired protagonist devised by the series' original creator Hideki Kamiya.
The game's Tokyo Game Show reveal sparked an outpouring of anger from series veterans unhappy with Dante's new direction.
"We hope that in due course that they [the fans] would love what we're doing too," Kristensen said.
"We are respecting the true DNA of the franchise. At its core, Devil May Cry is a high-octane fighting game that makes you feel very, very cool.
"That's what we fundamentally need Devil May Cry to be, but we're brining it in to a visualisation that is a little more down-to-earth, a little more urban and has more of a general western appeal. We're also going to be pushing on the storytelling aspect, and the engagement with the characters."
At the Tokyo Game Show Capcom Japan producer Motohide Eshiro told Eurogamer the decision to reboot the series was in part due to a desire to increase sales.
"Taking Devil May Cry 4 as an example, including the PC versions we sold 2.7 million of that particular game, but we looked at the market and saw that there were other action games selling four million, five million, all these copies," he explained.