Who knew a dodgy haircut could provoke such an outcry? We now know Capcom itself insisted on Dante's extreme makeover, expecting a reaction. Nevertheless, his newly recruited hairdresser seems shocked by the ferocity of it.
"Responding to the haters," Ninja Theory co-founder Tameem Antoniades begins, working himself up to a statement of intent via a wounded chuckle: "We've got our plan and we're not changing it. It's a cohesive world that makes sense when you get your hands on it."
The knee-jerk outrage of change-fearing loyalists was premature, in other words. It's not that Ninja Theory doesn't care what fans think. Quite the opposite, actually, and we'll get to that shortly. But judging a largely unseen game on the haircut of its protagonist is, well, possibly not the best barometer.
To be fair to Devil May Cry fans, there is of course more to it than that. It's really about fear of the unknown as well as change, with Dante's new look seized upon as damning evidence that this cocky Western developer, which couldn't possibly understand the series' Japanese heritage, was snipping away the game's soul along with its hero's floppy platinum locks.
This week's Gamescom presentation is striking, therefore, in that it seems to be designed specifically to address and calm these fears. And a convincing job it does of it.
Antoniades' staunch defence of his vision is heartening and correct, as a studio with Heavenly Sword and Enslaved on its CV should have no need to justify its fantasy action credentials. It was, after all, good enough for Capcom.
But stung by suggestions that it was creating a Devil May Cry in name and nothing more, the mission in Cologne is, Antoniades says, to "prove it's Devil May Cry in essence".
The gameplay demo focuses on combat. As Antoniades acknowledges, "the core of any Devil May Cry game is Dante's fluidity and responsiveness" in battle.
First, a few caveats. There'll be more depth in the final version than what we're seeing now, we're told. And not all of Dante's moves have been worked in yet - the demo features a "small subset". At last we begin.
Walking through a shadowy city street, Dante is eyed by CCTV. "They must have been looking out for you," suggests a mysterious female voice. "They've dragged me into Limbo," Dante notes as the street and buildings transform, adopting a sinister hue as the first wave of demons emerges.
The combat is presented raw, with the HUD missing in this build. Whether intentional or not, it helpfully ensures the full focus is on the action. Part DMC, part Bayonetta, Dante's attacks are wildly OTT and violently familiar, yet retain a freshness that ought to be expected with a new creative direction.
Melee attacks are unleashed and combos chained together with devastating effectiveness, as Dante hookshots himself between enemies and buildings, rising up in fury and pirouetting down with twin guns blazing.
The player can swap between Dante's angel, demon and human powers on the fly, mixing them up into wide number of possible attacks. "There's lots of breadth to the combat," says Antoniades, as that last of the locust-y enemies is dispatched with an extreme close-up, slow-mo flourish.
"In this incarnation, Dante is young and he's a lot less refined in his moves, more aggressive and brutal, more of a street fighter," he explains. This is certainly reflected in the soundtrack, which mixes an unintelligible angry growl over a thumping beat, which dynamically adapts to the action on-screen.
Switching from the street to what we're told is a secret area, a spectacular tower rises high above a sea at sunset, a scene constructed with Ninja Theory's keen eye for the epic. Here, as he enters a new battle arena, we see Dante's Devil Trigger in action.
Once engaged, his hair (oh god, not the hair again) turns white, enemies freeze in mid-air and Dante launches into a sequence of combos, each hit delivered with a thunderous bass effect.
Antoniades cites his DMC's love of air rage as the main point of difference in combat with earlier entries in the series. "A lot of the emphasis is on air combos, juggling," he says. "It's very skill based." And it does look awfully cool.
The game world itself is "malignant", Antoniades notes. "A malignant version of our world, like a sentient living world." Which means it can change to attack Dante, but he can also now manipulate the world himself.
A final section is demoed to highlight this. Dante sprints through a street, which crumbles, twists and compacts, trying to crush him. Seconds later he smashes through a stained-glass window and into a church. The female apparition appears again - the studio isn't saying who she is yet, just that she talks to Dante from the human world - to aid him, and after a further sequence of impressive, dramatic gymnastics against angry masonry, he escapes.
Joining The Hair on fans' list of grievances about the DMC reboot are concerns over the game's framerate. A series known for 60fps smoothness has moved to Unreal Engine 3 and what Ninja Theory is promising will be a "locked" 30fps: something Antionades admits was not achieved in the studio's previous release, the compelling Enslaved.
What the game loses in silky-smoothness, he claims it will make up for in other areas: notably the dramatic environmental changes on display in the demo.
Purists fear the drop in framerate may adversely affect the responsiveness of combat. On that note, we are told Ninja Theory is working very closely with the director of the previous DMC title to find "ways to replicate the feel of 60fps". The game will, we are assured, "feel like proper Devil May Cry when you have the controller in your hand."
At this stage, then, Ninja Theory has demonstrated the foundation for an exciting, stylish, over-the-top action game that offers a new twist on the core elements of the series, borne from the studio's significant experience in the genre.
Hands-off will hopefully soon become hands-on, where we'll get a clearer feel for the game, and - lest we forget - discover where one of the medium's most outstanding and accomplished visual storytellers takes this character and this universe. The Devil, it seems, is in the detail.