This seems like a straightforward proposition, but what is Devil May Cry? It's a third-person fighting game that more or less invented a genre, then with Devil May Cry 3 raised the bar once more and, with Devil May Cry 4, had its biggest-selling entry (2.9 million). In 2008 the series did not seem in bad shape - and then the next Devil May Cry was DmC, a reboot developed by the Cambridge studio Ninja Theory. This switch was much-maligned by series fans, persistently and often unfairly.
Ninja Theory's Devil May Cry reboot courted much controversy back in the day, when the Unreal Engine 3-powered release traded the series' signature 60fps gameplay for a more detail-rich 30fps experience. Only the PC version could power uncompromised full frame-rate gameplay - and in our tests, it made a world of difference.
The new Dante - Ninja Theory's Dante - is an arsehole.
"Dante's not gay, but I wish he was" says Ninja Theory creative director Tameem Antoniades. "That would teach all those homophobes out there."
I wish he was gay, too. Aside from being a bigot repellent, it would have been more fitting for Ninja Theory's reimagining of the Devil May Cry series. "The theme of the story is about rebellion," Antoniades states. Everything ties into that notion from Dante's brash attitude, to the street art aesthetic, drastic character redesigns, the name of his sword, and the peculiar abbreviation that keeps that 'm' lowercase for no particular reason.
This sticking-it-to-the-man attitude is apparent from the start of Ninja Theory's presentation, wherein Dante knocks out a bouncer in order to infiltrate a nightclub run by a demon named Lilith. In the world of DmC, demons manipulate aspects of society, and she uses this club to convert members of the upper classes into demon collaborators. "Lilith is like the queen of entertainment," Antoniades notes. "She's like the Simon Cowell of limbo."
Tom's already offered you a rundown of this year's Actual New Games - the ones that are offering, in their own ways, something unique - and now here's the slightly less glamorous look at the other side of the coin.
They're big business, these blockbuster sequels, and for all that we lament the lack of innovation it's these big-budget series that inevitably garner the most attention and inspire the most devotion from the majority. That's nothing to be scorned - iteration's an important thing in games development and indeed the development of games - and a composite of evolved features designed to fulfil a particular desire, be that the needs of a sports fan or those wanting a fresh shooter fix, can be just as important to the progression of the medium as the advent of a new game mechanic or control concept.
Sequels take many forms and capture our attention for many reasons. Some build their features up year by year, like FIFA and Call of Duty, and will continue to be brilliant when we encounter them later in 2012. Others build on the storytelling or world-building of games a few years past, like Gearbox's brilliant-looking Borderlands 2 or the sure-to-be-spectacular finale to the Shepard's tale in Mass Effect 3. And some are interesting because of their circumstances - Halo 4, for example, is another big-budget sequel on the near horizon, and with a new and as-yet unproven developer filling Bungie's big boots, we're just interested in that out of morbid curiosity as devotion to the series.
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.
The news that Devil May Cry was to get a renovation was probably the most controversial announcement of this year's Tokyo Game Show. The words 'series reboot' are enough to jangle any fan's nerves, and the trailer proved divisive.
Capcom easily won the unofficial award for the publisher of the show in Tokyo this year. Not content to sit back and watch people come flooding in to see Monster Hunter Portable 3rd - which they did, of course, in their thousands - the publisher made three major new announcements. At Capcom's pre-Tokyo Game Show press conference, Keiji Inafune told the world that as long as Capcom's around, the Japanese games industry is alive and kicking.