Ninja Theory on DMC reboot: "we're not pretending we're Japanese, or apologising for it"

Capcom: "Japanese characters look cool for the sake of it", but Western designs tend to be "more functional"

Ninja Theory has fielded fan outcry, backlash from series creator Hideki Kamiya and even death threats over its Westernised Devil May Cry reboot, but the company has refused to budge on the change of style. Speaking to OXM in an interview you'll read in issue 82, creative director Tameem Antoniades spoke up once more for the new Dante, insisting that you can't paper over cultural differences.

If you're going to be different, Be Different.

Some players have taken issue with Dante's perceived "camper" look, but this has more to do with different expectations surrounding Western games, Antoniades argued. "Somehow Japanese character styles get away with it," he said, when we asked whether players found camp leads from Japanese devs easier to swallow.

"We did a thought experiment suggested by [former Capcom exec Keiji Inafune] early on. It went like this: imagine this game as a contemporary movie. What would it look like? What would Dante look like? We went from there."

Capcom's Alex Jones expanded on the point. "Japanese style ethos does tend to involve make characters look cool for the sake of looking cool, adding odd accessories, crazy hairstyles and colour, cowboy boots and so on simply because they look cool.

"We in the West tend to be more functional adding things that have meaning and being able to explain that meaning. Why does Dante have white hair? I want to make a little story around that and explain it. And so on for the rest of his design choices."

"We've not so much done away with any of the Japanese aspects of the series," Antoniades resumed. "But are more building on the foundations of the franchise to develop a game that has a different flavour. We grew up on US and European movies, comics, music and general culture. That's what we're tapping into.

"We're not pretending we are Japanese nor making apologies for that."

Past Ninja Theory games have worked within lush fantasy fictions cobbled together from medieval European and Asiatic cultures. While pursuing a new art direction and story, Ninja Theory has been careful to respect Devil May Cry's combat system - read more on the subject over here, and pick up issue 82 itself for the Antoniades interview in full.

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