Capcom producer Motohide Eshiro raises an interesting question: when's the best time to reboot a franchise like Devil May Cry? When the old boy's on the rocks, scraping a living via HD collections and cameo appearances in Smash-Bros-esque compilation games? Or when he's kicking arse and taking names?
"As far as the timing is concerned, a big part of the motivation is not waiting for the series to fizzle out, but to do it while the series is still doing really well," Eshiro told Siliconera at a preview event for Ninja Theory's forthcoming, theoretically westerner-friendly Devil May Cry DmC.
"We've done Devil May Cry 1-4 and they keep getting better with each iteration, but rather than waiting for things to go badly and then trying to give it a rebirth we thought it would be an interesting challenge to try to do something new with it while it's still quite viable."
"As a company, we want to challenge ourselves rather than wait until the series is not viable," he added later. "Let's do it now and see what happens while it's still quite big."
The attitude-heavy reboot has proven controversial, though we fancy the flames have dwindled in recent months, as more and more gameplay footage finds its way to the eyeballs of outraged pundits. In March, Ninja Theory's Tameem Antoniades opined that designing games purely for fans will "kill a series".
"You raise a good point, when people actually get to play it or see more of it they will understand its a proper DMC in every sense of the word," Eshiro went on, discussing the fallout. "It's difficult to get that across with screenshots and without getting more people to play it.
"Something we struggled with from the start is when you do something new with an established series is you do have a certain amount of winning people that needs to be done.
"How do we win these people over? Part of that is increasing opportunities for them to play the game and part of that is releasing more assets that aren't screenshots. Something they can see in motion.
"These are elements we need to engage in to get users interested. We're not just looking for new fans, we're looking to make the game for the standard DMC fan as well."
Director Hideaki Itsuno chimed in. "I think when people get the controller in their hands and feel the responsiveness in the controls they will start to understand it's a proper Devil May Cry game.
"In our discussions with Ninja Theory we haven't given them a directive on how to do things, but we identified these pillars that are really important to the Devil May Cry series when it comes to the controls, responsiveness and gameplay.
"I can't give too many specifics and reveal our secret sauce, so to speak, but we gave Ninja Theory these pillars so they can work these elements in the game and we're pretty happy with their results."
How are you feeling about the new Devil May Cry at present? Having revisited Bayonetta over the weekend, I'm bang up for some more free-flowing combo madness. The willy metaphors can stay out, though.