Capcom and Ninja Theory feel DmC: Devil May Cry will sate the brutality lust of series fans, while teaching newcomers a few of the high level techniques otherwise confined to certain terrifying Youtube videos.
"When I looked at videos of pro-players playing the old DMCs, they're always in the air, they're always juggling enemies around, and doing stuff that most of us look at and think 'I have no idea how that works'," combat designer Rahni Tucker told Dan Griliopoulos during a studio chat.
"We wanted to take that magic the pro-players could create and give more casual players a bit of that feeling. A bit extra hang-time, more aerial moves, the launch button is a single press without a lock-on."
Besides Dante's dependable launcher, the new DmC expands on Devil May Cry 4's grappling functionality in the form of Angel and Demonic grapples - one of which drags you after the target, the other of which drags the target to you. Given the mental wherewithal to distinguish one from the other in a blistering fight, these effectively guarantee a steady supply of combo fodder while Dante's aloft.
Game director Hideaki Itsuno of Capcom insists that this commercially necessary shift hasn't cost the game its vertiginous top layer of skill. "As the series has gone we've seen new users die out, as it took longer to get into it. When it came time to make DMC 4, with the new hero and new moves, new techniques and skills, not many new fans entered the series.
"But with this new DmC, you can take the techniques built up during the old series, and the bar to entry for new users is very low. Both old and new fans will be able to enjoy the game, and I'm very proud of them."
According to creative director Tameem Antoniades, enemies will also punish players for repeating moves. "If you do certain moves over and over, the AI stops you from doing that or responds to you doing that. DmC's a game about playing for style and hitting that high SSS rank is difficult."
Nailing the best combo ratings requires that you keep experimenting, in short. "You can get 50% there by regular combat, but if you want SSS you need to play more creatively. Once you play through the game, the difficulty modes just ramp up skyward."
For more on the particulars, read our most recent Devil May Cry hands-on.