Interviews

Devil, angel, pioneer: The truth behind Devil May Cry's unlikely saviour

Ninja Theory's Tameem Antoniades takes on the internet...

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Ninja Theory's Design Boss Tameem Antoniades has learned just what it means to be demonised. In steering the reinvention of Capcom's Devil May Cry (DMC), now's his time to prove it's really a blessing in disguise.

We're going to read you some pearls of wisdom from the internet, starting with the cryptic: "DMC DOESN'T NEED A F**KING REBOOT."

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Nothing needs a reboot unless that reboot works. Look at Batman. The parallel to the Batman reboot was Catwoman. Nobody needed that, but when it works it can change the course of a franchise in a positive way. It can make it survive.

The decision as to whether DMC needed a reboot or not: it's irrelevant what my opinion is because that decision was Capcom's. They felt it needed something, which is why they not only decided to take a bold step and reinvent it, but to give it to a non-Japanese dev. They had their reasons and that was our mandate. They wanted a reinvention - a reinterpretation - and that's what we went ahead and did.

Much of the argument surely rests on whether DMC4 was considered a dead end for the series. Was it?

There was a feeling from some of the guys at Capcom that it could continue the way it was, but that there were certain tropes that were being - I don't know how to put this... I think when you compare it to where a lot of games have arrived at - Western games in particular, where levels feel more open and the world feels more grounded - it felt like DMC was a little stuck in its ways. It needed to be let loose. That's what we were told as part of our mandate to reinvent it.

At the time, Inafune-san was at Capcom and suggested an idea that we should hold on to - that if it was a movie released here in the UK, or in America, what would that movie look like? That defined the approach we took. Because if you took DMC the game and literally translated that into a movie, it wouldn't really work.

Could some of the animosity come from your strong identity as a studio?

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We've pushed a strong philosophy in the past, which is that stories matter. That can be irksome to a lot of players. Even recently, David Jaffe was proclaiming that stories have no place in games. I think there is a place for stories in games, and when it works it elevates the experience. But there's an assumption that if you're going to put stories in games, other parts of the games have to suffer, which I don't think is the case at all.

It's also that we started off as an Xbox developer, moved over to PS3 exclusively, then moved back to multiplatform development. That, to some people's minds, is a horrendous betrayal. It's like moving back-and-forth between Arsenal and Tottenham. But, for an independent developer like us, our interest is in making games and trying to reach as many people as possible. We have no loyalty to bits of plastic and circuitry.

More internet: "They won't have a chance of selling five million units."

Usually the worst creative crimes are made when you're trying to make a game for someone else - some perceived demographic that, in all likelihood, doesn't actually exist. From my point of view there's only one way to try and make a successful game, and that's to make the game you want to play. A game that everyone involved is proud of. So from that point of view I don't care if it sells a thousand units or two million units. I believe the time you spend making something has to be worthwhile. You've got 20 productive years of work in your life; if you're gonna spend ten or 15 percent of it on something, make it worthwhile.

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