[NYCC 2012] Interview: Talking DmC Devil May Cry with Motohide Eshiro and Alex Jones
During last weekend's New York Comic Con, we had a chance to sit down with two of Capcom's Producers and talk to them about DmC: Devil May Cry, the new reimagined Devil May Cry game developed by Ninja Theory.
Motohide Eshiro, producer at Capcom Japan, and Alex Jones, Producer at Capcom USA, took time out of their busy Comic Con schedule to talk to us about the upcoming game, Ninja Theory's development process, the game's soundtrack, and more.
GameZone: So DmC is coming out pretty soon now, how has it been leading up to the release?
Motohide Eshiro: We're not far from release. We're in the home stretch so to speak, squashing the last few bugs and polishing for quality. We're in good shape.
GameZone: It was reported that DmC was mostly complete back in April, how have you progressed with it since then?
Motohide Eshiro: Around the April time frame the parts were aligned. But in any game, especially a combat-heavy game like this where the control feel is of utmost importance, first you get everything in and playtest it intensely. You figure out what works and what doesn't work and you continue to refine and polish. That's a process that takes several months.
GameZone: On the topic of fine-tuned combat, a lot of character-action games fall into two categories: the really technical ones and the ones that appeal to a more casual audience. What direction has DmC gone in?
Motohide Eshiro: I can tell you what we were aiming for on the Capcom Japan side. It's a very Capcom-y sort of design philosophy. You want to make the entryway as wide as possible with instinctive, easy-to-execute controls. The angel and demon mechanic using the triggers, at first on paper might sound overly complicated, but once you've got the controller in your hand it's quite smooth.
The more you learn, the more you figure out how to cancel things or how to string together more complicated combos. It's up to you how far you want to go with that. Our goal has always been to give you that extra layer of depth should you choose to go in that direction.
GameZone: Could explain a bit about the philosophy behind the angel and demon mechanics in DmC?
Motohide Eshiro: The angel and demon mechanic is tied into the storyline. They stem from Dante's half-demonic, half-angelic genetic make-up. It's always good when you can work something like that into gameplay as well and that was something Ninja Theory devised and we helped them refine. It allows you to explore two very different styles of gameplay. The different movesets and weapons speak to different sides of Dante's personality.
GameZone: Ninja Theory is known for very cinematic games. How is that aspect of their talent being brought to DmC?
Alex Jones: Those guys have massive standard-setting skills at narrative and cutscenes. The idea was to give them, more or less, free reign to let their skill run wild. That was part of the reason we settled on a rebirth. It gave Ninja Theory the ability to tell their own story within that world. And obviously those guys do amazing cinematics. They have a lot of tech built up. They shoot on mo-cap studios where Avatar was created. It's one of their main passions to move narrative and characters ahead in games.
In making the game more Western focused, narrative was a big part of that. Obviously if you're four or five sequels deep into something the story can get a little overgrown and present a barrier to entry for new people. And so telling it in a more direct, simple, Western way seemed to fit well with the idea of rebirthing the franchise.
GameZone: There was a lot of controversy about the character redesign, especially in terms of the look. How has the character changed personality-wise?
Motohide Eshiro: You see a lot of similarities between the Dante of old and the new one. But at the same time he's younger, he's more brash, and he's much more rooted in reality. This character is a bit darker. He has past experience with demons that give him this sort of inner rage. One way to look at it is that until now it's been skewing more towards the entertainment side of things, like something you'd see in a comic book, whereas this is tuned more toward "if this person actually existed, this is how they would behave."
GameZone: We noticed this character in the demo that was sort of a ghostly image helping you along. Can you tell us a little about her?
Alex Jones: Oh, yeah, Kat. She's a medium, so she's a human who has the ability to project herself into limbo, though, not as concretely as Dante. Occasionally she will show up and mark places where you can interact. Narratively, she serves the function of being the person who has Dante engage with the struggle against the demons on more than a revenge level.
GameZone: Can you tell us about the decision to collaborate with real bands for DmC's soundtrack?
Alex Jones: It was largely Ninja Theory. We gave them a lot of latitude in terms of the music collection for the game. We wanted some degree of continuity in the style of music from previous DMC's. But this one, in the context of a more Western-centered game, will use more Western-centered artists. So we have Combichrist which is sort of a hard-driving punk band and then we have Noisia which is more electronic. We wanted to use bands that were potentially up-and-coming or maybe had a following to begin with. But mostly it was driven by the passion of the creative director and audio director at Ninja Theory.
GameZone: We know the game isn't even out yet, but do you have any plans to expand it with DLC?
Motohide Eshiro: You know, it's a pretty standard thing nowadays, so we are definitely looking into and exploring some things we can do with DLC.
Alex Jones: Yeah right now we have our hands full just getting this thing out.
GameZone: Any ideas for something you may want to do down the line?
Motohide Eshiro: For now it's too soon to say, but we've got a lot of ideas. (laughs)
GameZone: Thank you for your time!
Alex Jones: Thank you!