Ninja Theory on Why Dante is Such a “Dickhead”

If there’s a single thing Devil May Cry reboot detractors criticize more than anything,  it’s Dante’s controversial character changes. The initial uproar was caused over the redesign in appearance, but since then the single most community abhorred aspect of Dante has easily been his “trying too hard to be cool” personality.

Edge interviewed Ninja Theory’s technical art director, Stuart Adcock, along with their concept artist Alessandro Taini, and rather bluntly asked whether Dante is a dickhead, to which Alessandro responded:

When it comes to character, especially one like Dante, we think about his past. If he’s a little bit of a dickhead it’s because, in the past, he’s been through a lot of things. We’ve been looking at a lot of movies about attitude – characters like Fight Club’s, for example. The way they speak and pose – it’s better not to have an argument with them. The eyes, the look. So we really concentrated on that for Dante. He has to be a believable character. If this guy walked into a club with a big sword and leather jacket, it wouldn’t work in our game.

Ninja Theory’s art director Adcock added:

We are giving the boring answer which is that it’s character progression. To do that, we had to strip a lot of things off the preconceived Dante to fit him in this world and tell that story. See how you feel about him after you’ve been through the cool moments with him and seen the story as he does. Also, if you see one extreme then it’s more effective when you come to gel with him, when you have those story moments when you see genuine feeling and emotion on him. Like a lot of things it makes that more apparent.

Alessandro Taini then threw in a wonderful web-slinging reference:

I like the example of the last Spider-Man movie. When he’s just realized his power and you see him standing on top of that building with just a bag and a mask he took from a shop, and his trainers. When I saw that I was like: this is kind of our Dante because that progression is there. And the last Batman movie, even Chronicle. It’s not new what we’re doing. Many movies now try to tell stories in a more human and realistic way.

Stuart Adcock went on to directly address his issue with the jaded online gamers, and how they’re not giving Dante a chance:

I think that was the only thing we felt about the reactions [from forum posters]. We put all this effort into figuring out a good story arc and good character development for Dante, peeling everything back on the conceptual level and just feeling it in his eyes, in this youthful kid that had fight in him but was also tired of trying to escape Limbo and not knowing why. We have such a big investment of time into the character of Dante that to be getting into conversations about his hair was, I dunno… just wait and see.

Are you willing to “wait and see” or has Dante’s radical re-imagining irreversibly ruined Ninja Theory’s take on Devil May Cry for you?

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