Capcom was kind enough to organize yet another community question and answer session with some of the minds behind the upcoming action game Devil May Cry. This time producers Alex Jones and Greg Lewickyj took the hot seats as fans pelted them with one question after another. Some noteworthy details did indeed emerge from this session. The producers disclosed that since the game’s playable demo was released, the game has seen a noticeable increase in pre-order sales.
Furthermore, the guys talked about their feelings regarding the overall fan response to the demo and went into detail about exactly what happened when they recruited some of the world’s finest Devil May Cry players last year for an early play-test. They also revealed that an art-book for the game will probably not be released in North America. Devil May Cry will be available on January 15th.
The full list of questions and answers is below:
Why was an Automatic Lock-on System chosen over the familiar Manual System, and why not add an option for Manual Lock-on when the infrastructure to do so already exists (i.e.: Cycling through Ranged Targets)?
The omission of manual lock-on was largely a collaborative decision between Ninja and Itsuno-san (Director on DMC 2,3, and 4). Itsuno-san said he had always wanted to get away from the lock-on and that desire coupled with the fact the Angel mode was taking a button away on the control pad combined was a large part of the reason we went with the auto lock…which IMO feels pretty good
I have already heard that Itsuno wanted to move away from the lock-on, but my question was about why he wanted to do so.
Part of his reasoning (and I’ll have to be careful here since I am representing a third party’s POV) was that in his opinion he thought early on that our controller layout and input scheme may have been overly complex and when prioritizing things he wanted the player to take an affirmative action to perform. Locking on seemed to him like an area where simplification would be possible and potentially desirable.
Will there be any other environmental kills? The demo allowed you to throw enemies into the pit for a small style bonus, but will there be any others such as a pulling a wall out to crush an enemy?
Simply put, yes. There are a lot of environmental hazards you can use to take ‘em out.
The Angel and Demon modes are interesting, but I was wondering, what was the idea behind having us hold the buttons down to use the weapons. Would it be possible to have an option to switch the controls so you can just tap the back button to switch to said weapon, and make it so you have to hold it for the angel/demon pull to work? Or does this type of control scheme conflict with functions that are available down the road?
We explored a variety of input setups and actually ran some focus test on the controls. The element that we really like about having the controls as they exist is the way that users can be incredibly fluid when switching from Angel to Demon and back. We went through many iterations to make sure that everything felt right and had many internal discussions about the best way to go. In the end, everyone agreed—from Itsuno-san and our Japanese team to the combat designers at Ninja Theory.
You guys mentioned a while back that you had high-level players come in to help you iron out the kinks in the combat early on. Can you tell us a bit more about that process?
We actually utilized focus-testing at several stages in the development process to continue to check-in and keep us honest with our progress. A general kind of set-up would be to work with an outside agency (because they have expertise getting this type of data) to setup the testing. Usually this would take place over 2 or 3 days depending on the number of testers brought in. We tried to have a focus to the testing (controls, combat, difficulty) so that we could keep things as specific as possible.
Groups of people then play the game and some get to participate in discussion sessions. We receive an incredible amount of data from this testing—testers respond to questionnaires, give us feedback in discussion groups, we observe their play, and collect data from their play sessions. We then sift through that data and do the best we can to make adjustments and decisions from what we have learned.
Any plans to release an updated demo once the game has gone gold?
There are no plans to update the demo. Once we were able to bring that to the public our full development focus was on the main game. We’ve obviously been paying attention to the feedback we’ve received through forums. I hate to sound too terribly like a PR talking head, but I can’t speak too much on detailed plans at this time.
How do you feel about the overall response towards the demo?
Generally speaking I think we’ve a really positive response to the demo’s release. We are obviously paying attention to forums and criticism, but are also pleased to see a lot of people are really enjoying the game. My favorite responses are from friends of mine who were critical of the game before being able to get their hands on it (as longtime fans of the series) who almost begrudgingly come to like it.
In terms of numbers of people getting their hands on the game we are very pleased with what we’ve seen coming back from Sony and Microsoft. It was also really nice to see an uptick in pre-order sales after the demo was released. All-in-all, we have been really excited to get this into people’s hands—from our experience at E3, Gamescom, Comic-Con, and other shows we were looking forward to getting this demo out.
There are some persistent issues with Arbiter, particularly the Trinity Smash move. It has game-breaking power, which is unfortunate because I find Arbiter to be the only weapon (so far) to have a very satisfying hit-sound. First it was the “Spam Tremor, Receive SSS” issue which appears to be fixed, but the current state leaves it even more powerful than that.
On the other hand, Osiris seems too weak; the final hit of all of its natural combos knocks enemies all over the place, which seems like an odd thing to do with a weapon that really only shines (literally) when used against many targets at once. You can really tell the difference when you compare how long it takes to kill a Heaven Knight, versus how long it takes to kill a Hell Knight.
We’ve definitely seen a lot of feedback on the Arbiter, though I think some of your feedback is also unique. I just want to encourage you to keep experimenting with the moves and their positioning properties before writing them off.
The Osiris knock-back finisher has its applications, but there are times when you’ll want to switch to another weapon to prevent it. Trinity Smash is powerful, especially on demo drones, but not a be-all-end-all. It’s also quite exposing, and you’ll notice that Arbiter natural blows all cause knockback on smaller enemies, which is sometimes disadvantageous.
At any rate, we’re definitely recessing the feedback we’ve been getting and are investigating some potential rebalancing as a result, but we can’t really make any concrete guarantees right now.
What prompted the choice of Combichrist and Noisia for the soundtrack?
The choice of Combichrist and Noisia was largely driven by Ninja Theory. They had a real vision for the look and feel of the game and felt that both artists worked really well. In the end, Ninja Theory was able to win Capcom over and we worked to make that a reality. There are some cool features elements to the music and creatively, I think, it worked our really well.
I’m loving the game so far, but I was curious about the Style meter. What was behind the decision to no longer have the Style grade drop from inactivity, and only getting hit or ending the combat event. Was it to make up for the loss of the Taunt mechanic, or perhaps to allow more freedom for setting up specific things?
A bit of both actually. We have a lot of depth (particularly as it relates to weapon and alignment-specific vulnerabilities of enemies) and giving the player just a little breathing room to think a bit more tactically about how to manage any particular skirmish without excessively penalizing him or her was a conscious choice.
Is there going to be an artbook released with the game or some time after the release? because DAMN(!) the level and graphic designs are incredible. Would LOVE to see concept and final art.
Unfortunately we won’t have an artbook available in North America and Europe, but there will be something put together in Japan. If you push enough, you might be able to see a few copies come to the Capcom Store for purchase.
I have a question about the plot and characters. This time around, have you dug deeper into Vergil’s story and background in this game?
We are certainly keenly aware of the interest in the character of Vergil. For those familiar with the previous titles and the Devil May Cry universe Vergil holds a special place for many fans. So, yes, we do attempt to bring some focus on Vergil as a character. I wish I could share some details on the story, but our marketing team won’t let me do that. I’m hopeful that Vergil fans have something to be excited about.