Listen to this Article
I feel like I need to preface this article by saying that Dante is by far my favorite character in the Devil May Cry series and (depending on the incarnation of Dante) I believe he’s one of the most entertaining leads in the medium. With that being said, it feels like it might be time for Dante to make his exit from the franchise.
Simply put, Dante has fulfilled his purpose in the narrative, and this happened all the way back in the original 2001 title. In the first game, he defeated the King of Hell Mundus and in doing so, avenged the lives of his brother and mother. Since then, the only interesting story involvement he’s had was in Devil May Cry 3, which was set years before the first game.
There’s always the option to appoint him to a different role in the narrative, but I’m not sure there’s really anything else that would lead to interesting conflict. Being a professional demon hunter makes him the perfect candidate for a game about exhilarating, fast-paced combat. Giving him the new King of Hell mantle as the ruler of the demons might sound like a good concept on paper, and a fitting progression for his character, but then there are no enemies to fight, which doesn’t particularly lend itself to an action game.
Bringing back old villains for Dante to fight against isn’t an option either. Devil May Cry 5 will be Vergil’s second revival and third appearance in the series, and that’s only remotely justifiable due to his relations to Nero, not Dante. Mundus is always an option, but where’s the threat when he’s already been single-handedly dealt with by Dante before?
The death of a beloved character in a story usually serves multiple purposes; there’s the initial shock and emotional gut punch, but more importantly, it pushes the story and characters forward. Since Devil May Cry 4, it has seemed apparent to me that Nero was being pushed into the spotlight as the second lead. If the developers and writers really want Nero to flourish as his own character, they need to finally let him stand on his own without Dante.
Devil May Cry is essentially an ensemble cast at this point. I don’t feel like it’s possible to have a game solely focussing on Dante without Nero, and I can’t imagine future scenarios where the two of them could co-exist together in a way that doesn’t feel forced or uninteresting. There’s always the argument that Lady and Trish don’t appear in every game either, but they’ve always been side characters. If anything, I feel like the new character V is better suited as Nero’s partner for future installments.
As of right now, Dante almost feels like a writing crutch. Nero can get into some pretty rough situations, but there’s always the stronger and more experienced Dante to bail him out. If Dante continues to have a presence in the series, I can’t help but feel like tension will be diminished if he can always be there to save the day. There could be convenient write arounds to explain away his absences, but that’s a whole other hurdle to overcome each time the writers try to construct a new and interesting story.
I’ll give credit where credit is due, Nero already looks much more engaging in 5 than he did in his debut. With that being said, Dante is still the star player. Due to their inherent similarities as characters, I just don’t think there’s enough room in the story for both of them. Dante can only act as a mentor for a more brash Nero in so many installments. Eventually, has there has to be some kind of progression.
With how much enthusiasm 5 has invigorated in fans, I have to imagine that the series has got a secure future ahead of itself. If Capcom wants to retain that enthusiasm, I think they’re eventually going to have to do some major shakeups. What the series needed to re-ignite interest was a return to what people already knew and loved, but that alone isn’t going to keep players engaged forever. I have no doubt that the hardcore fans will keep coming back for the gameplay alone, but there’s a whole other larger audience that will need more. Maybe there is a way to keep the story and scenarios fresh with Dante still around, but if it comes to it, I think the writers might need to eventually pull the Devil Trigger and give the old lead a much-deserved rest.
For the latest in gaming and entertainment, be sure to like Gaming Historia on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. You can also support us via Patreon, which allows us to create better content for our audience.