Fairly Messy Rant: Addressing the New Dante

  • Post category:Archived
  • Reading time:9 mins read
  • Post comments:0 Comments

This is a response to the utter rage over the DmC reboot and reactions like, well, this.  I felt like giving my two cents about the issue, because I don’t see my views being shown in this whole… kerfuffle.  So read my words if you feel like it, since it’d make me happy!

To be honest, I kinda understand where people are coming from with the character design.  Now, I am not much of a fan of the original Dante’s design, so I don’t think I have a major bias towards the old design.  At the same time, I don’t think this redesign is all that good.  When you break it down, the new Dante is a lean guy with brown hair, a white tank top, jeans, and a red jacket.  In terms of character design, it is really just cutting back the muscles and making it look a bit more realistic.  However, he doesn’t look overly appealing as a character in a game where you use weapons to beat up monsters.  

I had a similar problem with Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, the developer’s previous title.  Where the main character was just a muscled guy with some weird spiky hair.  If you showed me just that, I’d think the actual design was pretty lame.  However, I ended up enjoying all the characters in that game for one simple reason, they were given character.

You see, the appearance of a character in a primarily visual medium is still important.  but it is not necessarily a deal breaker.  For example, just look at the wave of nondescript movie stars in games as pointed out by good old Jonathan Holmes.  None of them are very appealing to look at, yet my good, and pretty much only, friend adores the character of Nathan Drake warts and all.  So why would it matter that Dante looks like Travis Touchdown if his lost the shades and got all of his outfit from a bin?

Or looking into, say, Silent Hill 2, the main character looks just like a regular dude, but how many people fell in love with his character?  Hell, all live action media requires very simple character design that you will only remember if the character itself is good.  And even with a character who doesn’t seem likable, that doesn’t mean that the game will suck, since based on this, and the other trailers, the environments look wonderful and gameplay looks like a blast.  It is healthy to utilize caution with redesigns, but at least give the game a chance until you call in garbage.

If you really want a reason to hate the game, pull out the whole anti-Capcom spiel.  They throw coffee at employees, they don’t let you go to the hospital if you feel like you’re going to have a heart attack.  They overburden their employees and make them beg for not doing the impossible.  They have development teams of 600, and expect their title to sell 7 million because of it.  Those are good reason to not buy a title.  I am not trying to say that you shouldn’t play it since it looks great and my town’s tax dollars are so going towards it.  But if you are going to hate something and not buy it because of it, don’t bitch that a character is changing their hair from platinum blonde to brown.  Besides, his old character is pretty dated nowadays, so they’re at least identifying that and are doing something different.

To be honest, I kinda understand where people are coming from with the character design.  Now, I am not much of a fan of the original Dante’s design, so I don’t think I have any bias towards the old design.  Let’s start with the hair.  I’ll admit to preferring the original “platinum blonde”, but I absolutely love it, probably because I’ve never seen it in real life, and with my red hair, every other color seems boring to me.  But his normal slightly shaggy brown hair just feel like more of an oversight than anything.  

To me, if you can’t make a distinguished face for you character, you might want to reconsider the design.  And, well, his face is just that of a dude, nothing really special about him.  And because I rarely see main characters who look even mildly like me, a skinny, slightly shaggy teenager, it creates an uncanny effect on me.  Or maybe it is just how few times you see a male character who doesn’t look like he works out fairly often.  Or at least ones who swing melee weapons.

But the clothing really get to me for some reason.  It is a pretty simple look with a white tank top, jeans, a necklace, and a dirty red jacket.  However, it also doesn’t sit right with me.  Now, much of this will be personal, but those are the only reasons I can muster.  Now, I absolutely loathe the image of any man in a tank top, and am not too fond of women in one either.  Something about how it is not considered to be anything above underwear, but still unneeded clothing, I get the impression that it is just there as a sweat rag of sorts.  Or just picking up the cheapest piece of clothing that you can get, since you technically need a shirt for some reason.   

Now, I also love any flowing article of clothing, even when the physics for it are not good, it just makes the character feel large and empowered.  It is the reason why people like capes and cloaks, they are pretty impractical in combat, but they just look cool.  So why does it look like it hasn’t been washed in a few months?  I don’t like stains or people being covered in mud, it just makes the character look like they need a wash, not that they are battle hardened.  Scratches and a few rips do that, just look at Arkham City, the gradual damage to the Batsuit was a great sense of progression and looked awesome by the end of it.  But this just makes me think Dante got his clothes from a bin.  

But as I looked for comparison in my collection, one example of a character with a white shirt, red jacket and jeans, who wields a melee weapon even though he’s kind of scrawny, came up.  Dante’s design is awfully similar to Travis Touchdown’s from No More Heroes.  Now, I’m not trying to say that this is plagiarism or anything, just an interesting connection how a character who served as a deconstruction of American and gamer culture, is now having his general appearance emulated by a character who was made to be cocky and stylish.  But seeing how the new Dante has yet to show any for of cockiness, or at least from what I’ve seen, it looks to be more of an emulation without considering what made a character likable.  But at least Travis had some clean clothes, even if he got some from the trash.  

Now, it has been a while since I played No More Heroes, so I am not going to try and deconstruct the character traits, especially because we have yet to see a lot of character from Dante.  Except, I think that may be the root of the problem.  So far, we’ve seen a character change his design into something that, yes, doesn’t look a lot like the original design.  Since we really only have that to work with, and it doesn’t look that good, it makes sense to be cautious about a character people like getting a redesign.  However, freaking out will improve nothing.  

I rented their previous title, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, and found it to be a somewhat cheesy, but fun titles that stayed fresh, and only really suffered from an open ending that will never get followed up on, and a camera that was a bit too close.  But as a whole, the game was great, so why exactly would this title be that bad?  Granted, I am still pissed at Capcom for denying hospital visits until you get a heart attack, and throwing hot coffee onto employees.  However, and as much as I do not like the nearly uncanny look of Dante, I still want to support the developer.

And aside from the redesign, which I’m sure will improve if they give him a good personality.  The game looks to be wonderful.  The worlds are vibrant and interesting, the combat looks to be a blast, and if you don’t like what they do to Dante, this will probably be a one time thing, and they won’t want to piss you off again.  But then you’ll moan about Dante being too generic again, and we will have accomplished nothing.  Design is just one aspect of a character.  The rest of it is in the name, their actual character!  If a character looks cool, but lacks a personality, they’re just a nifty image.  But if the design is lacking, while the personality is wonderful, they are an actual character.

Leave a Reply