One thing I remember talking about in February was, "It's a world that will have phones, but not cell phones." That quote's stuck in my mind. The Devil May Cry world is like the real world, but it's not quite the real world, and I was wondering... you build everything from scratch in Devil May Cry, and it's realistic, but it's not real. Is building a world like that so difficult, and has it taken all these sequels to develop that out fully? How has that process worked for the series?
HK: Of course, building that kind of world is a difficult process. The most important thing for that is that the core members who are involved in the team need to have the same sort of thought process and idea for what the world is going to look like. That's really the most important thing. In Devil May Cry [series character Dante's] office, they do have a phone, but it's a black analog kind of phone. That feeling of what the world is like is something that we really want to protect, so even though it does have phones, we don't want it to be a world where there is a cell phone and you can immediately talk to anyone in the world.
For example, there's a jukebox in Dante's office, but it plays old vinyl records. Some parts of technology have advanced, and some haven't advanced. Keeping that true throughout the series and the game is difficult, and we need to have all the core members on the same page. That is certainly one of the challenges in making the game. Having said that, it is a lot of fun to be able to create this kind of unique world of our own design.
You've talked about this a little bit before I guess, but do you have a design handbook or a series bible that delineates what can be in this world? How do you keep it consistent from sequel to sequel to sequel, and also with the different members of the team leaving and joining, how do you keep a consistent workflow that defines the world of Devil May Cry?
HK: (laughs) There's no handbook, I can tell you that much. How do we keep it consistent?
I don't know, how do you keep it consistent? (laughs)
HK: First of all, we have the directors and producers and scenario writers and people like the team director, Shimomura-san. We look at all the stuff that has been done before, and we judge how to create something new but isn't going to break the rules of the world that we have, based on what's done before. Just being conscious of what has gone before us, we create new stuff based on that.
For example, if there had been a cell phone in DMC1, there would still be cell phones in it now. We analyze the various elements that have been in the previous games so far, and we create new things based on that without breaking any of the rules that we have done so far. But it's... I don't know how we do it.
There's only a couple of people who have consistently worked on the series. You can probably count on the fingers of one hand how many people there are. There's certainly no more than ten. There's Itsuno-san, the director, some scenario writers, and the model designers. It's really only a tiny bit of the team that's consistently been working on it. If they weren't all together, it would probably be difficult to make new Devil May Cry games.
It's interesting to me, because the game's so elaborate, and certainly the world's so elaborate. I think that's good, though, that you have the creative power that the people who are sitting down on the current sequel can stay within certain boundaries that aren't really that stringent, I guess. You can sort of say, "We're going to do what we want to do." I guess Nero came out of that? Is that how that worked?
HK: Well, having done Devil May Cry 1 and 2 and 3 and having Dante as the hero in all of these games, I wouldn't say that we were exactly sick of Dante, but we did want to do something new, and we felt that people wanted something a little bit new from the series. Of course, there are lots of fans of Dante out there as well. We did want to do something new with it.
Getting into the specifics of it, the sales of all of Devil May Cry have gone down from 1, 2, and 3. They have consistently sold less and less. So in order to bring in some new fans into the series and to bring back those old fans who maybe stopped playing with Devil May Cry 1 -- to bring them back, we decided that if we had Dante as the hero this time, it would be difficult to satisfy both of those groups, the old fans, and to attract new fans in the series. We thought that would be pretty hard.
So Itsuno-san and myself basically decided right from the start that we absolutely needed to have a new hero in this game -- a new main character. The other reason we decided to do that was that having done the other three titles on the PS2 generation and switching to the new generation hardware was a good opportunity. It was a good chance to do something like that. So that's basically where it comes from.