Capcom USA Senior Producer, Alex Jones, peels back the curtain of PC gaming development as he speaks about DmC Devil May Cry. You will learn why there is no PC demo, a hint at upcoming DLC, reasons why Capcom decided to release on PC and much more.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the development of DmC Devil May Cry on the PC.
I’m Alex Jones, the Senior Producer for Capcom USA on DMC and I’ve been with Capcom for 4 years. As the project producer I have my hand in just about everything, but my primary responsibilities are managing the schedule and budget and making sure the development team is delivering a quality title.
How did you get started in developing PC games?
Well, I’ve generally worked on games that had PC versions, so I suppose I got started developing PC games simply by being in the games industry.
Were you concerned DmC Devil May Cry would not live up to the expectations from diehard fans of the series?
Anytime you work on an iconic franchise, let alone a reboot, you know you have a lot to live up to, and I certainly felt some degree of pressure, but honestly, given the support we had from Capcom Japan and the amazing development studios we worked with, I felt we would deliver something that lived up to the standards of the previous installments of the series.
What are some of the successes and failures you learned from in developing the PC version of DmC Devil May Cry?
I know this does not make for exciting reading, but honestly the whole process was actually fairly devoid of drama or notable failures. We staggered the development such that we avoided long-running dependencies between the console and the PC team. Much of the credit goes to both Ninja Theory, the primary developer and the creators of the game, and our PC development partners at Q-loc. Both groups did a great job. At the publishing level we decided very early in the console development that we were going to do a PC version and that allowed us to the proper planning and staging of the development to ensure as smooth a dev cycle as possible.
In its current form, how close is DmC Devil May Cry to your initial vision on the PC?
Very close actually. The most important item was ensuring the game would run at 60+ frames at a high resolution, which is something our PC players would consider essential and we achieved that. The second most important thing was making sure we got it out as close to the console version as possible so our PC players would not feel like an afterthought.
Why did you contract Noisia and Combichrist to provide the musical score?
From the very start we knew we were going to find established bands to do the lion’s share of the music and it was just a matter of finding bands that we thought were a good fit. And both Combichrist and Noisia proved to be ideal in that they both have styles which somewhat harken back to music of previous DMC music while also being different enough to be distinct and not just a rehash of the music from the previous installments.
Previous DMC titles presented players with very high difficulty, but DmC Devil May Cry seems much easier to play. What reasons factored in the decision to lower difficulty from the unforgiving challenges found in prior iterations?
I’m not sure it’s much easier, it is certainly easier than say the original DMC 3, which was notorious for being soul-pulverisingly difficult, but in the main, do not feel it is substantially distinct from DMC4. Having said that, however, savvy players find exploits and bugs that escaped us and we have been monitoring the user data and will probably address many of the most egregious exploits via a patch at some point.
There are some who say the PC market is so small that the effort needed to make a proper PC version is a determent to overall development of multi-platform titles. Why did you choose to create a PC version which took advantage of the platform?
I would say almost the opposite: if you do your job right on the console side you can generally develop a PC version quite reasonably from both a budget and production logistics standpoint. We had the advantage of using a top notch PC development house which makes life infinitely easier. As of the reason: since we knew we would only be running the console version at 30 fps and that many super hardcore DMC players would insist on 60 fps the only option for fulfilling that desire would be a PC version.
Can you tell us why you chose not to release a PC demo for DmC Devil May Cry?
It was mostly a production constraint; there was just a lot of work to be done getting everything up, running and optimized on PC in addition to the goal of releasing within 2 weeks of the console version. So we made the decision to keep the team focused on the game itself.
Will we see any story-based DLC for the PC version of DmC Devil May Cry?
Indeed we will. We will have a meaty epilogue to the main game story in which we will follow Vergil on a series of missions which take place in the immediate aftermath of the climactic events of DMC. Depending on your skill and proficiency there will be anywhere from 3-5 hours of additional story and gameplay.
The PC modding community is a huge aspect to many PC games. Was there ever talk about releasing mod tools or allowing for easy modding on DmC Devil May Cry?
Unfortunately not really, given the tight development deadlines we needed to carefully choose our battles; but, perhaps next time, because we do realize that is definitely a unique PC capability that can add a ton of additional value to a title.
What are your thoughts on how the PC gaming industry as a whole are dealing with the problem of intrusive DRM and piracy?
It’s a real problem trying to balance the desire for convenience on your customer’s part with the need to ensure your product is adequately protected from piracy, and I’m sure collectively in the industry we need to do a better job, however, I think user-friendly, feature-rich online outlets like Steam are a good start and as a physical medium as the primary means of distribution becomes less and less the norm and pricing begins to reflect that fact I think it will get progressively easier to strike that balance.
We would like to thank Alex for his insight into the PC side of multi platform development. You can purchase DmC Devil May Cry via Steam.