GP: Was it a difficult decision to introduce a new character in the form of "Nero" to the Devil May Cry franchise in a leading role?
Kobayashi: There was certainly a lot of discussion about whether it was the right decision to introduce Nero, but we wanted to bring some new gameplay elements to the series and this was really only possible with the introduction of a new character. With the series moving onto the next generation of hardware this felt like the ideal time to bring a new character to the world of DMC. The other bonus of introducing Nero is it allows us to expand the DMC universe with the addition of the city of Fortuna and its inhabitants, a number of whom play key roles in the action of DMC4.
GP: Our readers who have played Devil May Cry 3 will want to know about the difficulty level, will it be comparable, or have you modified the scale?
Kobayashi: DMC4 is probably as difficult as DMC3 SE, but whereas with that title players were effectively thrown into it without any real preparation, DMC4 prepares the player for the challenges that await by slowly ramping up the difficulty level. Added to this is the option to select one of two difficulty settings from the outset - Human or Devil Hunter and an 'Automatic' option which when activated will allow players to pull of stylish combos with greater ease. Finally there is a tutorial at the beginning of the game which introduces both newcomers to the series and DMC fans to Nero and his new actions.
GP: What have you added in terms of artwork to Devil May Cry 4 - will we see bigger fight scenes, and more detail?
Kobayashi: As the series moves onto new more powerful hardware we were able to create much more expansive and highly detailed environments along so for the first time in a DMC game we effectively created a living, breathing world with distinct areas ranging from the city of Fortuna itself to snowy plains and a forest. We can also generate many more characters on screen at any one time than in previous games so can increase the intensity of Nero's and Dante's battles.
GP: In screenshots we have seen, it appears that Nero's arm has a magical attack. Can you tell us what this does and what role it plays in the game?
Kobayashi: The Devil Bringer allows Nero to perform a number of actions that add interesting new gameplay mechanics to the DMC series. First off he can grab enemies and pull them towards him before either slamming them to the ground or performing another attack. When you play as Dante the force of an attack will push the enemy away, but with Nero's Devil Bringer you can now pull the enemy back for a close range attack and the opportunity to keep the combo rolling and generating a better style ranking. In addition the Devil Bringer allows Nero to cover large distances in a single bound or snatch items, such as health, that would otherwise have been inaccessible.
GP: Should people new to the series perhaps go back and play the previous versions first, or can they jump straight in with Devil May Cry 4?
Kobayashi: While DMC4 does represent a new chapter in the DMC series it is not essential to know what happened in the previous games to enjoy this title. However, if having played DMC4 people then get the DMC bug and want to play the other titles then that would be great.
GP: Do you feel that Devil May Cry 4 is the best of the series so far?
Kobayashi: This is definitely the best game in the series! We've created an incredibly high quality game that I really think everyone from diehard fans to players picking up DMC for the first time will really enjoy. I think that this game will continue to be regarded as one of the best next-gen titles throughout 2008.
GP: Other than the introduction of new characters, are we looking at a totally new storyline, or a clear continuation from previous episodes?
Kobayashi: The main story is new, but as the game also features Dante plus appearances from Trish and Lady, certain elements from previous games are referenced.
GP: Will you be looking at the possibility of a fifth Devil May Cry over the next few months?
Kobayashi: Over the years the DMC series has certainly received great critical acclaim and has many loyal fans across the world and I am sure that continuing the series is something that will be discussed after the release of DMC4, but right now nothing has been confirmed.
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