An an­nual re­minder that we can all be some­thing big­ger


This is­sue, as the enor­mous num­ber five on the cover makes clear, is about longevity. In the fastest-mov­ing form of en­ter­tain­ment on the planet, change is a ne­ces­sity if you want to stick around. Yet it’s also es­sen­tial to stay true to your roots. The aim of a se­quel is twofold, af­ter all: to give ex­ist­ing fans more of what they fell in love with, while adding some­thing fresh in or­der to at­tract a wider au­di­ence of new play­ers.

In this is­sue’s cover story, Devil May Cry 5 di­rec­tor Hideaki It­suno talks about what he calls the Plus Al­pha el­e­ment: the ex­tra layer of me­chan­i­cal com­plex­ity that fans ex­pect from a se­quel. Yet it is also a risky busi­ness, since mak­ing an al­ready com­plex game such as Devil May Cry even more so is hardly go­ing to win over the masses. It­suno’s an­swer to this prob­lem in DMC5 is an all-new third pro­tag­o­nist, which puts play­ers of all lev­els of ex­pe­ri­ence on an even foot­ing. It’s a smart so­lu­tion to an age-old prob­lem.

Else­where this month we find other cre­ators wrestling with sim­i­lar themes. What’s the se­cret to plough­ing the same fur­row, and con­tin­u­ing to find suc­cess? A few short years ago, Unity was the king of third­party game en­gines. Yet a resur­gent Un­real Engine, buoyed by the suc­cess of its maker’s own Fort­nite, has taken its place, par­tic­u­larly among devel­op­ers mak­ing mul­ti­player games. Be­gin­ning on p8, we dis­cover how Unity in­tends to make up lost ground. And in Col­lected Works, we shine a spot­light on Ya­suyuki Oda, who’s been mak­ing fight­ing games for 25 years and shows no signs of slow­ing up.

How­ever you stitch it, the real key to longevity is qual­ity. You can mix in all the clever new flavours you like, but if the core in­gre­di­ents aren’t good enough, you don’t stand a chance. It­suno’s Plus Al­pha phi­los­o­phy has cer­tainly reaped div­i­dends, but the real se­cret of Devil May Cry’s suc­cess is the ir­re­sistibly stylish com­bat sys­tem that lies at the game’s heart. Be­gin­ning on p60, we find how Cap­com is build­ing on that foun­da­tion to de­liver what al­ready looks like the first es­sen­tial game of 2019.

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