I have one major gripe with DmC: Devil May Cry — well, two if you count the obtuse title, but we’ll leave that. My real problem is with Dante.
It’s not the he’s young, not that he’s skinny, nor is it that he’s missing his trademark long, white hair. My beef with new Dante is he’s the straight, white, by-the-books, cocky, rebellious, don’t-give-a-shit character I’ve seen 50 times before.
He’s introduced from the first cutscene as a carefree, partying, sexually aggressive young tool. After a night of drunken clubbing, he has a three-way with two female dancers in his trailer. The morning after, he wakes up and they’re gone, yet a bra still remains? Did he kick them to the curb without all their clothes? Or did they leave in a hurry? The game never answers the question.
But that doesn’t really matter.
What I’m getting at is the one true curveball Ninja Theory could’ve thrown in to make Dante a more compelling character should’ve been bisexuality. Ninja Theory seems to have gone out of its way to piss off old Devil May Cry fans by making the new Dante nearly the opposite (at least physically) of old Dante. Adding men to his sexual appetite would’ve been the cherry on top to enrage the old fans.
When I think of the lifestyle Dante leads, he reminds me of Stieg Larsson’s character Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo novels and movies. She’s an aggressive, alcohol abusing, drug taking sexual deviant, yet she also has her shit together throughout the story. She’s in control. She’s also open to both genders sexually. In David Fincher’s film version, a sequence features her meeting another young woman in a club. They drug themselves and go home with each other. This ultimately minor, yet telling scene elegantly encapsulates what Ninja Theory did with Dante. However, in his case, he takes two women home because he’s straight.
During the course of the DmC story, he slowly falls for his brother’s assistant Kat. She’s also a pretty similar copy and paste of Lisbeth Salander, yet not nearly as deep. If Ninja Theory had swapped out the token woman character for another guy and had Dante fallen for him instead, a compelling and surprising drama could’ve unfolded. A stage for a horribly underrepresented demographic in games would set and help destroy the stereotypical view that bisexual (and gay) men are weak and feminine. We don’t have enough bisexual (or gay) center-stage masculine male action stars. Much like how Lisbeth Salander’s bisexuality doesn’t define her, Dante’s bisexuality wouldn’t either — it would just be a detail under the story’s bigger umbrella.
DmC is pretty far from a love story, and that’s exactly why it would work. The plot doesn’t center around Dante falling for Kat — that’s the dessert to the game’s steak and potatoes combat. Would it have killed Ninja Theory to make that dessert a little gayer?
When I view movies, games and books I often wonder how the story could be twisted or affected by having the central character be gay or bisexual instead of cookie cutter and straight. The funny thing is the story would rarely be affected at all. An alternative would be offered to the usual straight, white-washed catch-all stock entertainment characters we’re given on a daily basis.
Overall diversity in mainstream entertainment as a whole is necessary, whether it be gay characters, lesbian, black, Asian, latin, transgender — you name it. And just because an underrepresented character is cast doesn’t mean the story has to revolve around the racial or gender identity background of that character. Having them in there is a step forward by itself, no matter how small.