Capcom, you might have noticed, is on a bit of a roll. Monster Hunter finally met with the global success it’s always deserved, its survival horror series won back its fans with the pure horror of Resident Evil 7 and the superlative reimagining of Resident Evil 2, and even the humble Mega Man series is on surer footing than it’s been for a while. Really, though, it’s what’s coming next that really excites me: Devil May Cry 5 isn’t just the return of Capcom’s most stylish series. It’s the return of Capcom’s most accomplished director.
Hideaki Itsuno last sat in the director’s chair for 2012’s Dragon’s Dogma – a standout title in a sometimes troubled era for Capcom’s last generation – but you can trace his history with the company much further back than that. “After I got out of college, I thought to myself, well, I could be a teacher, that might be okay,” he tells us on the London leg of Devil May Cry 5’s final press tour, the interview taking place at the top of a mist-shrouded Shard. “But then I thought, you know, I’m going to have to spend 35 years working before I retire, so I should probably go and do something I’m going to enjoy.”
And Itsuno enjoys video games. Actually, that’s not quite right – he loves them. On his desk at Capcom headquarters in Osaka is a CRT TV he uses to indulge his passion for older games – late last year it was Famicom baseball game Famista, though right now it’s SNK’s 1990 action RPG God Slayer that’s keeping him occupied.