Whatever the medium, pulling off a successful reboot of an established brand is a tricky proposition. Creators have to deliver a product that not only will be embraced by existing fans of that specific property, but also introduce enough new ideas to justify doing the reboot in the first place. This is especially tricky in gaming, where fans often want to see their favorite series go in bold new directions, but still retain their “classic” feel.
Fortunately, gamers have been spoiled with excellent reboots in recent years, with titles like Tomb Raider, Wolfenstein, and Doom successfully modernizing gameplay formulas that were starting to look old and stale. However, those aren’t the games I’m highlighting here, but rather the reboots that, for whatever reason, failed to breathe new life into their respective franchises and ultimately held them back from being successfully revived.
15. DMC: Devil May Cry (2013)
DmC can be read as a cautionary tale for what happens when a reboot strays too far from the spirit of the original. Developed by Ninja Theory, DmC: Devil May Cry was meant to be a re-imagination of the brand, with a different character design for series protagonist Dante and gameplay that was reminiscent, but different, from the intricate combat system established in the previous four Devil May Cry games. While I personally think DmC is a very good game in its own right, many fans were not on the same page and criticized Capcom heavily for its decision to change things so drastically.
In addition to Dante’s new look, one of the most common criticisms leveled against DmC was that it didn’t offer the same level of depth or challenge as previous games. Despite the game’s critical reception being quite positive overall and Capcom claiming to be “very happy” with sales, it seems likely that the next Devil May Cry (if there is one) will ditch the rebooted universe and return to the franchise’s roots.