Why yes, I am very excited for Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition, what could have hinted you off to that?
Out of all the Capcom game franchises, Devil May Cry doesn’t have many recognizable characters. Everyone knows Ryu, Chun-Lee, Bison, and Akuma from Street Fighter. People know Megaman, Dr. Wiley, and Zero. Hell, I’d even bet you could pick out certain bosses from Monster Hunter and people would know it.
Out of all the DMC characters, people who haven’t played them tend to only know two. Dante is the first and most obvious one. He’s the poster child of the franchise, after all. The other, however, is somehow just as recognizable, perhaps even more so, than his goofball brother. I’m of course talking about Sparda’s other son: Vergil.
Sorry Nero. I still love you. Unlike your papa.
While Vergil has technically been around since the very first game, it wasn’t until DMC 3 that he truly became iconic. Once he showed up, though, he refused to be ignored. He didn’t just star as the best villain in the franchise up to that (and this) point, but he also was the central factor in not one, but three of the best boss fights in the history of video games.
In terms of writing, though, he wasn’t all that spectacular. He really wanted power and didn’t much like his brother. But as the games went on… he didn’t get any extra depth. That was saved for the spin-off material, such as manga and light novels.
Thankfully, DMC 5 covered the important bits, so you don’t need to worry about doing the homework. You know! Like I did!
The Wound: The Fires of Home
Not gonna lie: this is actually really sad.
So, quick little bit of background for those who haven’t played DMC (what the hell are you doing here?): Vergil and Dante are the sons of Sparda, the most powerful devil of all time, and Eva, a regular human lady. Sparda wasn’t around to raise them, so Eva had to do it alone. While Vergil and Dante quickly developed an unhealthy rivalry, the two were both very much loved by their mother.
And then Sparda’s enemies decided to take some vengeance, so they burned down their home and murdered Eva. In the chaos of this event, Eva successfully hid Dante, then went off to find Vergil. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t live to find her other son. Nor would Vergil know that she was even looking for him.
This was understandably traumatic for the poor half-devil. He felt abandoned by his mother and, more painfully, guilty over her death. He blamed his own powerlessness for her the disaster.
Which is what some people might call a transition.
The Want and the Lie: POOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEERRRR!!!!!!!!
Can you guess what it is? I’ll give you a sec to guess.
After that, Vergil became determined never to lose anything like that again. He wanted the power to control his life, to protect that which he holds dear. So, he did the only thing he could think of: he went to become stronger. By any means necessary.
This is encapsulated by this quote, spoken after Vergil defeats Dante atop Temen Ni Gru at the beginning of DMC 3.
Foolishness, Dante. Foolishness. Might controls everything – and without strength, you cannot protect anything; let alone yourself.This one line gives Vergil so much fucking depth for a PS2 game, oh my god!
Unfortunately, in this search for strength, he lost what little he had left. He permanently damaged his relationship with his brother. He abandoned his son before he could even be born. He even sacrificed his own humanity in a foolish attempt to challenge Mundas, resulting in him taking the form of Nelo Angelo in DMC 1.
Until he came back for DMC 5. Hey, we technically never saw Nelo Angelo die, so it kind of works!
The Need: A Family’s Stability
When DMC 5 begins, Vergil makes the same mistake as he’s made before. In his search for power, he separates his human and demon sides in a search for more power. This created Urizen, who would go on to become the most powerful demon ever, and V, who would aid Dante and Nero in destroying him.
Which is where Vergil’s redemption begins. As V, Vergil remembers what it is that he lost so long ago. He regains his humanity through his adventures with Dante and Nero. So, when V and Urizen are reunited and Vergil is reborn, the son of Sparda regains a crucial piece of him that had been missing for so long. It makes him think on his actions; reconsider them.
We see this in action through this quote:
That day, if our positions were switched… Would our fates be different? Would I have your life, and you mine? Let’s settle this… Dante.Vergil would never have even considered this before.
Still, he is an idiot. His reawakened humanity wasn’t quite enough to make him move beyond his petty rivalry with Dante. So, he thought to settle it once and for all. And had he been allowed to do so, the whole thing may have started again.
Luckily, his son was there to slap some sense into them. Well, not really slap. More like… suplex into oblivion.
Nero is missing piece in Vergil’s life. His son essentially acts much like his mother did, acting as a force of love and stability to keep the two brothers in line. Sure, he does a bit more cursing and sword-slashing than their mother did. But considering how fucked up both Vergil and Dante are, perhaps that’s exactly what they need.
I’ll be the first to admit that Devil May Cry isn’t the most narratively compelling game franchise of all time. The franchise walks a tightrope between ‘enjoyable stupidity’ and ‘annoying stupidity’. It’s enjoyable as all hell, yes! But it isn’t all that intelligent.
Vergil is the sole exception to this. He has so much depth hidden behind subtle actions and dialogue that it’s honestly incredible! You can tell that the writers really loved this character, because they put all their time and effort into him! Honestly, I can’t blame them! I’d probably do the same!
I can’t wait to see what they do with him in DMC5:SE. Will he have a story of his own? Or will he just go through the same levels and fight the same bosses? It’s probably the ladder, but you know what? I’m cool with that! I just wanna play my power-thirsty samurai demon man!
But I swear to god, if any of you fuckers pick him in Marvel VS Capcom 3, I’ll kill you in real life!!