For the first time in the franchise, the upcoming Devil May Cry 5 will include microtransactions at launch. Throughout the game, players acquire red orbs from enemies, which can be used to purchase in-game upgrades. However, Capcom are including the ability for players to buy them with real money in this instalment, which is proving to be a controversial move with the Devil May Cry fandom.
Notably, this isn’t technically the first time that a Devil May Cry game has included microtransactions. The Special Edition re-release of Devil May Cry 4 gave players the ability to buy resources with real cash as well. However, this was added to the game several years after launch, and the base game was balanced without microtransactions in mind. Devil May Cry 5 will be the first in the series to potentially be balanced in such a way as to encourage players to buy upgrades instead of playing for them.
Microtransactions in AAA single player games have faced scrutiny from fans many times before. Developers can control the progression model in these types of games, meaning that they could design the game’s progression to encourage paying for resources and handing over money.
Games such as Middle-Earth: Shadow of War had highly controversial microtransactions which made the game’s progression feel unrewarding. In fact it reached the point where Shadow of War developer Monolith recently removed all microtransactions in response to criticism. The Devil May Cry series has generally prided itself on having a high level of difficulty. Thus, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for fans to be suspicious if the upcoming fifth instalment was less rewarding than usual.
When asked for clarification, the director of Devil May Cry V, Hideaki Itsuno, gave this response: “With giving people the ability to purchase Red Orbs, it’s something we want to give people as an option. If they want to save time and just want to get all the stuff at once, those people can do that. But on the other hand I don’t feel you have to get all the moves, ” he said. “You should be able to play it the way you want to play it.”
The excuse that they allow the player to save time playing the game is a common one for justifying microtransactions. However, developers don’t put microtransactions in a game without expecting that people will buy them. Hopefully, Devil May Cry V is well-designed enough that players succeed without feeling the need to pay extra. It would be a shame if this promising-looking game were to be bogged down by badly-implemented microtransactions.