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The Issues Surrounding Devil May Cry V, Explained

Capcom’s latest release of Devil May Cry V (DMCV), the sixth (yes sixth), in the series, has been enjoying a lot of buzz from the press and players alike. Mostly, the sentiment is that it’s a great return to form and continues to optimize the stylish action genre.

Now, there’s a few issues associated with DMCV, some with the game, and people associated with the game that have come to light. Early on Monday morning, a thread on ResetEra created by member Skittles was…concerning as it became a hotbed of the its issues.

The Problem With J.D Morrison’s Portrayal

The thread began as Skittles lamented the fact that the voice behind Devil May Cry V’s only Black character, J.D Morrison, is by white actor, Joey Camen.

The issue isn’t so much that a person of color is being voice by someone white. Although, marginalized characters being played by actors whom don’t identify with them is a separate issue altogether and one I’ll probably address another time.

Joey Camen, a long-time actor, as per a few deleted YouTube videos has (rather had) no issues making offensive videos. In one of the deleted videos he was seen in blackface discussing Kanye West’s album The Life of Pablo, using AAVE (African American Vernacular English), and using the n word — without any issues.

If that wasn’t troubling enough Camen, also had (these were later removed) videos in which he took part in humor (as he called it) involving transphobia and antisemitism (he himself is Jewish).

This person was hired to voice a Black man. Was he chosen because of his talent? Or was he chosen for his history of work? Whatever the logic maybe, the facts remain unchanged.

Keep in mind that his history includes working with Richard Pryor, as “the white man that wanted to be black” — The above is a video of his past work. Granted this was decades ago in 1977 and logically people can change/correct their problematic natures over time. However, his recent videos, and portrayal as Morrison raise an eyebrow. He is essentially still doing the same thing, doing a caricature of a Black man — speaking as a Black man, is somewhat insulting.

Now it bears mentioning that Capcom at large may have not been responsible for his hire. This may very well have been via a talent agency with which they use often with their games. If that is the case, then someone was still responsible to check to see if there were any matters of concern with him.

The following is merely speculative but other questions arise regarding the minor character Morrison. He was originally depicted as a white male in the Devil May Cry anime. He was changed to a different ethnicity for Devil May Cry V the game. Was his change made so the game wouldn’t be so visibly very white? That’s unknown but it maybe likely where in 2019, games still have profuse shortcomings in regards to proper representation.

But if Morrison’s inclusion was ultimately to avoid being so very white. Then we could argue his inclusion is in fact tokenism. As pointed out in the same ResetEra thread, it’s not a good look, considering the character Nico in early art designs, was intended to be Black. Again, why she isn’t and why Morrison is the only Black person may never be known to us.

It’s certainly disappointing that the one very visible person of color has an voice actor that’s something of a disservice, a grave disservice.

There’s Nods To A Few Very Problematic People

There is an achievement/trophy titled “I Believe I Can Fly. This is the title to a well-known song for R Kelly. The long-time controversial R Kelly is now facing very serious legal charges. The documentary, Surviving R Kelly, brought forth the decades of sexual allegations brought against him to public knowledge and was released a few months ago. However R Kelly’s very disturbing history and allegations have been in the realm of public consciousness for decades well before the documentary.

Why was this achievement name included and seen as a good idea? As of now, this is unknown. However the decision, which passed a few people, was made and they saw nothing wrong with. Again why? The best response to this would’ve been to not include that name at all.

This unfortunately isn’t the only nod to an alleged abuser in the game.

The game features a dedicated scene to Michael Jackson. After the series star, Dante meets Nico for the first time, he is given the Dr. Faust weapon. What proceeds is Dante doing the moonwalk like the controversial music icon.

First, the problem with MJ is the documentary Leaving Neverland, which aired this January. The documentary brought back the very concerning nature of his relationships with then children. Understandably, there was repercussions which include: the removal of his music from some radio stations, the Simpson’s episode in which he starred no longer being in circulation, and etc. Secondly, the public discussion of his behavior never went away. It only came to light again due to the documentary. Its often been glanced over but still unnerving.

The scene is intended to be humorous and nothing more. Yet, the problem still can’t go unnoticed, there’s an entire scene dedicated to someone that a lot of people are uncomfortable with to a degree. Again, many people saw this scene and it didn’t register as a concern — Which is still a problem.

Someone could argue these issues mentioned so far with DMCV could be cultural gafs made by Capcom Japan. Yet DMCV, I would like to remind you, was made with international audiences in mind, so that argument doesn’t really hold up.

The Problems With Dante’s Voice Actor

Now the final and arguably most disappointing of associated issues are the opinions of Dante’s voice actor, Reuben Langdon. In a recent interview on YouTube. He was a part of a discussion regarding the sexual allegations against voice actor Vic Mignogna. — A conversation that defended Mignogna

Side note: Mignogna has had many sexual allegations brought against him and his questionable behavior for years. This has resulted in him no longer being employed with Funimation and Rooster Teeth respectively.

As pointed out by the ResetEra thread by Kyle Cross. The podcast Langdon appeared on, is hosted by supporters of Mignogna. Supporters whom have been known to attack those that spoke against Vic on social media.

Within this very podcast Langdon, voices his dismissal of the Me Too and Black Lives Matter Movements. He expresses that both have “gone too far” and are causing harm.

The podcast in which he has this discussion can be streamed via this link provided by the thread above:

Now, these opinions are highly disingenuous and false. They undermine actions against deeply rooted societal issues that are occurring as we speak. These can’t be brushed off as mere out of context quotes.

Langdon’s thoughts regarding these very real and ongoing issues…for a word is frustrating. In terms of visibility…rather damning. These subjects are constantly within public conversation and regularly the subject of news. In the same video, he expressed that the solution to both is that people need to “learn to forgive”.

Now, let’s remove Langdon’s fame and imagine that he was someone that you knew. If someone like himself (being a white male) expressed that Black Lives Matter went too far — how would you interpret that?

His assumption is that the call to awareness and accountability of police brutality has been hijacked and lost. You need only Google police brutality, this year and your city to know this is still a problem. Considering his privilege and status, it’s unlikely that he ever has to personally worry about the subject. Thus he doesn’t have the nuance and understanding of the Black (my) experience. This isn’t something that no one but Black people can gauge properly.

Regarding Me Too, the movement exist so we (men) can course correct our interactions and behaviors with women, femmes, and non-binary people. This includes consent, respecting/recognizing boundaries, and accountability. This is a societal issue that existed for a long time. What does it say about a man that feels this has done “too much”?

What does it say when his answer is that we should be move forgiving? The message isn’t a positive one. It subverts how these movements exist as reactions to overtly oppressive systems in place that shouldn’t exist. Forgiveness isn’t something that he can decide. The actions and decision of both movements belong solely to those affected only.

What is the larger message at hand? In a nutshell, he has some seriously flawed views on life that don’t affect his demographic. Views that do great a disservice to many individuals and undermines constant injustices.

As per his latest tweet, he was contacted by Newsweek regarding his insensitive statements mentioned above. As per his Facebook post, he’s willing to have a dialogue. It’s unknown if he will use this as an opportunity to absolve himself.

What’s Next? I Don’t Know?

In lieu of all of this, it’s unknown what concrete actions Capcom will take. As reported by Eurogamer, Capcom has responded with the following when reached for comment:

the company was looking into the situation, but stressed the views expressed by both Camen and Langdon are not shared by Capcom whatsoever.

We could hope that perhaps they offer a few public statements distancing themselves completely from the views of both individuals? Perhaps they can ensure that they will strive to avoid these issues in the future? Considering how serious the issues are regarding the actors, we can except something to be said. Hopefully that will be soon.

Note: It’s important to note that nowhere within this article has it been expressed that you shouldn’t buy or enjoy Devil May Cry V. All things considered, it’s a fun game, I can confirm as much playing through the game myself. The problem is what’s associated with the game. I leave whatever decisions and actions you’d like to take to you. This is a reminder that our entertainment can be associated with problematic elements.

The real irony is how this news came about as I had a brief private message with ResetEra member Skittles. He told me he was simply enjoying the game and became interested in the character Morrison being the only Black person.

He proceeded to search who the voice actor was, he was disappointed with the results, and then he created the thread with his findings. Then via that thread all these issues were brought to everyone’s attention one by one.

Here’s hoping Capcom can move forward and do better in the future. I believe that they can.

Written by

I bat for PoCs, marginalized, equality, inclusion & geekdom. I'm warming the bench until coach subs me in.

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