Nero (Devil May Cry)

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Devil May Cry character
Nero as he appears in Devil May Cry 5
First gameDevil May Cry 4 (2008)
Created byBingo Morihashi
Designed byTatsuya Yoshikawa
Voiced by
Motion captureJohnny Yong Bosch (Devil May Cry 4)
Karlo Baker (Devil May Cry 5)

Nero (Japanese: ネロ) is a fictional character and one of the main protagonists of the Devil May Cry video game series, which was created and published by Capcom. He first appeared in Devil May Cry 4 in 2008. Nero is a teenager working for the Order of the Sword; he uses his devil powers inherited from Sparda to hunt enemies. In Devil May Cry 4, Nero meets a demon hunter named Dante, the series' primary protagonist, to whom he learns he is related. Nero will return as one of the primary protagonists in the upcoming sequel, Devil May Cry 5.[1]

Nero was created by Bingo Morihashi and designed by Tatsuya Yoshikawa, who wanted to make the character fit into the world while contrasting him with Dante. The character was redesigned for Devil May Cry 5 to establish his relationship with Dante's father Sparda and Dante's brother Vergil based on their multiple physical similarities. Nero is voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch in English and Kaito Ishikawa in Japanese.

Critical reception to Nero has been mostly positive. While game journalists found that fans would miss playing as Dante during Nero's debut, his personality and abilities would be found as appealing. His new look and actions in the upcoming Devil May Cry 5 have also been praised by critics.

Creation and concept[edit]

Nero was created by the Capcom staff as a new protagonist who would develop across the Devil May Cry series because Dante had become stronger with each game. Nero was created as a weak character who develops new powers in the story until he reaches Dante's level. This was mostly done through his "Devil Bringer" ability, which makes him stand out. Another reason for Nero's introduction was to attract new gamers to the franchise.[2] The Devil Bringer was originally suited to be part of Dante's mechanics, but the staff found the games would be more interesting if a character who cannot transform into a demon would develop a demon arm. In the making of the game, Capcom wished to keep Nero's traits, except that Kyrie is his love interest, under wraps.[3] Bingo Morihashi was inspired to write Nero's story by the writings of late manga artist Ramo Nakajima in the series Amagasaki City; "I love you, so I protect the city you love". Love is the focus of the Devil May Cry series; Devil May Cry 4 focuses on Nero's love for Kyrie. While making Devil May Cry 4 a simple story similar to Hollywood movies involving a damsel in distress, the staff were satisfied with the story because it also carried Morihashi's ideas well.[4]

Fearing negative feedback, as happened when Konami's stealth game Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty introduced a new character, replacing protagonist Solid Snake with newcomer Raiden, producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi stated Capcom aimed to make Nero fun to play, even when compared to Dante; they said the team aimed to make him stronger at some point.[5] Kobayashi described Nero as "characteristically wild, quite immature, young, and very passionate. At the same time he is kind of a rebel."[6]

Capcom originally planned to name their new character after the French sculptor Auguste Rodin, who created The Gates of Hell from Dante's Inferno. This work is referenced in Devil May Cry 4; it causes demons to spawn within the human world. The Capcom team, however, later wanted a simpler name similar to the ones from Dante and Vergil. Writer Morihashi Bingo persuaded the staff to use the name Nero from the Roman emperor with the same name; he said the similarities between Nero and the name of Vergil's alter-ego Nero Angelo were coincidental and there is no connection between these two characters. Most of Nero's moves were named after casino terms, which Morihashi believed would fit with the character's personality.[7]


Nero's Devil May Cry 4 appearance was given an ambiguous look that looked like both Dante and Vergil.

Nero was designed by Tatsuya Yoshikawa who did research for the entire Devil May Cry series when designing the new main character. Yoshikawa was satisfied with Nero's appearance and he believes he fits the Devil May Cry world.[8] Nero's physical appearance underwent several changes during the development of Devil May Cry 4; early designs looked more like Vergil until the final design that resembled Dante.[9] Capcom wanted to balance the traits between Nero and Dante, the game's two playable characters. While Nero was created to be weak due to his young age, Dante comes across as a more experienced person based on his previous works. Existing fans would be pleased by Dante's characterization and would stop playing as Nero.[10] Capcom had planned ideas for another Devil May Cry game, in which Nero would return and possibly team up with Dante. The company, however, first expected to see the fan response to Devil May Cry 4.[11]

Yoshikawa also created another devil transformation, the Devil Trigger, for Nero. Unlike Dante's transformation that makes him look like a devil, Nero's Devil Trigger generates a creature situated behind his back. The one that did not appear in the game turned Nero into a demon like Dante. Nero's hood covers one eye as a form of symbolism, which was left up to the fans. Yoshikawa wanted to incorporate this into the game and hoped to make it into a figurine, but this was not possible.[12]

Nero's redesign for Devil May Cry 5 was intended to contrast with Dante's older look.[13] Capcom used an older incarnation of Nero so he would be "at the top of his game in body and mind".[14] Because the graphics of the game are meant to be as realistic as possible, Nero's face was modeled after an actor named Karlo Baker.[15] Fans of the series speculated whether Nero was related to Dante or Vergil, as in Devil May Cry 4. Nero is said to be a descendant of Sparda, Dante's and Vergil's father, based on their similarities and Nero's power up, the Devil Trigger, which makes him look like Vergil's devil form. In June 2018, Capcom confirmed Nero is Vergil's son.[16] Replacing his lost Devil Bringer, Capcom added Nero's prosthetic arm Devil Breaker, which will be important for the use of the character in combat.[17]

Players who purchase the Deluxe Edition of Devil May Cry will receive four Devil Breaker weapons for Nero, including a Mega Buster based on Mega Man 11.[18]

Voice actors[edit]

Johnny Yong Bosch voices Nero.

Nero was voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch; while having played many characters—he enjoyed playing Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach and Vash the Stampede from Trigun—Bosch felt Nero became his favorite. The actor stated that Nero was one of his favorite characters he has ever worked because of his story and because he went to Japan to do the motion capture for Nero.[19]

In the Japanese version of Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition, an updated version of the original Devil May Cry 4, Nero was given a Japanese actor; Kaito Ishikawa.[20] When dubbing the character, Ishikawa tried following Bosch's work so he could understand Nero's personality but he found this difficult because he did not know English. While Ishikawa had no previous experience with the series before working in Special Edition, his friends gave him a positive outlook at it. During the recording of the series, Ishikawa met Dante's Japanese voice actor, Toshiyuki Morikawa, with whom he interacted many times and helped him to understand the franchise. As he worked, Ishikawa gained a greater understanding of the game because it was translated in Japanese, which might attract more fans and was grateful for the experience.[21]

Ishikawa said Nero is a character who encompasses the "naughty young boy" that everyone has experienced being. He noted Nero's interactions with the enemies show a big contrast between his and Dante's characterization. Of the two main characters, Ishikawa said he believed Nero is taking his own path rather than following Dante's steps; he enjoyed the relationship between the two characters, which he took into account when recording the game. He decided to "cheer" on Nero for trying to act stylishly when facing his enemies, unlike Dante, whom he took notes from seeing Morikawa's work.[22]


In the fourth installment of the Devil May Cry series, having never knew his father, Nero's nature as Vergil's son begins to manifest when he injured himself protecting his childhood friend Kyrie from a pack of demons.[23] Later while attending a mass at the Order of the Sword, Nero's injured arm mutated into the Devil Bringer as the result of seeing Kyrie endangered when Dante appeared and killed their religious leader Santus and what he learned were demons dressed as Order acolytes. As he made a reputation as a lone wolf, Nero is given a mission to find and capture Dante.[24] During his journey, Nero learns that the influx of demons on the island were arranged by Sanctus and learns of his resurrect as a demon by the Order's scientist Agnus, who developed demons from reverse engineering the remains of Nelo Angelo and Vergil's Devil Arms sword Yamato (閻魔刀). Nero escaped death as Yamato sensed its master blood in Nero, fully awakening his powers while revealing him as a descendant of Sparda.

This revelation convinces Sanctus into using Kyrie as bait to force Nero into assuming the role he intended Dante in animating the Savior colossus he created to wipe out all the demons and create a new utopia after destroying the world. But Dante sabotages Sanctus's plans and frees Nero so he can save Kyrie and destroy both Sanctus and the Savior.[25] Despite the two being ignorant of their familial ties, Nero and Dante part on good terms with the latter allowing Nero to keep Yamato.[26]

A Devil May Cry 4 novel by Bingo Morihashi expands Nero's background; he was found as a baby in Fortuna and was bullied by other children who claimed his mother was a prostitute. Nero was taken by Credo and Kyrie's family, and later joined the Order of the Sword to defeat demons, though Nero often worked alone. During the main story, Dante states he has fun interacting with Nero because Nero reminds him of his brother Vergil but cannot understand their connection.[27][7] In June 2018, Capcom confirmed Nero's father is Vergil.[16]

Nero will be one of the main protagonists of the upcoming game Devil May Cry 5; he is depicted as being older than in the previous game and having lost his demonic arm, he wears a prosthetic arm to fight. Nero is shown to be a member of the mobile branch of Dante's "Devil May Cry" business and is working alongside a woman named Nico.[28]

Nero was also planned to appear in the fighting game Tatsunoko vs. Capcom but he was not available due to time constraints.[29] He is mentioned in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 by Deadpool while interacting with Dante.[30] In the fighting game Street Fighter V, Nero's original appearance serves an alternate design for Ed.[31]


Nero has received many reviews from video game critics. Since his introduction in a demo, GameSpot felt the character would appeal to the series' fans, although Dante was more popular within the fandom.[32] Dante's replacement with Nero as the new main character was the subject of controversy within the fandom; GameAxis Unwired expected he would play similarly to Dante and that his Devil Bringer power would satisfy newcomers.[33] Nero's gameplay style was praised by IGN, which said he "strike[s] the right tone of gravity and sarcasm".[34] Capsule Monster labeled Nero as "our anti-hero with a heart" and enjoyed the character's mechanics as much as Dante's.[35] Despite finding Nero a likable character due to his personality, GameSpot said players would also be pleased with the switch between Nero and Dante as Devil May Cry 4 progresses. Den of Geek noted that while his debut might have surprised fans of Dante, his similar appearance and distinctive style might appeal to them.[36] GameSpy described his combat by saying, "He has a fuel injector built in, so that he can 'rev' up his blade for charged attacks".[37]

US Gamer noted that despite Nero being one of the easiest characters from Special Edition to use, his combat still provides depth and that defeating the bosses was far more challenging using Nero than using Dante.[38] While noting similarities between Nero and Dante, Metro said the former's other skills make him unique due to his swordsmanship and Devil Bringer.[39] IGN also listed the Devil Bringer as the ninth-best weapon in the Devil May Cry series because Nero can attack any kind of enemy with his arm.[40] Dual Shockers enjoyed Nero's combat, which it said added new depth to the series because it is different from Dante's. The website, however, dismissed Nero's story, finding it unappealing.[41]

Capcom said it would not make a bad protagonist similar to that of Metal Gear Solid 2.[5] GameZone found Nero likable based on his actions in the plot and his powers.[42] Game Informer agreed with GameZone, stating that Nero is as likable as Dante because he "lives up to his legacy".[43] Edge was more critical about his introduction because he replaced Dante while comparing him to God of War protagonist Kratos based on personality traits that make him unlikable. Despite finding Nero's improvements in abilities less enjoyable, Edge still found that players will still find Dante more appealing in the progress of the story.[44] In the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, the author said the change to Nero from Dante was an attempt to please new gamers to the franchise because Nero performs simpler moves than Dante, who the writer said many players might have found boring due to the number of moves and apparent decrease of sales in the series. The book describes Nero as a "a dead ringer" with moves similar to those of Kratos.[45] Bosch's voice acting in the English-language version was also praised by GameZone for the way he portrays Nero,[42] with GameSpot agreeing, calling Bosch's work "superb acting makes for one of the most appealing new game characters to be introduced in some time".[46]

Reaction to Nero's upcoming role in Devil May Cry 5 has been mostly positive. GamesRadar found Nero's actions in the Devil May Cry 5 trailer appealing due to the way his character engages demons.[47] While joking about Nero's new look, Metro enjoyed his actions in the trailer.[48] IGN criticized Nero's appearance in Devil May Cry 5, comparing it to the redesigned version of Dante by Ninja Theory as a desperate, failed attempt to appeal to gamers during the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2018.[49] Machitery Okabe from Capcom, however, stated the response from gamers to Nero's new appearance was positive.[50] Despite a confusing scene in the trailer in which it appears Vergil cuts Nero's arm, Kotaku was looking forward for the return of the three main characters—Dante, Vergil and Nero—in the game based on the preview.[51] Another Kokatu writer praised Nero's new costume and his metallic arm.[52] Daily Star found the character likable based on his personality which reminded him of the comic superhero Spider-Man.[53]


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  25. ^ Capcom. Devil May Cry 4. Capcom. Sanctus: We had originally intended Dante to form the Savior's core. Perhaps it would have been wise to adhere to that choice. /Nero: Too late for regrets. Now release Kyrie!
  26. ^ Capcom. Devil May Cry 4. Capcom. Dante: Keep it. / Nero: What...? I thought this meant a lot to you...? / Dante: That's the only kind of gift worth giving. I want to entrust it to you, and so I am. What you do from here is your call.
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  29. ^ "These Characters Didn't Make The Tatsunoko vs. Capcom Cut". Siliconera. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  30. ^ Capcom. Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. Capcom. Deadpool: Next time, maybe you should let Nero do your fightin', skippy.
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  48. ^ "From Software shows off new samurai game Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice". Metro. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
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Further reading[edit]