Dante's Inferno, published by Electronic Arts and developed by Visceral Games, is a third person action-adventure game. Dante Alighieri's first book The Inferno of the epic poem, The Divine Comedy, acts loosely as the basis of this story. The story was written by Will Rokos, who is best known for his work in the movie Monster's Ball. Justin Lambros was the head of production on this game and he was assisted by Zach Mumbach. The game will officially be released first in Australia on February 4th, 2010, followed by releases in the United Kingdom (February 5th), and the United States (February 9, 2010). Along with the release of this game, DC Comics Wildstorm imprint will also be releasing a serialized adaptation of the game in February 2010.
This game has been compared many times to the style of God of War. The game contains light and heavy attacks and the use of magic. The main weapon that Dante will be using throughout the game is a scythe. Dante obtains his scythe by stealing it from Death, in the opening sequence of the game. Throughout the game, Dante will be given many different magical powers. For example, before Beatrice dies, she gives Dante the Holy Cross. The Holy Cross is a magical ability that fires a burst of light that will destroy everything in its' path. Another feature that this game will include is something called Beast Taming. Beast taming involves Dante gaining the ability to ride huge beasts. Dante gains this ability by killing the huge demons who often ride these beasts. Once Dante tames a beast and is riding it, he will be given access to different abilities or attacks, including fire breathing or simply bashing their enemies. Another feature of the game is that Dante has the ability to condemn or absolve foes and damned shades. Each condemnation or absolution will result in the gaining of Holy or Unholy points. Holy and Unholy points allow for your attacks to be increased. Holy points increases the Holy Cross attack while Unholy points increases the power of Dante's scythe.
Dante's Inferno is very loosely based on the first part of Dante's Divine Comedy. The player controls Dante, a veteran of the Third Crusade, who chases his beloved Beatrice and attempts to free her soul from Lucifer, who needs to wed a heaven-bound soul to break free of Hell and make another attempt to take over the Throne of God. As his pursuit takes him through the monstrous entities within the nine Circles of Hell to save Beatrice, Dante must face his own sins, his family's past and his war crimes.
- Prologue - the City of Acre to the Gates of Hell
- Dante, the game's protagonist is shown stitching a bloody tapestry into his chest while stuck in a "dark forest" and screams in pain as the final stitch is finished. The tapestry immediately begins to show flashbacks of his life prior to the game's story. In the first flashback, Dante and his fellow knights are ordered by King Richard to capture the city of Acre and secure an artifact before Saladin can get his hands on it. During the raid on the Citadel of Acre, Dante is attacked by an assassin and left for dead. As he is about to die, Death appears to inform Dante that he is to suffer "eternal damnation for [his] sins" and that Dante's loved ones will also be punished. Horrified by the realization that the bishop has deceived him, Dante decides to redeem himself. In an act of defiance, he clashes with Death and takes his scythe as a war trophy after using it to slice its previous owner in half. He returns home to Florence with a determination to live his life in peace only to find that his lover, Beatrice Portinari, has been murdered. Beatrice appears to Dante as a spirit, telling him that she knew Dante would come for her. After this, Dante witnesses Lucifer drag her into Hell. Giving chase, Dante begins his journey to save Beatrice, cutting through an army of undead to make it into a church where he sees Beatrice being tortured as her words of him breaking his vow to her confuse him. Desperate for more assistance, Dante blesses a holy cross Beatrice gave to him when they first made their vow of being true to one another, and pursues her to the otherside. After meeting the spirit of Virgil, who knows of Dante's crimes and agrees to help him in his quest, Dante uses a demonic beast to open the Gates of Hell and begins his descent into Limbo.
- Boss: Death
- The First Circle of Hell - Limbo
- Dante begins his descent into Hell, fighting demons and tormented souls while riding on the back of Charon the ferry, who he later kills by forcing a demon to rip his head off. After confronting the unbaptized babies within his palace, Dante reaches the serpentine King Minos, the Judge of the Damned, whom he must defeat to continue his journey. He manages to kill Minos by placing his tongue on a torture device and spinning the wheel around to split his face in half.
- Condemned Host: Pontius Pilate
- Condemned Souls: Orpheus, Electra
- Boss: King Minos
- The Second Circle of Hell - Lust
- Reaching the second circle of Hell, Dante must journey to the top of the phallic Carnal Tower in the center of this circle's endless hurricane to find Beatrice, discovering that Lucifer is personally holding her soul, dressing her as his hellish bride and revealing to her that Dante broke his vow touching no other woman than her. Forsaken by the one he loves, Dante defeats Queen Cleopatra, before the tower begins to collapse from the ensuing battle.
- Condemned Host: Francesca da Polenta
- Condemned Souls: Paolo Malatesta, Semiramis
- Bosses: Cleopatra and Mark Antony
- The Third Circle of Hell - Gluttony
- Having defeated both Minos and Cleopatra, Dante slays the "great worm", Cerberus before traversing through the Third Circle, a great landscape made of living organs, storms of human waste and demons with insatiable appetites. Informed by Lucifer of how Beatrice and his father met their demise, Dante encounters the latter as he enters the next circle.
- Condemned Host: Ciacco
- Condemned Souls: Clodia
- Boss: Cerberus
- The Fourth Circle of Hell - Greed
- Dante enters the circle of Greed, which is mechanical in nature compared to the previous circles. Within the circle are occupants who are boiled alive in molten gold, condemned for being avaricious or prodigal with their riches. In this "factory of torture," Dante faces with the horrendous puzzle of the fallen god Plutus before facing his father Alighiero.
- Condemned Host: Gessius Florus
- Condemned Souls: Fulvia, Tarpeia
- Boss: Alighiero (Dante's Father)
- The Fifth Circle of Hell - Anger
- Dante descends into the fifth circle of Hell and confronts Phlegyas, a giant, flaming demon whom Dante unknowingly rides across the River Styx, a toxic marsh which eternally drowns the wrathful and the sullen. Escaping the behemoth's fury, Dante is forced to witness Beatrice giving herself to Lucifer before using Phlegyas to force his way into the City of Dis, guarded by the powerful Fallen Angels.
- Condemned Host: Filippo Argenti
- Condemned Souls: Boudica, Hecuba
- Boss: Phlegyas
- The Sixth Circle of Hell - Heresy
- Upon entrance into Hell's capital, the infernal City of Dis, Dante descends into the lair of the heretics, who are encased within flaming tombs and nailed to inverted burning crosses. The Dark Priests, necromancers and conjurers are free to worship the Fallen One and guard this circle, which quakes due to Christ's Death.
- Condemned Host: Farinata Uberti
- Condemned Souls: Frederick II, Cavalcante de' Cavalcanti
- The Seventh Circle of Hell - Violence
- Awaiting Dante in Hell's seventh circle are the three abominable domains in which the fearsome Archdemons watch over the violent damned according to their particular sin: the first two being Phlegethon, the endless river of boiling blood which torments those who are violent against others and The Wood of Suicides for those who are violent against themselves, where Dante encounters his mother to his horror. Within the Desert of Burning Sands for those violent against God, Dante encounters his former best friend and Beatrice's brother, Francesco, whose death during the Crusades was his doing. Now a horribly disfigured version of his former self, Francesco desires revenge against Dante for his state of being.
- Condemned Host: Pietro della Vigna
- Condemned Souls: Atilla, Brunetto Latini, Guido Guerra
Boss: Francesco Portinari (Beatrice's Brother)
- The Eighth Circle of Hell - Fraud
- Confronted by Beatrice, Dante travels through the ten arenas of the Malebolge, ten ditches in which those who used deception and lies to their own gain are punished in different ways in accordance to their crimes. Dante fights his way through the relentless creatures of Hell in the arenas before Beatice confronts him after passing the Malebolge of Falsifers.
- Condemned Host: Thais
- Condemned Souls: Tiresias, Myrrha
- The Ninth Circle of Hell - Treachery
- Having journeyed through all of Hell, having confronted his past and atoned himself to Beatrice, Dante must now traverse the frozen wasteland of Cocytus to face Lucifer. After fighting his giant, three-headed form, Lucifer reveals his true self and that his plan all along was to have Dante free him. Dante almost slays the fallen angel until he learns that he actually died from his assassination and, with the scythe lost in the fight, cannot leave Hell. But Dante is able to stop Lucifer from escaping Hell, and with the aid of those he absolved, he seals Lucifer in his prison once more, before he escapes to Purgatorio (the second part of the Divine Comedy). Dante solemnly observes that "I did not die, and I did not live." Dante rips off his tapestry as he sets out towards the next step of his pilgrimage, Mount Purgatory. The discarded tapestry disintegrates into a serpent, and Lucifer's laugh is heard.
- Condemned Host: Fra Alberigo
- Condemned Souls: Mordred, Count Ugolino
- Boss: Lucifer
Prior to Inferno's release, in June 2009, a protest began during E3 2009 in San Diego to oppose the game. Around 20 protesters, claiming to be from a church in Ventura County, held up signs that called the game sacrilegious and labeled it possibly insensitive to people's beliefs. Protesters even went as far as calling EA the anti-christ. This led to many people accusing EA of creating this as a marketing hoax to promote the game. A few days later, it was officially confirmed by EA spokesperson Tammy Scachter that they had hired people to protest the game and that there was no actual protest.
Later, in October 2009, it was announced that the game would include an Xbox 360 achievement and a PlayStation 3 trophy entitled "Bad Nanny", which rewards players for killing unbaptized infants. This sparked a conflict with the International Nanny Association (INA), in which they encouraged supporters to oppose the game. The INA claimed that the achievement is offensive to real nannies and that it also promotes real-life violence. In retaliation, the INA asked the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) to omit the reward and elements of infant violence. The ESRB insisted that its role was merely to label products appropriately, not to censor them, so their request could not be met. Despite this, the INA still attempts boycotting the game with hope of a change before it was released, ultimately ending with failure.
The Divine Edition of Dante's Inferno, released for the PlayStation 3, comes with Custom Divine Edition packaging, along with the actual game. It includes a making-of documentary, a documentary of Dante in history, a Wayne Barlow digital art book, the game's full soundtrack, a documentary on the creation of the music and audio, the Dark Forest premium downloadable content pack (available March), and a digital copy of the complete Longfellow translation of Dante Alighieri's "Inferno." This edition costs the same as the standard edition. This edition is both released in Canada and the U.S.A.
Australia and Europe will exclusively receive the Death Edition of Dante's Inferno. It contains a player costume of Isaac Clarke from Dead Space, a making-of documentary, the documentary "Dante in History", the full soundtrack, documentary on the creation of the music and audio, a digital artbook edited by visual designer Wayne Barlowe, over 10 minutes of scenes from Dante's Inferno: An Animated Epic, and digital reprint of the complete poem in English. It will be available for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. In Australia, the Death Edition is sold at EB Games for an extra AUD$20. In the UK the Death Edition is a GAME exclusive and retails for £10.00 more than the standard.
The game has received average to generally favorable reviews. It has been criticized for its close similarity to the God of War series; however, it has been praised for its unique setting, art, and level design. GamesRadar gave the game a 7/10, citing repetitive gameplay as a detrimental aspect of the game, dismissing it as a "competent God of War clone".
IGN gave it a score of 7.5, praising the art style while criticizing the derivative gameplay.
Destructoid gave Dante's Inferno a 9.0, noting that it "borrows heavily from predecessors" but concluding that "it's one that fans of action shouldn't miss". Game Daily awarded the game 8/10.
GameSpot gave it 6.5 out of 10 and said "Dante's epic quest loses momentum long before you reach the end."
The game currently has a Metacritic average score of 74 and 76 for the 360 and PS3 version respectively. Cheat Code Central has given it a 92 saying "It's about eight to ten hours of pure, fast-paced action no one should look down on". Computer and Video Games has, despite citing it as a heavy copycat, given Dante's Inferno a 90 saying "A copycat, yes, but when it's this thrilling, brutal, and frankly, awesome, we don't care".
GamePro reviewed it with a score of 80, criticizing its heavy borrowing of elements from other games and not creating a unique enough feel, while greatly praising the level architecture and combat.