Devil May Cry 5 - Interview with Karlo Baker, Nero's face model

During the last edition of the Cartoomics, We at Resources4Gaming we had a chance to chat with Karlo Baker, the talented model who lent his face for the realization of Nero, one of the protagonists of Devil May Cry 5. In fact, Capcom's excellent work did not only touch the gameplay, but also the graphics, which for the first time in the brand also made use of real actors. Here's what he told us!

The interview

GL: Hi Karlo! I'm Mara Vignati from Resources4Gaming, and I'd like to ask you a few questions about your role as a model for the face of Black in Devil May Cry 5. First of all, I'd like to know: was this your first experience for a similar role, i.e. as a model for a video game?

Karlo Baker: Hello! Yes, I've actually had other face recognition experiences before, but never for a video game. It happened to me for commercials, where my face served as the basis for animations, but it was pretty simple. I have never had such technical experiences before, where animations were then completely integrated into a video game. It was a new experience, very different and complex, but also interesting.

GL: How did you prepare for the role? Did you have to study a part or did you prefer to improvise?

Karlo Baker: Well, it actually was a little practice. Before proceeding with motion capture I had to rehearse for three days, both in terms of facial expressions and in terms of body movements.

GL: Are you a video game enthusiast? Did you know the Devil May Cry saga before you got this role?

Karlo Baker: Yes, I used to play video games in the past. When I was younger, up to about 17, I played a lot of video games. But then I started working and traveling a lot, and that's why I switched to MacBooks, not very suitable for video games, so in the end I had to stop. Occasionally I play games with my friends on PlayStation or Xbox, titles like Halo, but with Devil May Cry I stopped at the second chapter. I loved it, really. Then I didn't play anything related to this series anymore.

GL: So was it an honor for you?

Karlo Baker: Yes, that's right, and if it were to happen again, I would certainly do it again!

GL: Charisma and courage are two of the most iconic characteristics of Black. Do you somehow feel charismatic and courageous too? Temperamentally speaking.

Karlo Baker: Well, honestly I think it's quite a cliché, I'm not such a bold guy. But in a way when I see Nero appear in the video game, his way of speaking and acting is so similar to mine which I believe that during the motion capture session they initially didn't limit themselves to the face, but also took over my personality. So maybe yes, Black can be seen as a part of me. The fact that he is bold enough, that he takes risks, that he is always full of things to do, that he is always busy traveling. In a way, when I see him in the game, it kind of gives me the impression that I see myself in him again.

GL: You weren't the only one to lend your face to the characters in Devil May Cry 5. What can you tell me about the team? Have you worked together? Maybe a friendship was born between the members of the group?

Karlo Baker: In reality, the situation was rather peculiar. For example, me, V and Dante are the main characters, but we worked alone, separately. We didn't get to enjoy the experience together. The thing is, mine is a very important part, so I had to shoot a lot of scenes, and it wasn't feasible to shoot them together at the same time. I therefore concentrated on only one scene per session. And then also the rehearsals, the shooting, the movements… in short, it was more comfortable to do everything separately. So we basically never met. We exchanged contacts, and every now and then we talk. Then V lives in London, Downtown, like me, so we met live, but we didn't have a great relationship, not as much as I would have liked to do, at least.

GL: This is really a shame ...

Karlo Baker: Yes, really a shame. I hope that in the future we will be able to forge better relations.

GL: Don't you think it's more difficult to play a character without having the other two protagonists next to you?

Karlo Baker: Yes, that's a shame, I know. They thought more about the video game characters than the relationships between us, but I am confident in the future. Then Capcom in making Devil May Cry 5 wanted to differ a lot from the chapters previous, using real actors, so it was a real step forward, and in fact the new game is very different from the old ones.

GL: It was something new for them too, so they can get better in the future!

Karlo Baker: Of course, for them too it was a way to see what worked and what didn't!

GL: I'd like to ask you one last question. What are your plans for the future? What do you expect from next year?

Karlo Baker: Well, this experiment went very well, so I think they are interested in doing more in the future, but I can't say more at the moment because it's confidential information but if there is something, we will probably know more next year.

GL: So do you think you will have the opportunity to have another similar experience?

Karlo Baker: Yes, yes, more such occasions are on the way. The fact that they didn't just take the facial expressions but also the personality is a new thing and I think it went very well and they are quite eager to do more. We will see, but I think there will be more.

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