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Devil May Cry (aka DmC) is a legendary action title that started as a spinoff to the Resident Evil series. It quickly turned into its own beast and wound up becoming one of the best action games ever made.
There have been many DmC games over the years, and it has also been adapted into other types of media such as manga.
I found this shared timeline in the crossmedia universe extremely difficult to follow – not at least because of the seemingly random numbering of the game series.
So I decided to do some research and create a chronological story timeline for the Devil May Cry shared universe.
Below, I’ve compiled a lot of information about the Devil May Cry timeline. Hopefully, with this you’ll get a better understanding of where the story begins and what order the games take place in.
Also, you’ll learn where the manga fits into the equation. Whether you’re still new to DmC or if you just need a refresher, you’ll enjoy looking into the timeline of this great game series.
Before moving forward, it’s important to note that the nature of this subject requires spoiler discussion. If you have yet to play some of the Devil May Cry games, then you might want to do that first.
Likewise, if you’ve never read certain manga adaptations, then you might not want to read those sections. The information below will discuss a bit of what happened, and that could spoil things for you.
Note: Spoilers ahead!
Bonus! At the end of this article you’ll find a free infographic you can download or share if you like.
1. The Devil May Cry 3 Manga
Chronologically, the series starts with the Devil May Cry 3 manga. The earliest depicted events of the series are showcased in this manga. Everything starts with Dante getting missions from Enzo. The mission that Dante receives is to a girl by the name of Alice.
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Dante tracks the girl down and discovers that she is possessed by a demon. Later, this demon is revealed to be Arkham.
Arkham is working alongside Dante’s brother Vergil in an effort to unlock the seals of Temi-Ni-Gru. Dante and Vergil have a confrontation, but Vergil is ultimately able to leave with Arkham after revealing bits of his plan.
This manga is divided into three parts that are called “codes.” Each code is focused on a different character. Code one focuses on Dante, code two focuses on Vergil, and code three focuses on Lady. There are two volumes of the manga and it originally came out in 2005.
2. Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening
Next, the events of Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening take place. This is considered by many to be one of the best action games ever made. It was incredibly popular, and it also received many critical awards. It was originally a Playstation 2 game that was released on February 17, 2005.
The popularity of this game led to it being released on other platforms. It was released on Windows PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
It’s also worth noting that a special edition of the game was released on PS2 in 2006. This version of the game offered some gameplay changes as well as additional content. As you’d likely expect, the special edition is the version of the game that was released on modern consoles and PC.
Today, it’s easy to get this game at a low price. You can find physical copies of the game or you can download HD versions of the game digitally from various online storefronts. The story of the game starts at Dante’s office that hasn’t even received its name yet.
Dante is confronted by Arkham with an invitation from his brother Vergil. A large tower comes out of the ground not too far from where Dante’s shop is located. Dante must go to the tower to confront Vergil to get to the bottom of the situation. Along the way, Dante encounters his brother and starts to battle him.
The initial battle doesn’t go so well for Dante, but he makes his way through the tower. You meet Lady along the way, and both are working their way through the tower for different reasons.
Eventually, Dante catches up with Vergil and battles him. It’s discovered that Arkham was trying to trick everyone to reactivate the tower so that he could steal a sword that belonged to Dante and Vergil’s demonic father known as the Force Edge.
Vergil and Dante are forced to work together to bring Arkham down. They’re able to do so, and then they decide to battle each other once more. Dante gained power during the events of the game and managed to defeat Vergil. With his victory, Dante returns to the human world and meets up with Lady outside the tower.
Lady winds up uttering the phrase “Devil May Cry” when attempting to comfort Dante over the events with Vergil. They wind up becoming friends and even form a partnership. Dante’s shop is now named “Devil May Cry.” As far as the games go, this is the first one in the timeline.
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3. Devil May Cry
Next, you have Devil May Cry taking its place in the timeline. This was the game that introduced Dante to the world, but it comes after Devil May Cry 3 canonically.
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It came out on the Playstation 2 on August 23, 2001. As with Devil May Cry 3, this game was also ported to modern consoles such as PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC.
The game begins when Trish attacks Dante in his office. Dante is able to mostly shrug off her attack, but she informs him that the demon emperor known as Mundus is making a return.
This begins an adventure where Dante needs to explore Mallet Island and confront various demons. As Dante journeys forth, he continues to defeat Mundus’s demonic generals.
Along the way, Dante is made to battle a foe known as Nelo Angelo. Dante defeats this foe a few times before it is revealed that Nelo Angelo is in fact Dante’s brother Vergil.
After defeating Vergil, Dante must enter the underworld to go after Mundus. In the underworld, Trish winds up having to sacrifice herself to save Dante.
This causes Dante to stir with powerful emotions. It releases the power of Sparda and Dante begins to battle Mundus on a separate plane of existence.
During the battle, Trish is revealed to have survived when she returns to aid Dante. With the help of Trish, Dante is finally able to defeat Mundus and bring an end to the conflict.
The island collapses, but Trish and Dante manage to get out in time. They go back to the shop and wind up deciding to work together.
Dante decides to rename the shop “Devil Never Cry.” Apparently, that name didn’t work out too well since it would later be changed back to Devil May Cry.
4. Devil May Cry: The Animated Series
At this point, the Devil May Cry animated series fits into the timeline. This anime ran for twelve episodes and premiered in 2007. It follows the events of the original Devil May Cry game and shows Dante running his devil hunter business.
On the show, Dante is shown to struggle with financial issues as he tries to make ends meet.
For the most part, this anime can be seen as a self-contained series. You don’t necessarily have to play the games to enjoy this animated show.
However, you’ll likely appreciate the show more if you’re familiar with Devil May Cry from the video games. It isn’t necessary to watch this anime before moving on to play Devil May Cry 2.
Regardless, it’s still part of the overall Devil May Cry timeline. If you’re someone who wishes to experience everything that the DMC series has to offer, then you’ll want to watch this show.
Since it’s only twelve episodes long, it won’t take too long to get through. Every episode does its own thing except for episodes eleven and twelve.
The final episodes of the animated series are connected and answer some questions that were posed in the very first episode of the series. Classic characters from the game appear in the show such as Lady and Trish.
There are also new characters that were introduced in the anime such as Patty Lowell and J.D. Morrison.
5. Devil May Cry 2
Devil May Cry 2 is the sequel to the action game that took the world by storm on the PS2. This game was also released on the Playstation 2, and it came out on January 25, 2003.
It’s another action game in the same style as the first Devil May Cry, but it has been simplified in many ways. Sadly, DmC 2 is thought of as a much lesser experience than the game that came before it.
It received mostly mixed reviews with many people citing the lack of difficulty as a reason for the low score. The original DMC game was a much stiffer challenge than the sequel.
Capcom would rectify that for the next game in the series, but that doesn’t mean that DmC 2 is completely unenjoyable. It’s also worth noting that DmC 2 sold well over a million copies and was still a success despite not being a critical darling.
This game is also notable for introducing a new character. DmC 2 came with a second disc that allowed you to play through all of the missions with Lucia. There’s no difference between her missions and the ones that Dante goes on, though. The fan response to this move was mixed.
The story of DmC 2 involves Dante entering a museum that houses an artifact known as the Medaglia. While there, Lucia invites Dante to visit the island of Vie de Marli.
Once on the island, Dante is asked by Lucia’s mother Matier to fight Arius. Arius is a businessman who possesses demonic power.
Dante agrees to help and Lucia winds up confronting this demonic businessman. She reveals that she was created by Arius. Arius winds up opening a portal to the demon world where a demonic entity known as Argosax is located. Dante enters the portal to deal with this demonic threat.
As Dante deals with Argosax, Arius returns from the portal. Lucia has to deal with him. Dante is successful in dealing with Argosax who was only partially summoned.
At the end, Dante decides to drive even further into the demon realm using a motorcycle. Later, you see Lucia in Dante’s shop talking about Dante, and you hear the sound of a motorcycle without knowing whether Dante has actually returned.
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6. Devil May Cry 4
Devil May Cry 4 is the first DMC game made in the HD era of gaming. It was released on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 on January 31, 2008. It has a reputation for being a very difficult game. This is especially true for players who are trying to complete the game 100%.
In this game, Lady tasks Dante with investigating the Order of the Sword. This is a cult that worships Sparda and is attempting to collect Devil Arms. Dante doesn’t want to do it, but Trish decides to investigate things herself and takes the Sparda sword along with her.
Later on in the story, you see a new character named Nero witnessing Dante assassinating the leader of the Order.
Nero attacks Dante, which causes his Devil Bringer arm to finally awaken. Dante brushes off Nero since he is much more powerful than him. Despite this, Nero continues to pursue Dante.
During his pursuit, he discovers that the Order is actually opening the gates to the demon world to try to gain control of demonic power.
Nero battles his way through and eventually discovers the broken Yamato sword. This is the sword that once belonged to Dante’s brother Vergil. He manages to restore it after it had been broken into pieces. Nero must then continue forward to see what the Order is doing.
It turns out that the Order is up to no good. The leader of the Order is resurrected using demonic power, and they wind up capturing Nero’s girlfriend to try to capture him.
Nero attempts to fight back, but he winds up being captured and used to form the core of a giant demon known as The Savior.
Dante manages to destroy the demonic gates that have been formed by the Order. He fights against The Savior, but he can’t destroy it from the outside.
It falls to Nero to fight from inside The Savior and save the day. Nero kills the leader of the Order, rescues his girlfriend, and finally destroys The Savior.
7. Devil May Cry 5: Before the Nightmare
Before reaching the final game in the series, there is a light novel to read. This is a prequel novel that takes place just before DmC 5.
It is written from the perspective of various characters such as Nero, Dante, Lady, Trish, Lucia, Nico, V, and Morrison. There are lots of references to previous games in the series.
You’ll learn about things such as how Nico met Nero. It provides you with context to some of the events of DmC 5.
Without the novel, you’ll never know how certain things came to be. It’d be hard to say that this is a completely necessary thing to read before playing the game, but it could add to the experience if you’re a big fan of DmC.
8. Devil May Cry 5
Finally, the latest game in the Devil May Cry series is the last part of the timeline.
There could very well be future DMC games that will add to the timeline, but this is the furthest into the future that the timeline goes for now.
Devil May Cry 5 was released on the PS4 and Xbox One on March 8, 2019. It was later released in an upgraded state on the Playstation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and Windows PC.
Devil May Cry 5 takes place a couple of years after the events of DmC 4. Nero now has his own Devil May Cry shop branch that he is running. He works out of a tricked-out van that is driven by Nico. Nico is a handy woman who can upgrade your weapons and make things for you.
The events of the game start out when some unknown enemy rips Nero’s Devil Bringer arm right off. Nico winds up building Nero a replacement arm that is known as the Devil Breaker. At this same time, Morrison brings Dante a new client named V. V wishes to hire Dante to stop an upcoming demonic resurrection.
Dante takes the job and sets out with Lady and Trish to handle everything. The stories of Dante, V, and Nero wind up converging toward the end of the journey.
Since this is the latest game in the series, it’s the one that you’ve likely had the least time to play. There are big reveals in this game that you should really experience for yourself.
The gameplay of Devil May Cry 5 is truly fantastic. In the eyes of some action game fans, DmC 5 has surpassed DmC 3 as the best game in the series.
You should play it for yourself to see just how you feel about it. Time will tell whether Capcom will outdo themselves with the next DmC game when and if a new game is released.
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Upcoming Devil May Cry titles
Netflix has announced a new Devil May Cry series existing of eight episodes for the first season. A season 2 has already also been confirmed.
The series is said to include the characters Vergil and Lady and should go into production in 2022.
Nothing has been revealed about the story yet though, so I haven’t been able to place it in the timeline yet.
I’ll update this article, as soon as I know more.
Is DmC: Devil May Cry from 2013 canon?
In 2013, a weird off-spring – or reboot – of the series called DmC: Devil May Cry was released.
I think the idea was to create an experience more tailored to a Western audience. However, the game mainly flopped, because gamers in the Western world had already adopted and come to love the cool style of the East.
Fans of the series have long argued whether or not DmC: Devil May Cry was canon. The answer is it isn’t! It’s a reboot and it takes place in a parallel universe.
In the video above, Tameem Antoniades, who wrote the game’s story clearly states that DmC is a reboot of the series and the game doesn’t fit in chronologically with the rest of the series.
I hope this should help clear things up.
Infographic: Devil May Cry Timeline Story Canon
Finally, here’s an infographic to give you a quick overview of the Devil May Cry timeline. Feel free to share it or download it.