Devil Hunters are mercenaries who specialize in hunting demons. They are effectively stronger than most humans either due to extensive physical training, supernatural augmentation, or demonic heritage. They are contracted to do a job and receive payment upon the completion of said job. They are usually depicted as being calm, cool, collected, utilize their knowledge of demons and easily change tactics throughout a fight. Payment varies depending on the contractor and the extremity of the job.
Little is known about the requirements to become a Devil Hunter, but it is implied that there are no formal schools or programs available to train potential hunters. However, there are some groups dedicated to exterminating demons and training loyal Devil Hunters, like the Order of the Sword.
Since Dante is the main protagonist of the series, much of what is known about Devil Hunters is revealed through him. Typically he obtains work through an agent, such as Morrison or Enzo Ferino, who scout potential jobs and checks on the authenticity of clients. Dante will accept jobs from people who walk into his office or call his office phone, but only if the client knows a password - which is never revealed to players - or has a particularly compelling story. Even though Dante is seemingly selective about the jobs he takes, he is also very much in debt, and has on multiple occasions accepted a job to repay a favor extended to him.
In Devil May Cry: The Animated Series, it is revealed that Lady runs her own freelance Devil Hunting business, and she is contracted by the official organization in charge of policing highways to deal with a demon. She requests Dante's help because she realizes it's too big for her to handle alone.
After accepting a job, Devil Hunters must then actually carry out the task. Usually a job is as simple as killing a specific demon, but if the cause of the demonic activity is unknown, Devil Hunters are required to do some investigative work first.
Some jobs require Devil Hunters to function more as body guards than hunters. In these instances, a job consists of protecting someone or something from demons, and the actual number of demons killed has no affect on the reward. Dante is hired as a bodyguard twice in the anime: First to safely deliver Patty Lowell to a mansion where she will supposedly receive a large inheritance, and again to protect a group of treasure hunters as they scavenge the "haunted" home of a former rock musician.
Typically, payment for a job is not made until after services are rendered and only upon completion of a job to the satisfaction of the client. However, it is not unheard of for a Devil Hunter to request a portion of the total reward to be payed beforehand, though this arrangement is usually reserved for very difficult cases. Agents who work for Dante are entitled to a portion of the reward money if Dante chooses to accept the job they find.
Devil Hunters are not above the law, however, and must usually make reparations for any damage they cause while pursuing a target. For example, even though Lady splits the reward from the highway job with Dante, Dante actually ends up owing money to the highway department for property damage he caused while battling the demon.
Devil Hunting is not an exclusive business, and hunters often have to compete with others for jobs and clients. That there is enough work for multiple Devil Hunters to operate in a given area is testament to the pervasiveness of demons within the Human World. Although the known Devil Hunters operate individually, it is quite common for competing Devil Hunters to team up on difficult cases. This allows them to tackle much larger jobs than they could accomplish alone, and also grants a modicum of security, as there will be someone else to watch their backs. How the reward is split varies depending on the agreement reached between the involved parties.
Not all Devil Hunting is amicable. As is the case at the beginning of Devil May Cry 4, some Devil Hunters actually seek to put one another out of business by disrupting their activities: The Order of the Sword put pressure on Lady's business by taking most of the demons in her area, so she retaliates by hiring Dante to discover why they are collecting demons and Devil Arms in the first place.
- ↑ Devil May Cry, Enemy File — Sin Scythe: "The scythes that fly at you can be deflected with your guns if you become a Devil Hunter."
- ↑ Devil May Cry, Enemy File — Kyklops: "Although their armor is made from rocks, it doesn’t compare to the armor of the Phantom. Use your Devil Hunter powers to bash the monster along with their armors."
- ↑ Devil May Cry, Enemy File — Griffon: "He will shoot electricity that charge towards you like a curtain. At first, it looks as if there’s no way to dodge them. Keep your cool as a Devil Hunter and you will find a gap between the electricity."
- ↑ Devil May Cry, Enemy File — Nobody: "When you destroy the mysterious mask they wear, they will increase their body size along with their strengths. You as a Devil Hunter will have to decide which size of Nobodies you should eliminate first."
- ↑ Devil May Cry, Enemy File — Death Scissors: "It’s unwise to try to fight these evil spirits from the surface. Become a Devil Hunter and take the fight into the air."
- ↑ Devil May Cry, Enemy File — Phantom: "The body’s topside is also its weak point. If you want to prove yourself as a true Devil Hunter, close in on the enemy and attack him from above!"
- ↑ Devil May Cry, Enemy File — Death Scythe: "The tornadoes that appear are the spirits in the atmosphere that were forced to comply with evil ways. The tornadoes will suck their prey into the air, taking away their freedom to move. How you utilize these tornadoes to your advantage will test your quality as a Devil Hunter."
- ↑ Devil May Cry 3 manga Code 1: Dante. Tokyopop. p. 131: Dante - "Listen up. I want more thorough background checks on clients from now on."