Tony Redgrave is a character who was intended to appear in BIOHAZARD 4 as the protagonist. In his backstory, he was intended to be a police officer[excerpt 1] and the son of Dr. Oswell E. Spencer, Lord Spencer. When the game was revamped and became Devil May Cry, Hideki Kamiya chose to change his name from Tony to Dante, as a tribute to Dante Alighieri the author of the Divine comedy. While Tony lives on as Dante, his name is used in the Devil May Cry series as an alias Dante chose to live by, which has the most amount of significance in the Devil May Cry Volume 1 novel.
Hideki Kamiya revealed that the character was initially going to be Leon Scott Kennedy as Spencer's son but was soon evolved into Tony and became Dante in the final game. Furthermore, the name "Redgrave" was chosen because Kamiya wanted something similar to "Redfield"
Kamiya wanted Redgrave to starkly contrast with the other Resident Evil characters and protagonists, with the intention of making him the "coolest". This envolved giving him a fresher look clad fully in Red and Black , and more "style", such as Redgrave wielding not only modern firearms, but also employing magical melee weapons of demon origin. Kamiya also desired for it to have a protagonist who was more powerful then the forces that threaten him, as to make the play feel "cool".
In Bayonetta, another game directed by Kamiya, Tony Redgrave (full name being Antonio Redgrave) makes an appearance as a journalist and the father of Luka Redgrave, one of the main supporting characters in the game. According to Kamiya, Dante used "Tony" as his alias due to his respect for him as a journalist.
In DmC Devil May Cry, an award is named "For Tony Redgrave", which is earned once 50 enemies are killed with firearms, which is in turn a reference to the "For Tony Redgrave. By .45 Art Warks" inscription in Ebony & Ivory, the trademark pistols that Dante uses in all Devil May Cry games.
One of the main locations in Devil May Cry 5 is called "Red Grave City", this is a reference to Tony. In the story of the game, it's revealed that Dante and his family used to live in this city when he was younger, which, going by in-game files, supposedly prompted him to use "Redgrave" as his alias.
- I think this was made when "Devil May Cry" was still being developed as a "Resident Evil" title, around when we were deciding whether or not to change the lead's name from Tony Redgrave to Dante. At the time, he was designed as a police offer. [sic] The other characters here were never fleshed out; they're just my own designs. (Tsuchibayashi)