Cities and Waterways


Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hello, my name is Hiroki Onishi. I was the lead environmental artist for Bayonetta 2.

A large section of Bayonetta 2 takes place in Noatun, a city filled with waterways and rivers. In order to design Noatun, we traveled to Italy and Belgium to see cities that fit this aesthetic up close. The trip ended up being more rewarding than we could’ve imagined.



Our journey began with a 12-hour flight from Kansai to Brussels. We planned on visiting Bruges and the Cathedral of Our Lady first, but when we arrived, we heard the Royal Palace was currently open to the public, so we rearranged our schedule to make that our first stop.


The Belgium Palace


In Game

The Royal Palace was perfect for helping us figure out the some of the game’s grander architecture. A lot of the places we visited prohibited photography, so we were thrilled that the palace allowed cameras as long as the flash was off. It was a great start to the trip. The building we created for Bayonetta 2 ended up being a little more stylized than we originally planned, but I’m happy with how it turned out. I think its impact on the player is stronger than before. Look forward to seeing it in the game.


Church of Our Lady

Can you see the color reflected on the floor from the stained glass in the picture above? These kinds of antique glass have a high transparency that clearly reflects color onto walls and floors when hit with sunlight. This photo was taken in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges. If the sunlight is too strong, only white will be reflected, but if it’s too weak, the colors will blur and be indiscernible. If you don’t have the correct amount of light, the phenomenon won’t occur. We saw several cathedrals on our trip, but this was the only time we were able to catch light reflecting on the floor. I saw this and thought… I really want to recreate how beautiful this is in a game. It ended up being everyone at Platinum’s favorite location inside the cathedral in Bayonetta 2. It’s nice to be able to just turn on a game and see it any time I like.


In Game

After we were done in Belgium, we moved on to Italy. Our time in Italy provided two breakthroughs to Bayonetta 2’s environments.

The first were these stone walkways. The picture below was taken in Florence–notice how thick the stones are and how the road curves upwards in the middle so rain will naturally flow down to the waterways on the side. On narrow roads with no waterways, the path slopes inward, so the water will collect in the middle.

We designed several paths like this for Bayonetta 2. In an action game, it’s more beneficial to the player in battle to have the camera looking downward, so the ground will usually take up a significant portion of the screen. Therefore, we put a lot of emphasis on making these textures look realistic. I think if Bayonetta really did fight here, she’d probably get her heel stuck between two rocks in the road.




In Game

Our other major takeaway was the tiled roofs. Most of the roofs in Italy are made with orange bricks that turn white or black when aged. Only bricks that have been newly thatched are orange. Houses that didn’t regularly repair their roofs would have nothing but white bricks. However, if you look from the distance, the city’s buildings look like they are covered in a uniform layer of orange. Our hotel in Venice had bricks low enough that you could stick your hand out of the window and reach up and touch them. They must have been considerably aged, but they felt sturdy and held in place surprisingly well. In Japan, there are places that try to imitate European style by selling pre-aged, multi-colored bricks, but after going to Italy, it terrifies me that Japanese people probably don’t understand how different the real thing is.




The cities in Italy were full of flowers—the terraces on buildings would usually be decorated with colorful flower arrangements. I assumed this was done for tourism, but when I asked someone, they told me everyone grows them because it’s easy. They’re mostly geraniums that need to be watered or looked after very little. It’s true, we were in the city taking photos from early in the morning until late at night, but I never saw anyone watering anything. When I came back to Japan I bought some geraniums myself to see if they really were that easy to take care of. They were all right when it was still warm out, but every last one died in winter. Maybe Japan isn’t the most welcoming climate for them.


Santa Margherita Ligure



I saw something interesting when I was in Venice. Can you see the picture below, and how the knobs are close to the middle of the door? When I asked why, I was told it was because older locks were made separately from handles, and it was hard to fit both in the same place. The picture below wasn’t the exception; a lot of doors in Venice looked like this. They seemed like they’d be tricky to open.







In Game

I think the most challenging thing we faced after our trip was conveying how important water was to the everyday lives of the city’s inhabitants. In Venice, there were no roads for cars to run on, because there were no cars—everything was handled by boats. There were no gates in the rivers to make sure travel was simple. Even refrigerators and laundry machines were carried to houses on small boats before being loaded up on push carts. We had to carry all our equipment on a boat to our hotel, and then drag everything along bumpy stone paths. It was a new experience for all of us, and it gave us some slight culture shock. Yet I think it was things like these that gave Venice a unique artistic quality that was interesting to express in the game. If anyone from Venice were to play the game and actually relate with our depiction of the citizen’s daily lives, I’d be honored.

Going abroad provides new experiences, information, and teaches you to view things in a broader, different way than before. Even outside of work, I still make an effort to travel abroad every year. If anything, just because I learn so much from it. I actually still haven’t traveled anywhere in Asia outside of Japan, but I hope I’ll eventually have the chance to. Thanks for reading all the way to the end!



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34 Comments Add Your Own

OmegaSlayer Posted on July 18, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Ok, now port the game to PS4 and XBoxOne

Smokey Posted on July 18, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Fascinating, also sounds like ye had some fun doing this. The results speak for themselves.

BobR Posted on July 18, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Thank you so much for posting this! I especially love your comment about the roof tiles in Italy, which make that roof tile photo even more beautiful. This story and your parting comment about going abroad are great inspiration for people like my son who is a big gamer, but also very interested in 3D modeling for video games (and Bayonetta 2 of course). PS Where will you go next? :)

Charlie Posted on July 18, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Thank you for giving an insight into your work. I know it's going to help make this a great game. Can't wait!

jandkas Posted on July 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Wow, looks amazing, I can't wait for the game on Wii U only.

Shiiro Ken Posted on July 18, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Very interesting information about the multi-coloured bricks and Japan!!!

El Buga Posted on July 19, 2014 at 12:06 am

The results are fantastic. The cities are gorgeous, and their ingame counterparts are equally stunning! Kudos to PG for creating this beauty!

Not gonna lie, this is my most awaited game of the year, surpassing even Smash. I actually dreamed about opening the case of this game last night, and when I woke up I knew some news were coming. Dear Lord, I need this game in my life so hard…

ZweihanderSteve Posted on July 19, 2014 at 12:42 am

It sounds like your group had a blast! I don't doubt that the cultural scoring nce will shine through in Bayonetta 2!

Jono Posted on July 19, 2014 at 1:28 am

I honestly couldn't tell the difference between real life and in-game at times. Beautiful work, it looks stunning.

Falco Posted on July 19, 2014 at 2:17 am

My Wii U is ready!!!

ctair Posted on July 19, 2014 at 2:35 am

Good to see you enjoyed a nice trip to the ‘old world’. Gorgeous pics you took there. Have been to Brugge myself on a study trip with my school class back around ’96. Never managed to go to Italy though. This post definitely motivated me to make a trip ASAP. Looking forward to October. Keep up the great work.

LawTS89 Posted on July 19, 2014 at 3:00 am

I can't believe it, this is amazing! My parents are from Venice, so playing the game will be almost like finding myself in a familiar place. Now I'm even more thrilled.
Greetings from Italy!

ps: also the Florence details, like the floor, were really intriguing. Good job.

Arturo Posted on July 19, 2014 at 5:52 am

Bayonetta has very distinct, beautiful locations, great read, cant wait for the game!

DePapier Posted on July 19, 2014 at 7:10 am

You're very welcome, Platinum Games, and that was a lovely story. :)

mischifer6 Posted on July 19, 2014 at 7:42 am

Wow, everything looks spectacular! The art is very well done.

Lan Posted on July 19, 2014 at 8:02 am

This was great. I love to read things like this, it also shows just how much care they put in their game. Cannot wait for Bayonetta 2!

venomjamaica Posted on July 19, 2014 at 8:12 am

WOW… great write up….. great illustration…. great pics. I am sooo excited to play the game. Keep up the great work guys.

Big up and respect….. ONE LOVE.

donzaloog Posted on July 20, 2014 at 5:32 am

That looks amazing.

Fan Posted on July 21, 2014 at 3:29 pm

For Bayonetta 3's world design, combine France with UK and Poland (:

David Posted on July 22, 2014 at 6:39 am

Great scenery, if a new Bayonetta gets made you guys should visit Las Lajas sanctuary, I've always thought it could make a good level for a game, but with P* it could be an astounding looking level! :D

Ron Kadarishko Posted on July 25, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am inspired!

Extremely useful information specifically the final section :) I handle such info a lot.

I used to be seeking this particular information for a very lengthy time.

Thanks and good luck.

AtasteofSF Posted on August 2, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Nice Information. Really a cool collection of photographs! Totally i loved the places. Thanks for the share!

Kuhang Posted on August 21, 2014 at 11:41 pm

Bayonetta 2 is the reason that made me buy a Wii U instantly (Was planning to buy it in it's later years years but also the fact that I wanted to support nintendo in it's bad time) and also because it is an exclusive made me want even more.I'm in love with Platinum games and Nintendo being together.I have Bayonetta On pre-order and I am dying to have my hands on her.Nintendo and Platinum are a pair made in heaven.God bless u both :)

gallean Posted on September 11, 2014 at 3:28 pm

hello, i eard that the bayonetta 2 game will also get japanese voices…can anyone confirm me this ?

gallean Posted on September 11, 2014 at 3:33 pm

omegaslayer sorry pal but it will remain wii u exclusive (well if the game get enough sell the 3rd one – if there is- ) can come on other platform…
can anyone confirm that the second one will also get japanese voices ?

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