Announcing (A Bit Early) a collection of Bayonetta Design Artifacts

Bayonetta

Filed: Bayonetta, Community, Games, PlatinumGames

Hello everyone. Character designer Mari Shimazaki here with some good news.

It has been something like two months since Bayonetta saw release in Japan. For those of you still playing Bayonetta, or those of you taking a little break, we’ve still got more Bayonetta to give you, so stay with us just a bit longer.

Which brings me to today’s announcement.

As Hashimoto-san mentioned on the Xbox Live Park broadcast here in Japan, we are going to put out a book collecting the design materials we used for Bayonetta. Woohoo!

It will be a little while until it’s released, but here are the details:

Bayonetta Design Collection (Temporary Title)
Release Date: Q1 2010 (Planned)
Price: TBD
Publisher: Enterbrain

It’s going to be a really thick book, as we are going to include almost all of the images we’ve used in promoting Bayonetta! (We were unable to get rights clearances for a few of them…)

Japanese gamers will get a chance to see art that we’ve only released in the West (which there were quite a few we made behind the scenes), as well as peeks at unreleased character, enemy, background, and weapon designs. There will also be CG illustrations and some new easter-egg illustrations (that I’m working on right now) amongst others. Overall, there will be more than 500 pieces of content to sink your teeth into! There will also be tons of comments from the development team (which they are working on now) to round out this monster collection! Look forward to it!

Whenever I end up working on one of these expansive books, I always end up feeling like, “This is sad. I have to show off all of these designs that got shot down… And they are from years ago as well.”
Even though I love looking at others people’s stuff… this poses a real dilemna for me.

Well, enough of my grumbling, I’m going to stay focused on working on the book for now, and even though it will be a while until it is in your hands, I hope you all look forward to it.

Well, I guess the world is all wrapped up in Christmas colors now.

How did you all spend the Christmas holidays? December 25 was actually our last work day here at PlatinumGames, but I am sure plenty of us went out drinking after we wrapped up.

Until next time.

More…

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Designing Bayonetta 4 – Luka (And a Special MTV Announcement)

Bayonetta

Filed: Bayonetta, Community, Games, PlatinumGames

Hello all. Character designer Mari Shimazaki reporting in.

We are now less than one week away from the Japanese release of Bayonetta. When the game comes out, I’m really excited about going to a huge store close-by and spreading out all the copies of the game! (A bit of a nuisance to the staff though…)

And now back to what has been sort-of the groove of my blog, explaining the design choices behind one of Bayonetta’s characters – this time the man chasing after Bayonetta – Luka.

Luka_front
Luka_back

When I first drew Luka, I designed him as a bit more “adult;” however, as he is on the receiving end of the sassy Bayonetta’s jabs, I thought that he should be a bit more of a brazen youngster, which is how he ended up as you see him above. Even though he is freelance, he is still a journalist, so he wears that staple of modern masculine armor, the suit. And then there is his favorite camera, which may or may not be a Leica. To chase after Bayonetta, he also has his spy tools-of-the-trade, all secreted neatly away in his gloves, boots, etc.

Since he is rather light on his feet, I wanted to make sure you picked up on Luka’s movements by giving him a nice, long scarf. Putting something moving on these active characters to pick up on their motions is sort of a by-the-book design cue in Bayonetta. Also, Kamiya-san likes scarves.

Unfortunately, it has been a long time since I designed Luka, so I’ve forgotten a lot of the small details and motivation that went into his look.

A glance at Luka can tell you a lot though: He is a bit of a metrosexual, paying attention to his cologne, etc. He is the type to get carried away, as he loves the girls, and would be prone to saying that there is more than enough of him to go around to one-and-all.
But despite all this, Bayonetta is the only women to whom he is openly hostile. Obviously, he must have his reasons…

How will their relationship develop during the game is something you will just have to play to find out.

To switch gears now, I have an announcement to make.

I think you are all aware of MiChi, the Japanese singer who recorded the song played in the background of Bayonetta’s Japanese TV commercial. Well, MiChi is going to appear with Bayonetta on a special program to be aired by MTV Japan!

MTV’s Bayonetta Special will air on MTV Japan on

Wednesday 10/28 4pm-5pm (Premiere airing)
Thursday 10/29 9pm-10pm
Saturday 10/31 5am-6am
Sunday 11/1 4am-5am
* This schedule is subject to change.

Bayonetta herself is going to be the VJ for the show. MiChi will be her guest, and you will get a look into the making of the Something Missing track, as well as their thoughts on what it means to be a strong woman.

I even drew up some special art that you will get a peek at during the show.
It is a tie-up illustration between MiChi, who was kind enough to make the song for us, and Bayonetta. I can’t post it here, so if you want to check it out, make sure to watch the show.

(NOTE: Higher resolution versions of the concept art in this post can be found on the PlatinumGames Inc. Flickr Page)

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Bayonetta TGS Consoles and Photo Collection!

Bayonetta

Filed: Bayonetta, Community, Games, PlatinumGames

Hi everyone. Character designer Mari Shimazaki here.

Tomorrow is the opening of Tokyo Game Show 2009 to the general public.
I’m sure by the time this is posted, we will already be on the show floor getting ready for your arrival. Make sure to come visit us! We’ve even got a little souvenir to give to everyone who tries out the game.

I also have a couple of announcements to make.

We’ve decided to celebrate TGS the same way we celebrated San Diego Comic Con – by making one-of-a-kind Bayonetta game consoles! This time, we’ve made both an Xbox 360 and a PS3.

But right after we ordered the hardware, the PS3 Slim was announced… (@o@)!?
So unfortunately, it is the previous model of the PS3, but this is what it looks like!

First up is the 360.

b_360_01

And here is the PS3.


For the Comic Con version, we used a sort of subtle Red/Black background, but for this series, we are taking a book out of the Japanese box art and using a moon background!
This one’s really cool too!

We are also going to be giving these consoles away at a PlatinumGames user event we have planned for the future. We will get them into a gamers’ hands somehow, but for now, the staff at PlatinumGames are just enjoying gawking over the machines. (OK… I’m the only one doing the gawking.)

There is one more announcement that I have to mention, and you may have already caught glimpse of this before, but we are releasing a Bayonetta Photo Collection in Japan!

blog_B_wov

This book will be release a week before the Japanese release of Bayonetta.

Bayonetta: Witch of Vigrid
80 pages, available 10/22 for 2100 yen at Japanese book stores

The cover is a brand new render made especially for the book.

On the inside, you have a real photo collection. Beyond various new renders of Bayonetta, there is also an exclusive interview with the witch herself, making it a volumious collection of content the likes of which you rarely see before a game’s release!

Kamiya-san and the staff really enjoyed thinking up ideas for this project, like hoping we could included a centerfold or a pin-up…

At the very least it should give all of you some late night reading while you wait up anxiously anticipating the release of the game! Be sure to pick it up!

Everyone have a great time at TGS!
That’s all for now!

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Designing Bayonetta Part 3 – Rodin and Enzo

Bayonetta

Filed: Bayonetta, Community, Games, PlatinumGames

Hi everyone. Character designer Mari Shimazaki here with you again.

I’m back from Comic Con!

I went in place of Kamiya-san, who was suddenly unable to attend. It was a totally packed couple of days, so see JP’s report for all the details.

cc_s_photo01

A picture of me with the Bayo-Gals, who were passing out flyers around town in San Diego. I was really happy, you know, seeing stuff like this. I got excited and jumped in there with them for a picture grinning ear to ear…

So now on to Rodin and Enzo.

Here are your odd couple. As promised, they are very Blues Brothers-esque.

First up is Rodin.

rodin01

rodin02

You might have seen him all over a section of our Japanese homepage known as “The Gates of Hell.” Rodin is a demon gunsmith who plays a big-brother role to Bayonetta. Unfortunately, I can only show you the final design, but I can share that Rodin wasn’t his original name, and he was a far funkier man at first.

I have memories of designing him and thinking that he had that so-called “spirit of an artiste,” meaning he was a man who loves fine antiques and music. I would imagine that Rodin would listen to some records, get into the groove of things, and then get down to business making weapons… Even now, Rodin’s love of music still remains ever so slightly as a part of his character profile, and that love is reflected in a gameplay element.

enzo01

enzo02

This is the underground informant, Enzo.

I designed Enzo with the idea in mind that he adores the Italian Mafia, but his personal hobbies are decidedly more bourgeois. Contrary to expectations, he is also a devoted husband and father to a large family. And boy is he a talker! That’s about it, I suppose. Enzo got OK’ed in only three days, so it’s actually kind of hard to remember these things! (Hehe…)

As he so eloquently explained in his blog post recently, modeler Kenichiro Yoshimura modeled Enzo for me, although he did seem to have a very strange affection for the character. It was COMPLETELY different from when he was modeling Luka (a character you see in the trailers)! (LOL)

I thought that Bayonetta is actually a game about glasses, so everyone should be wearing them! Hence the addition of Enzo’s (sun)glasses. Coming up with each and every character’s glasses was a secret source of enjoyment.

I wanted to end with another picture from my trip to Comic Con.

cc_s_photo02

We had an autograph signing at the User Event (even though the game isn’t out yet), and someone brought an Okami art book! Another person brought their PS3 system! And another brought their Devil May Cry package! It was really a day to take in how excited and grateful our fans are.

I really want to do an event like this in Japan, too! Please make it happen, Hashimoto Producer!!

Until next time!

(NOTE: Higher resolution versions of the concept art in this post can be found on the PlatinumGames Inc. Flickr Page)

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Designing Bayonetta Part 2 – Jeanne

Bayonetta

Filed: Bayonetta, Community, Games, PlatinumGames

Hello again, everyone. Mari Shimazaki here, back to talk a little bit more about the character design on Bayonetta.

Thank you all so much for the comments on the blog!

Your comments are the source of much happiness here, so everyone on the staff makes sure to read them.

Well, E3 is now over, and I think everyone has finally seen videos of Bayonetta being played. I hope you are looking forward to the game even more now…

Since this is my second blog post on character design, I thought I would write about Bayonetta’s fateful rival, Jeanne.

jeanne_front

I think the only thing that could rival a woman is another woman, which is why we decided early on that Bayonetta’s rival would be female.

I thought about what we could do to make her the antithesis of Bayonetta… With Bayonetta, she carried strongly held, specific design cues such as witches being black with long hair. However, with Jeanne, I was able to freely deviate from those cues despite the fact she is a witch. Bayonetta is known for her long hair, so I felt that Jeanne needed to have some kind of defining trait as well. It became her large lapel. It kinda looks like Pon De Lion, don’t you think? LOL (Note: Pon De Lion is a popular character in Japan.)

Thematically, Bayonetta’s color is black, so to provide symmetry, Jeanne’s color is red. I added the slit-esque accents down the legs of her dress to allow users to easily see her action-game-style movements. The coloring on Jeanne was actually a result of me paying attention to another character’s design. It’s subtle… But maybe you can figure it out? You have to admit, the nice blend of red, black, and silver is cool, right?

jeanne_back

jeanne_back_embro

I also added some faint embroidery on her back.

From a game character design standpoint, having something that really stands out is what you would usually go with; however, we are intentionally avoiding that on this game. All of the characters in Bayonetta share a theme of being “fashionable,” so we try to keep the ornamentation subdued.

Moreover, Jeanne needed to have something moving, or she wouldn’t be very interesting in-game. Thus, I added a long, plume-like accessory on to her guns. Once that was done, Kotegawa-san took over and designed incredibly cool weapons for me.

jeanne_face

I wanted to make Jeanne feel like something out of the 1960s, so she wears rather thick makeup. Her blood red lips and lower eyelashes are the key points to this design. She actually wore her glasses at first; however, I felt it was a bit strange, so I decided to put them on her head instead. While Bayonetta is straight-forward and strong, I designed Jeanne to be a bit of a change-up if you will, with a sense that she is haughty and putting on airs.

To be honest, Jeanne’s design didn’t require a huge amount of effort, so there aren’t any particular incidents that happened during her design to revisit here…

Nevertheless, there you have it, our two witches. Checking around with the team, it seems that Jeanne is overwhelmingly the more popular of the pair. Kamiya-san is also extraordinarily attached to Jeanne. (He even told me exactly what her bust, waist, and hip measurements were.) But to be honest, I personally prefer Bayonetta…

Which one do all of you prefer?

Next time, I hope to blog about designing the other characters in the game.

jeanne_raku

(NOTE: Higher resolution versions of the concept art in this post can be found on the PlatinumGames Inc. Flickr Page)

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Designing Bayonetta

Bayonetta

Filed: Bayonetta, Games, PlatinumGames

Hello. I’m Mari Shimazaki (Shimako), a character designer on Bayonetta.

It seems that the Bayonetta blog is finally underway! Lots of the staff from Bayonetta are going to take turns writing here, so I hope you all enjoy it.

Today is my turn, and for my first post, I thought I would give you some insight into the concept design for Bayonetta.

Truth be told, it was a real struggle to arrive at the final design for Bayonetta herself. In fact, it took a full year! I think what happened during that year is quite interesting, but it is quite a long story, so I’ll save it for another time.

When we started Bayonetta, our director, Hideki Kamiya, asked me to design a character with three traits:
1)    A Female Lead
2)    A Modern Witch
3)    She Uses Four Guns

Designers use these keywords to fuel their imagination as they draw, and after exhausting a few ideas, I arrived at the prototype design below.

1_bayonetta00
(Bayonetta Design Prototype)

Since Bayonetta is a witch, her “theme color” had to be black! The other special part of her design is the long hair wrapping around her body. The hair gathered around Bayonetta’s sleeves accentuates the movements of her limbs.

When a female character appears in an action game, her limbs often seem thin and short. That is why I tried to make her more appealing as an action game character by adjusting her proportions and extending her limbs.

Then I went about finishing up her clothing, which you can see below!

2_bayonetta01
(Bayonetta Final Design)

3_bayonetta02
(Bayonetta Bust View)

This is the final design. :-p

Bayonetta’s long hair is the source of her power, and she normally wears it around her body as a means of adornment and protection. However, once she enters battle, she can use her hair to summon incredibly powerful demons from hell. When she summons these Infernal Demons, she is using all of her power, so she has no time to control the hair wrapped around her body and thus she ends up in more “comfortable” attire. The exciting way she looks in this state is one of the parts of Bayonetta that I love.

By the way, Bayonetta’s beehive was a hairdo that I really wanted to give her, and I insisted on drawing her that way throughout the design process. As she is a witch, I thought that instead of a pointy hat, I would give her something elegant, like a wrap-do… Apparently though, Kamiya-san didn’t really care either way. :-p

There was another thing I added to Bayonetta to make her an even more appealing character…

4_bayonetta03
(Bayonetta’s Face)

Glasses! This was something that Kamiya-san really pushed for, as he was aiming to differentiate Bayonetta from other female characters and give her a sense of mystery and intelligence. Of course, I think it is just because he likes girls with glasses.

Conceptually, we were also looking to make Bayonetta “fashionable,” and I designed her so that this sense of fashion came through in all the little details, not just the glasses.

That is the story behind Bayonetta’s final design. I think I was able to put my feelings into her design, and she ended up a strong female character. So, you’d like to know how she behaves? Or maybe you are wondering what kind of battles will she get herself into? Look forward to playing the final version of Bayonetta and finding out all the answers!

(NOTE: Higher resolution versions of the concept art in this post can be found on the PlatinumGames Inc. Flickr Page)

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