Bayonetta 2 Out In Stores!

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hi everyone, this is Bayonetta 2’s director, Yusuke Hashimoto.

It’s been five long years… finally Bayonetta 2 is finally out in North America and Europe! I guess some of you might be playing it right now!

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I’ve been overjoyed to receive so many messages from all of you on my twitter (PG_y_hashimoto). Thanks so much. During production, those messages helped me out a lot, and now, I’m just thinking… I can’t believe it’s finally on sale. This will be the first title I’ve worked on that will hit the stores in five years.

I remember writing “See you next stage!” in the staff comments for The Eyes of Bayonetta, the art book for the original game. Back then I just meant for it to pertain to whatever next game I worked on. I never dreamed it would come to mean me directing the sequel to Bayonetta.

A lot has happened in five years. Going from producer to director, moving to a new console… there was a lot of trial and error involved in moving forward, but I think we were able to give so much to the final product because we always believed, we want as many people as possible to enjoy Bayonetta 2.

This time around, we’re really blown away with all the opportunities we’ve had. We were able to add Japanese audio, so many collaboration costumes with Nintendo, and even a port of Kamiya’s original classic to the package… honestly, a deal like this feels too good to be true.

I hope you all enjoy Bayonetta 2.

See you on my next PlatinumGames’ project!

Yusuke Hashimoto

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Character Design Pt. 3: New Characters, Extras

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hi, it’s Mari Shimazaki again – lead character designer.

We’ve got just one week until Bayonetta 2 hits the shelves. Are you ready?

Loki

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For my last little update before the game goes on sale, I’d like to talk about some new characters at the center of Bayonetta 2’s story, and some “extras.

In the original Bayonetta, our main character traveled with a little girl named Cereza. This time, it’s a mysterious kid that sports some attitude.

Designing him had its twists and turns. First he was actually planned to be a girl, but Kamiya saw that and said “…I did that the first game.” So we changed it to a boy.

If I talk about him too much I’m scared I might ruin some of the game’s story, but I think I can at least talk about the colors, accessories, and patterns I chose for him. I wanted him to have a modern look that still was also reminiscent of the otherworldliness of his character.

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Also, I’ll say a thing or two about the cards he uses.

In the actual game you only see him use a few specific ones, but I actually drew an entire set, kind of just because I wanted to.

One set totals to 22 cards.

There are also Verse Cards in the game that preserve the same basic design, but they were a collaboration work between the entire team. They made 53 cards altogether.

If you’re into cards those numbers might ring a bell. That’s right: they’re the same number of cards that you’ll find in a set of tarot cards (Major Arcana) and playing cards.

There are a lot of explanations for how tarot cards and playing cards originated, but for Bayonetta 2, I liked to design them thinking “what if the real origin of tarot/playing cards lies with Loki?” That helped me design them to make sense in Bayonetta’s world.

As for his 22 card set… can you guess the tarot counterpart for each card?

Might be interesting to put them side by side and try to see if you can tell.

 

Masked Lumen

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Masked Lumen… another key figure to Bayonetta 2’s story.

Just like Loki, I won’t tell you too much about who he is to avoid spoilers, but I’ll at least say the two concepts that I kept in mind while designing him were “straight lines” and “grace.”

Super Mirror/Couture Bullets

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After acquiring the Super Mirror 2, Bayonetta can become an Umbran Gekka, Policewoman, Schoolgirl… They’re what’d you’d call “unlockable costumes.”

The basic design process I went through for these costumes was to brainstorm with Hashimoto and think about what costumes the fans would like. Then, out of those, Kamiya, Hashimoto, and I each chose a costume of our liking.

For the first Bayonetta, Kamiya was the director, so he chose the P.E. Uniform.

For Bayonetta 2, Hashimoto was the director, and he chose the Umbran Gekka.

Kamiya admitted that he probably indulged himself a bit too much when he made his choices for the first Bayonetta, so he chose something with a bit more mass appeal for this game: the policewoman. Hashimoto chose the Umbran Gekka, and I chose the schoolgirl outfit.

The process taught us about each other’s individual preferences, which was fun.

During game development, we always get to making these extras at a time when the staff really have their hands full. Sometimes it’s hard to put in everything we want, but we all still really want our fans to enjoy the game as much as possible, so we do what we can.

Some of the ideas that the staff had were pretty out there. I ended up drawing some interesting sketches so if I ever have the chance I think it’d be fun to show you.

After you finish your first playthrough of the game, be sure to try out the main game, Muspelheim, and Tag Climax in your own favorite costume.

Be just a little more patient—good times are right around the corner!

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Bayonetta 2 Misc. Tips and Tricks

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hello everyone. Once again, this is the arcade-frequenting, karaoke-loving game designer Ryoya Sakebe. Chances are good you’ll find me at one of these places on my days off.

This time I’d like to share a couple behind-the-scenes tidbits from the development of Bayonetta 2.

(Spoiler warning!!)

The dedicated among you may already know some of these, but bear with me.

1) Where’s Loki?!

In the first part of the game’s story you travel with your companion Loki. He is able to transform into a flying squirrel, and while on the move he hangs out within Bayonetta’s substantial bosom. Lucky jerk. But when Bayonetta unleashes the Beast Within and transforms into a Panther, where do you think he goes? Don’t worry, she doesn’t leave him behind!

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↑Here’s Flying Squirrel Loki holding on for dear life. Move the camera around to get a closer look; he’s super cute!

2) Don’t fall for the PKP combo trap

If you fully execute a combo, your final hit will summon a Wicked Weave, dealing much more damage than a regular attack. Out of all the possible combos, the quickest way to get out a Wicked Weave is the Punch-Kick-Punch combo (known as PKP for short.) What an easy way to rack up a ton of damage, right? Wrong. You still have a long way to go…BD (sunglasses smiley)

While the PKP is fast and can stun enemies, we purposefully made it less powerful than other combo finishers. Moreover, if you send an enemy flying with PKP, you’ll have to go chase them down before you can start your next combo. If there are any true Platinum rank chasers among you, please remember: you will never achieve true strength while relying on PKP.

3) The secret effect of Tetsuzanko

Here’s another little known fact.

Pressing Punch after moving the analog stick from back to front executes the devastating “Tetsuzanko”. Purchasable from Rodin’s store, it takes a different form depending on the weapon you have equipped.

With Rakshasa equipped…

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↑The start of the Tetsuzanko animation with Rakshasa equipped. Leap back away from the enemy and…

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↑Close the gap in an instant with a slash!

This movement makes it a bit of a tricky attack to use effectively. In fact, the part of the animation where you jump back is not just for show; it allows you to dodge enemy attacks. Which also means you can activate Witch Time! While you’re slashing away at an enemy, if it looks like it is about to attack, quickly input the command for Tetsuzanko. In a single fluid motion you will jump back, dodge the attack, activate Which Time, and launch an attack of your own. Just think of the combo points! It can be tough getting the right timing in the middle of a difficult battle, so give it a try against Accolade, or some other easy enemy. Trust me, you will feel like a total boss.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you today. There are still plenty of fun little facts and stories left to tell, but they will have to wait for another day. See you!

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A Little Help From Your Friends

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hello everyone, my name is Ryoya Sakabe. I’m a game designer here at PlatinumGames. It’s nice to get a chance to write to everyone.

I was a member of the team that made Bayonetta 2. In fact, it was the first game I ever worked on. When I saw my name roll by in the credits I got a little choked up. I had to move all the way from Hokkaido (1,500km away) to work at PlatinumGames, but it was totally worth it!

Alright, enough about me, let’s talk about Bayonetta 2! Today, I would like to focus on team battles!

It goes without saying that there are co-op battles in the new Tag Climax co-op mode. However, there are also scenes in the story mode where you fight alongside A.I. controlled characters. These make for some really exciting battles, and are one of the cool new features Bayonetta 2 brings to the table. You can do crazy torture attacks together, and see some cool teamwork. Definitely keep an eye out for these scenes when you play the game.

Of course, actually getting this feature into the game was a serious challenge. A great example is Loki, a key character in the story of Bayonetta 2. You fight together with him in many battles throughout the game.

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(Loki and Bayonetta mid-battle. At first I was so fixated on showing how cool Loki was, I designed him so all his attacks sent enemies flying! I ended up having to tone things down after various members of the team pointed out how ridiculous it was.)

Yet, there was a time when, outside of cut scenes, he only fought in a single scene (the one right after you meet him.)

Fast forward to the last leg of the project. With the deadline looming, I was trying desperately to improve the sections I was in charge of in any way possible. One day, I received a request from Director Hashimoto:

“I want Loki to do more in this part.”

(Note: just what “part” he was referring to, you’ll have to wait and see!)

Where did that come from!? Sure, having two characters fight together had been part of the plan since early in production…but there were schedule constraints to consider, not to mention the effect these battles would have on the game’s tempo.

As the game designer in charge of Loki’s moves, I started to panic. I was concerned that we wouldn’t be able to implement the feature in time. But, putting those fears aside, I decided to take on the challenge.

Why, you ask? Because I knew it would make the game more interesting, that’s why!

And so, Operation Make Loki Less of a Wimp was underway.

Since Loki deftly avoids enemies’ in cut scenes, I decided to have his in-game moves reflect this by allowing him to spin and jump out of the way of attacks, and throw cards while dodging. When planning these moves, I was careful to make sure they didn’t steal the show too much. After all, the star of Bayonetta should always be Bayonetta herself. If Loki is going all out every five seconds, players would not be able to focus on the battle at hand. Loki is a support role, so I made sure that when the player does notice him, it is only to the extent that they can confirm that, yes, he is pulling his weight in battle. Also, if he was too powerful, he would end up finishing off the enemies and stealing the player’s glory. I made sure to balance his strength to make sure the player still feels like they earned their victories.

When one of his attacks connects, it will momentarily stun weak enemies, giving Bayonetta a chance to go in for an attack. He really has your back!

Next, I thought about how to make him act outside of combat. This involved adjusting the speed he moves when leading the player, and the timing of the hints he calls out. My top priority was striking a balance so that players notice the things I want them to see, without making the game stressful to play.

If Loki runs off ahead, you lose the sense of exploring together. On the other hand, if the player is always forced to wait for Loki to catch up, they will quickly get frustrated. It took a lot of trial and error to get this feeling right. Keeping Loki’s character in mind, I tried to add some personality to the way he moves to keep things fresh.

That’s a brief look at how we designed Loki’s character in-game. I would talk with the staff from the various art and programming sections first thing in the morning, and we’d try implementing new ideas and balance them out. Everyone gave it their all to make the game as fun as possible.

After the game was finished, I went back and played the sections where you fight together with Loki. I had this big satisfied grin on my face that I couldn’t seem to get rid of. It was worth the extra effort, without a doubt.

We focused on Loki this time, but the other characters you fight alongside each have their own unique aspects (they had their own set of difficulties to overcome during development.) I hope you find all the team battles exciting as you play Bayonetta 2!

 

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Character Modeling in Bayonetta 2

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hey PlatinumGames fans. My name is Tsuyoshi Takahashi, I’m a character modeler for Bayonetta 2.

For this blog I’d like to talk about our creative process behind all the character models of Bayonetta 2. Read on to see how it works.

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Here is a piece of concept art.

Bayonetta’s well known enemy, an angel. Seems pretty twisty and curvy, right? Must be a snake or a dragon or something. Okay, let’s see what we can do with it.

First let’s create this polygon cube.

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Chop it up a bit, give it some shape…

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Draw some textures…

And we’re done! Easy as drawing an owl, right?

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No? Don’t get it?

 

Okay, let’s rewind a sec, back to the start.

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Step 1: Concept art arrives

 

So, when you make something, not just for a game, but anything, you need some kind of direction in your process. When you’re making a 3D model for a game, your direction is usually provided by concept art. Because, first, you have to know what it looks like, right? Different projects will have varying levels of detail for their concept art, but, well, as long as you have one, you can start putting a model together, I guess. So, what exactly does “put together” mean?

I mean, even if you have a still image, there’s a lot of work left to be done. This character is an enemy, so it has to fulfill the role of being a THREAT to the player. So first of all, we have to make it MOVE. All we have is this piece of concept art. From that one image, we have to decide each movement, each attack the enemy can make. This means that part of the model designer’s job is to really understand the minute details of the enemy they are creating. Since it’s snake-like, it’ll probably slink around. Since it’s got wings, obviously it can fly. Does it chomp at the player? Maybe spit something at them? Also, this thing has two faces. Which is the real one? How does it make its appearance in the game, what is its personality, is it male, female…???

Initially, I see what I can come up with by myself.

Step 2: Let’s ask around

 

After we’ve deliberated by ourselves for a bit, next we go and ask other people on the team. Specifically, we ask the game director, and the game designer and character designer of the monster.

Before concept art is completed, the intentions of the director have to be reflected, and the game designer has to decide on the monster’s specs.. All this is worked into the concept. So, by the time it reaches my hands, it’s already passed through a few departments.

Now, if I want to know what this monster’s all about, I suppose the best person to ask is the guy who made it. Fortunately, in Bayonetta 2, the guy who did the monster designs also happens to be the director: Yusuke Hashimoto. As the artist, he obviously also thinks about how each character is going to behave. So he’s basically the director, game designer, and character designer all in one.

Sweet! That makes my life a lot easier!

Step 3: Use your own creativity

 

Here’s what I got out of my conversation with Hashimoto.

This is a “dragon angel.”

It uses breath attacks.

It chomps.

The face on its chest is its real face.

And, it’s a girl.

Technically, angels don’t have sexes, but from its personality, and the look of the face on its chest, it seems feminine.

Now, what kind of textures would this monster have? A monster, of course, is a fictional creature, but when we create it, we have to build it using materials based on what you would find in the real world. The key features that play into this enemy’s texture are the jewel-like scales embroidered all over its body, and the gold skin shared across all angel designs.

Now that I’ve asked around and gotten a feel for the enemy, I think I’m ready to start making him. But wait!! There’s a problem we haven’t addressed yet. What are we going to do about the parts of the enemy we can’t see on the concept art. Sometimes you’ll get concept art that has every inch of the enemy covered, and you can just copy it as-is, but not this time. Where’s its back? What’s the inside of its mouth look like? Guess I’ll have to figure it out myself! This small piece of creative freedom is one part of being a model designer that I love. There are a lot of staff from the original Bayonetta team that I’m sure could have finished the entire drawing for me, but instead, they gave me my own space to play with. So I will!

Step 4: Making a game is a team effort

 

As character design usually has to pass through the director, game designers, and concept artists before it reaches me, after I create a model for it, animators have to give it motion, effect designers have to create effects for its attacks, sound designers have to give it sound effects, and programmers have to program it into the game. What I’m trying to say is, the process I’m involved in is only one small element of the game’s production, and yet if I mess up anything during my process, the entire game will suffer from it. So you can’t just toy around. You have to consider the other legs of the team.

After I’ve finished the model, I pass it along to the animators to give it movement.

That means I have to give my model a skeletal structure so it can move in the first place. Also, there’s a limit to how many bones I’m allowed to include in my model, due to technical limitations, and so on. So I grab the animator and discuss where I need to allot the model’s bones. When I make a model, I have to think about the people who will use it after me, the machine limitations, and my deadline.

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By the way, considering it can use a kind of energy-like breath attack (Ice Breath) and likes gulping down its enemies, I gave the inside of its mouth this kind of mech feel, and I gave a lot of depth to the center, so that it seems like you’ll get swallowed right into the abyss.

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This is how I did the back (tried to build on the jewel scales feel)

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Okay, it’s complete!

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Or at least, you think it is, but sometimes it doesn’t work exactly how it’s supposed to. In these situations, it might get sent back.

Hey, you again! Long time no see! Sure let’s fix you up a bit…

Anyway, that’s about it!

Step 5: Forget everything I’ve just said

 

In conclusion, we learned a lot about model design today, so please forget all of it. Don’t think about the swan’s legs paddling furiously beneath the water’s surface. Just enjoy the way it seems to glide angelically across the lake. What I mean to say is, just enjoy how fun the game is! Don’t sweat the small stuff. Have fun with Bayonetta 2! See you again!

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Scenario Writing in Bayonetta 2

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2, Games

Hello everyone, it’s been a while. This is Hideki Kamiya, director of the first Bayonetta, and supervisor on Bayonetta 2.

At long last, the release date is right around the corner! It’s been a long road getting here, filled with bumps, twists, and turns. There was even a time when we almost lost hope of releasing the game altogether. It makes me happy that we can bring you Bayonetta 2, and I would like to extend my personal thanks to Nintendo for stepping in and making this game a reality.

In a blog a while back, I briefly mentioned my role as scenario writer on this project. To my surprise, a lot of fans seemed really surprised by this news, and I realized that I haven’t properly explained what this entails. This time, I’d like to explain how I worked on the scenario for Bayonetta 2.

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But before we get into that, I’m sure many of you are a bit confused about what a game supervisor does. It is quite an important-sounding title, but to put it simply, they supervise the project from a position one-step removed from development. At PlatinumGames, the person who has the final say on what goes into a game, and who is ultimately responsible for how it turns out, is the director. I believe that every game should be infused with the unique color of its director. Because of this, my involvement in Bayonetta 2 consisted of regular meetings with Director Hashimoto where I only provided advice when necessary. The one exception perhaps, was Jeanne; when it came to her character, I butt in with my comments at every opportunity.

That said, not only was Hashimoto the producer on the first game (the person in charge of team management and strategic decisions for the title), as an artist he also designed all the enemy angels. By the way, he is once again doing double duty on Bayonetta 2; this time as director / enemy designer! Since he is someone who deeply understands and shares my vision for the world of Bayonetta, I hardly needed to nit-pick his decisions whatsoever. And Hashimoto isn’t the only one returning for the sequel.

With “Don-san” programming the enemy angels / demons, Shimazaki designing the characters, Yamaguchi handling the animation, Ueda and Mr. Rei Kondo on music, sound effects by Daisuke and Sound Deluxe, and Tsuda and cinematic director Shimomura in charge of cut scenes, all the key staff that together created the world of Bayonetta came back for a return performance. I had nothing to worry about.

Long story short, I was not directly involved in the day-to-day production of Bayonetta 2. The scenario, however, is a different story. I talked with Hashimoto and we decided that, since Bayonetta’s dialog is one of the key things that makes her character, it would be best for me to continue my role as scenario writer.

However, with my hands full directing The Wonderful 101, I didn’t have the luxury of devoting myself to working on the scenario. Help came in the form of Bingo Morihashi, a skilled scenario writer who happens to be an old colleague of mine from my Capcom days.

I chose Bingo for this job because he has a lot of experience writing for games that have a similar style to Bayonetta.

A game scenario is about more than just having the characters deliver the story. With the pace and progression of the game in mind, you have to consider the timing of the cut scenes and battles; it is the key to composing the game’s overall balance. Constantly interrupting the action will kill the player’s momentum, but a complete lack of context to get the player pumped up will make the climatic moments fall flat. The job of a game scenario writer is to dole out story appropriately, while making sure the game still feels brisk and fun. Bingo, with his wealth of scenario writing experience, was just what the doctor ordered to complete the scenario.

Planning for the Bayonetta 2 scenario began during a discussion with Hashimoto. It was almost like a casual chat, where we went back and forth saying “what if this happened?” and “what about this character?”, deciding the overarching story and overall structure of the stages. Once the rough outline was in place, we brought Bingo into the discussion and had him fill in the details. Next, we had Bingo turn this outline into a game scenario. This became the first draft of the scenario: a detailed plan for each stage explaining when each cut scene would play, how each character would make their appearance, and the way each story beat would unfold. From here, I worked on the flow of the characters’ dialog and added scenes to bring out that unique Bayonetta flavor. At this point it was basically the text equivalent of a storyboard; everything was in place. Since the first draft was well structured, I was able to concentrate on bringing out the personality of the characters and fleshing out the world without having to worry about the story / action balance. At the end of this process, we completed the final draft of the scenario.

Next, building off this scenario, cinematic director Shimomura added his own interpretation and touch to the scenes. Ultimately, we ended up with a story so wildly over-the-top that it might even outdo its predecessor. I can’t go into any story specifics here, so please play the game and experience it for yourself!

We are nearing the end of this post, but I hope you enjoyed hearing about the scenario writing process. We have inherited the same Bayonetta flavor from the first game… no, that’s not quite right. The truth is, the two stories are inextricably linked; they are two sides of the same coin. For those of you who will be entering the world of Bayonetta for the first time, I highly recommend you play through Bayonetta before jumping into Bayonetta 2. To those handsome individuals among you who have already played through the first game, it wouldn’t hurt to play it again as a refresher.

Actually, on second thought, it might be interesting to go back and play the first game after you have beaten the sequel… I’ll leave it up to you.

As always, please let me know what you think about the game!

Until next time!

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Character Design Pt. 2: Luka, Rodin, and Enzo

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2, Games

Hello. This is the character designer for Bayonetta 2, Mari Shimazaki.

We’re one day away from the game’s Japanese release! Today I thought I’d talk about some of the male character designs I did for the game.

Luka

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Here’s a character anyone who played the first game isn’t likely to forget: Luka. Kamiya, the game’s supervisor, asked for Luka’s new design to show that he’s overcome his troubled past from the original Bayonetta, and grown into more of a man.

This ended up being a tougher request than I imagined. I think I was just so used to Luka being a showoff bozo that at first I was taking things in completely the wrong direction.

In the previous game, he was supposed to be a fledgling journalist, but the designs I made this time had him looking like a war correspondent, or the main character from Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi… I couldn’t peg what “grown into more of a man” meant. I knew I had to make Luka somewhat flaunty, but if I took it too far, he wouldn’t fit with the overall design motif of the sequel. I decided to show the player just a hint of the old Luka flair with the hat he wears during his entrance.

In the design I settled on, I think I was able to give Luka some semblance to the young days of his father, Antonio Redgrave. But regardless of how I changed his design, it looks like Bayonetta still treats him more or less the same. I think you can anticipate more of the same classic slapstick in Bayonetta 2.

 

Rodin

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Rodin was one of the easier characters to figure out.

They didn’t give me any specific direction, so I started trying him out in both traditional Japanese outfits and regular clothes. I learned that Japanese clothes look really good on Rodin and, judging by how fast the designs got approved, I know the team thought the same.

If you’re going to be an arms dealer, I think this is the right look.

Most likely he stopped by Japan to procure some merchandise, and picked out a few outfits on the way, right? (Which probably means he’s gotten his hands on something again, like he did with the PE uniform in the first game.)

I gave his glasses some traditional Japanese craftwork to go along with his outfit. I feel like the Bayonetta team not only puts up with this level of detail, but expects it. This is one reason why I’m grateful to work with them (of course, it’s not like they let me get carried away with everything.)

 

Enzo

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Just like in the first Bayonetta, we settled on Enzo’s design faster than any other character. Maybe it’s just because his character is so easily understandable, or maybe it’s because his shape makes it so easy to tell what works with him and what doesn’t. The concept for his character is “wannabe Italian gangster”. I like to imagine that he finally saved up enough to buy one nice suit, just to get a bit closer to his dream.

A major change Enzo made from the last game is his color scheme. His key color last time was green, whereas this time it’s dark red. I like to come up with a key color when I design a character (Bayonetta is black, Jeanne is red, Luka is blue, etc.), and once I decide a color I typically don’t drift too far from it. Only, in Enzo’s case, that would mean changing barely anything about him, save the style of his clothes. I didn’t want that, so I took the leap and made him dark red. Well, Enzo’s humpty dumpty figure and sunglasses probably leave a stronger impression than his clothes do anyway. I left his necktie green to display my slight unwillingness to let go of the past.

 

An Unnamed Witch

Right before Bayonetta hits stores in Japan, let’s share this one last picture.

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This looks oddly familiar… this clothing… could it be…?

I think I’ll wait and let you discover her true identity for yourself when you play the game.

It’s only a bit longer until the game comes to NA and Europe as well!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my art!

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The Wonderful 101 Original Soundtrack Digital Release!

The Wonderful 101

Filed: Games, The Wonderful 101

Hello everyone, my name is Hiroshi Yamaguchi. I was a composer on The Wonderful 101.

Starting today, people around the world will be able to download the official soundtrack for The Wonderful 101! But that’s not all. This is the first soundtrack released under our very own PlatinumGames record label: Polaris Tone. As the game celebrates its 1st anniversary, I could not be happier to bring you the soundtrack.

I worked on The Wonderful 101 for around two years of its development. When I first joined the team I was the only one in the BGM section. While experimenting with various directions to take the music, rough design documents and in-progress screenshots were my only reference.

Even at this early stage, the concept of 100 heroes coming together in the Unite Morph was already in place. More than just your run-of-the-mill hero series, it was a tale of courage and comradery; a story of 100 brave heroes working together to stop evil on a massive scale! With this world in mind, I set out to make catchy music that would appeal to an audience just as wide as the universal themes of heroism that the game is all about.

The first song I completed was for the opening stage: “ST01 Roll Out, The Wonderful 100! Battle in the Blossom City Burbs.” I really liked the hook at the end of this song, so I decided early on to use it as a recurring motif throughout the whole game. Around this time I had also finished a rough version of the music for the second stage: “ST02 Head for Blossom Tower”, using ideas I had left over from stage one. Just as I was patting myself on the back, thinking how smoothly everything was going, Director Kamiya requested a common jingle that would appear in the music for each stage. It proved much more difficult than I initially anticipated. It is embarrassing to admit, but it took me over 40 attempts to get it right. You can hear the fruit of my hard work in “Roll Out Jingle 1.” I break into a cold sweat now just hearing the word “jingle.”

Three months after I started on the project, Takizawa, a composer with three years experience in the company, joined me on the team. About half a year after that, a new composer (in her first year at the company) named Kurokawa also joined the project. While originally conceived as a mid-sized project, by the time Kurokawa joined us the game had already grown considerably in scope, and the overall shape was starting to come together. I thought to myself, “this one is gonna be huge” and, as expected, we were super busy right up until the end of the project.

The highlight of the project for me was composing “The Won-Stoppable 100.” You may have read about this in Director Kamiya’s blog, but we decided to redo it right before the game went gold. It was a do-or-die situation for me. There were points where I was on the verge of giving up. I would go up to Director Kamiya and Assistant Producer Kurooka and beg them to accept my latest version of the song. Then one day, Takizawa comes out and says, “Listen, I’ll take care of the implementation of all the sound data. Mr. Yamaguchi, you just focus on making this song the best it can be.” What choice did I have? What kind of composer…what kind of person would I be if I didn’t make something spectacular!?

I delegated as much of my work as possible to Takizawa and Kurokawa and devoted my full attention to composing. That is the story of how, in one month, we got the theme song composed, recorded, and downmixed. As we approached our physical and mental limits, my co-composers gave it their all to get the game finished. I’m sure seeing the game come together before our eyes gave us the motivational boost to make it through. As I scrambled to get the song composed, many other people were working to get the English and Japanese vocals decided, the lyrics translated, and the recording schedules in order. It is fitting that many people had to work together (unite up?) to get the theme song finished.

The making of this music may have been stormy at times, but the clouds have cleared, and I am very thankful that we can bring you the soundtrack. We all came together to make this soundtrack something that resonates with people. I hope you enjoy it!

That’s all from me. Everyone, please listen to the soundtrack and feel your heroic soul ignite!

Akira Takizawa

Hello, Takizawa here. (I’m the one with the sharp-looking eyes that would make even Wonder-White envious.)

It’s finally out: the wonderful soundtrack we’ve all been waiting for. If I ever don a mask, call me Wonder-Happy! This project was the longest I’ve ever worked on a single title. I could wax nostalgic for hours about the various bittersweet memories and heartwarming moments I had with my teammates over the course of production.

 

Burnt by the searing sun of summer,

Touched by the lonely winds of autumn,

We cross the perilous thin ice of winter,

Will spring never come!?

 

Wow, I’m not sure what came over me. I was about to go into a Wonder-White-esk soliloquy. For sensitive listeners like myself, I recommend the track “A Sign” from Vol. 1. It may seem like just a short atmospheric BGM, but because it is so versatile, we ended up using it as a connecting piece throughout the game! Even the staff have forgotten how many times we used it, but if you have time on a rainy afternoon, feel free to give it a count! Until next time!

Hitomi Kurokawa

Hello everyone, my name is Kurokawa. The soundtrack for The Wonderful 101, the first game I worked on, will be available starting today! I’m speechless! When you spend over a year working on something, you really get emotionally attached. I got really excited when I heard it was going to get a digital release!

The other day I went back and listened to all 127 tracks…wow, that sure is a lot of music. Intense too, especially the second half.

The theme phrase is used in over half the songs, so it is a lot of fun to see how it has been arranged in its various iterations. Before long you’ll be spotting that theme phrase like a champ. To both fans of the game and those of you who have not yet had a chance to play it, I hope you enjoy the music we made and, as you listen, find yourself immersed in the heroic world of The Wonderful 101!

Composers

From left: Akira Takizawa, Hitomi Kurokawa, Hiroshi Yamaguchi

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Enemy Design in Bayonetta 2 (Pt.2)

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2, Games

Hello everyone. Bayonetta 2 director Yusuke Hashimoto here again.

I’ve taken some time out from watching and re-watching the Japanese Bayonetta 2 TV spot to bring you some more info on the game.

While the first post on enemy design focused on angels, this time I would like to discuss a brand new enemy type making their debut in Bayonetta 2: demons.

Unlike the strict hierarchical structure of the angels, demons subsist in a brutal dog-eat-dog world. For their appearance, I tried to avoid the cliché sinister look and go for something more inorganic, almost robotic.

 

Hideous
Hideous

Its appearance evokes a feeling of “hatred given form”. I designed it as a beast that prowls around Inferno, looking for prey. Unlike its angelic counterpart Acceptance (centaur), I feel like the design for this one came together (relatively) quickly.

 

Fury
Fury

It can slow your movement by shooting you with magic energy shot from its eye. The key concept for its design was “paralyzing gaze”. I gave its attack easy to understand ON / OFF states by having it open up to reveal the eye.

 

Pain
Pain

This character is about the same level of the angel Beloved in terms of strength. My goal for the design was to add something fresh to the battles by going as far from a regular humanoid shape as possible. I also just thought it would be cool to have an enemy that transformed from a tombstone. I love the unique way the animation staff got him to move. He is quite a formidable foe.

Let’s take a look at slightly different kind of enemy:

 

Golem
Golem

I’m sure this name will sound familiar to fans of the first game. Neither angel nor demon, this enemy can change its shape to adapt to battle.

Now I would like to introduce some of the demons that have forged contracts with Bayonetta.

Let’s start with one of the most iconic Infernal Demons from the first game:

 

Gomorrah
Gomorrah

Expanding on the design from the first game, this time we show its whole body.

Thanks to the incredible work of the modeling artists, Gomorrah was able to make the change from ally to terrifying giant boss character.

Next we have a demonic dog who has stolen Gomorrah’s place!

 

Labolas
Labolas

It’s born with faces on both hands and feet. As I designed it, I imagined how they would fight over food…

Next is a horse demon with a giant blade attached to its head!

 

Diomedes
Diomedes

In addition to this guy, there are a variety of other demons that make their first appearance in Bayonetta 2. Of course, you can’t discuss demons without also mentioning the new “Umbran Climax” system. When using Umbran Climax, the demon that is summoned with each attack depends on the weapon you have equipped. Equip your favorite weapon and give it a try. Exactly how will each demon appear? You’ll just have to play and find out!

By the way, one of the demons was actually designed by a very special guest collaborator named Eiichi Shimizu. Some of you may know him from his artwork in the manga series Kurogane no Linebarrels and ULTRAMAN. The enemy he designed is visible in the E3 2014 trailer (see 0:50)

 

Also, Check out his blog to see his awesome rendition of Bayonetta!

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Bayonetta 2 Nintendo Direct!

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

We’ve finally reached one month before the game’s release. Hope you’re ready for some fast paced climax action!

Did you happen to see the special Bayonetta 2 Nintendo Direct last week? For those who missed out, catch up here:

If you don’t know, Nintendo Direct is a semi-regular news info reel showcasing some of Nintendo’s up and coming titles. Sometimes it tackles multiple titles at once; sometimes it only focuses on one. Last week, there was a 30 minute Direct all about our very own Bayonetta 2.

This Nintendo Direct was hosted by the game’s director, Yusuke Hashimoto, and… none other than myself, the producer, Akiko Kuroda! Hashimoto, being a seasoned media vet, seemed pretty chill in front of the camera, whereas I’m sure I looked like a nervous wreck. Anyway… that’s neither here nor there. This Direct covered all the bases, starting at Bayonetta 2’s basic gameplay and ending with a few new reveals. Whether you preordered the game months ago, or you’re still undecided about making a purchase, I think this Bayonetta 2 special will have some pretty cool info for anyone who tunes in.

This Bayonetta 2 Direct actually had something never before seen in any previous Nintendo Direct: a small slice of live gameplay commentary. We had some script to help us out, but just some. Honestly, it was almost all ad-lib.

We also got to show off some of the game’s co-op mode, Tag Climax. Believe it or not, this was actually the first day Hashimoto and I ever played 2-player together. Of course, we’ve worked together on the game so long that we should be a natural pair by now. At least, you’d think… well, maybe you should just watch the video and see for yourself.

It should go without saying, but there’s so much more you can convey through video about a game than with just words. It was a fun experience that I’m excited to try out again. As always, keep checking out the blog here for more insight on the making of Bayonetta 2.

If you’ve got any other questions about the presentation, just contact me on Twitter:

Don’t be shy about messaging me in English, I’ll just bug  for a translation! See you again!

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