Bayonetta 2 – Lesser Known Facts

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hi everyone, this is the producer of Bayonetta 2, Akiko Kuroda.

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, it might look like I’ve recently switched jobs and started working in the pastry industry, but I can assure you — I still work at PlatinumGames. Don’t worry, I just have a sweet tooth..

Usually, as a producer, I’d use the developer’s blog to discuss how I promoted the game and exactly what that entails. This time, however, I’ve decided to change the pace up and talk about some lesser known Bayonetta 2 facts. Buckle up!

Some Tips about the Chain Chomp

wanwan1

Something tells me a lot of you have probably already acquired the hidden weapon we did with Nintendo, the Chain Chomp. As a dog-lover, I can’t get enough of this little guy’s canine tendencies. The way he hops along connected to his “leash”, the barking sound he makes, how he starts attacking before you even ask him… and especially the way he falls asleep when he becomes bored: everything about this guy is simply great. I’ve got nothing but puppy love for this guy.

wanwan2

(Here he is taking his typical midday nap).

Phew! Okay, sorry. I’ll try to keep a cork on the Chain Chomp PDA. Let’s get to something you can actually use. So, we all know that the Chain Chomp is a weapon, but did you know you can also use him to sniff out treasure? Sometimes, Chomp might start barking and tugging on his chain as you’re proceeding through the map. This means there’s a treasure nearby and he’s trying to get it. If you feel like you might be missing some of the game’s treasure chests, try him out for a bit.

Just be warned that he won’t react to treasure chests in other dimensions. I guess he can’t catch their scent or something.

wanwan3

Chain Chomp attempting to drag Bayonetta to a treasure chest.

I still can’t believe Nintendo let us use the Chain Chomp for the game. Originally, when the director Hashimoto sent them some collaboration ideas, we included the Chain Chomp thinking we had little to no chance they’d actually allow us to use one of their most iconic characters as a weapon. Nevertheless, they pretty much gave us consent without batting an eye. We were thrilled.

Later, I was testing it out in a check of the game and saw it get hurled at the enemy and explode. As a producer, I was a little terrified of the thought that we were going to actually show Nintendo one of their most cherished characters blowing up in front of their faces. And yet… they were completely on board with it. I don’t know how it happened, but I’m grateful for it!

Cancelling your Umbran Climax

umbran_stop

I mentioned this on Twitter a while back and got a pretty large fan response, so I thought I’d introduce it here as well.

We all have those times in our lives when we start an Umbran Climax and end up killing everything on the screen in one second, watching our gauge drain slowly to zero with no way to stop it.

Bayonetta, standing around watching her magic gauge drain slowly because she completed a verse right after activating her Umbran Climax. Where are the forces of Paradiso when you need them!?

I’ve got news for you. After you’ve started the Climax, try pressing the L button again. You’ll exit your Umbran Climax and preserve the rest of your magic gauge. You won’t be able to enter Umbran Climax until you build you gauge up to full again, but at least you won’t have to expend any gauge without actually using it.

The Beetles

Some of you may already know, but we here at PlatinumGames have a continued tradition of hiding beetles in our games.

I haven’t heard of anyone finding it in Bayonetta 2, but it’s there! Get to looking.

beetle

Here’s proof!

There should be a good number of hints in that screenshot, so use that as a guide and see if you can find it. And yes, of course there’s one in the original Bayonetta as well. It’s said that those who find the beetles in both Bayonetta games will be rewarded with eternal happiness. Like you need it! You’re playing Bayonetta 2!

 

Okay, well that’s all I’ve got for now. Hopefully I can drop by again sometime!

Take care.

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The Climax Situation Process

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hi, my name is Hirono Sato, I was a game designer who planned the “Climax Situations” in Bayonetta 2.

We’ve tried our best to have just as many impactful game play situations in Bayonetta 2 as we did in the original. Just how did we do it? I’ll illustrate that here with some examples.

 

Define your Objective.

The first Climax Situation I worked on in Bayonetta 2 was the fight with the giant dragon angel boss Glamor.

paul01

Director Yusuke Hashimoto’s Glamor concept art

I was asked to take this boss and think of a way to fight it that would really blow people away.

When I was assigned to this boss fight, there were actually two versions of it already. The problem was, the director wasn’t a terribly big fan of either of them and was asking me to rework some of what wasn’t interesting about it. You usually get problems like this in development; I always deal with them with the following mindset—

You can’t make something lackluster fun with just a little fix.

Sometimes, you have to look over the entire problem from another angle.

I know that the team tries their best. But if something is boring, it needs to be given a complete facelift.

The problem with the proposed Glamor boss fights when I started working on them was that neither of them felt fast-paced or suspenseful enough. So I got an idea that appeared in the original Bayonetta as well, surfing.

In the first Bayonetta, you fight this giant boss while surfing and I wondered to myself if we couldn’t make something similar work for Bayonetta 2.

At this point in development we already had the plans for a “mysterious youth” character that Bayonetta needed to chase after and save, so there was no problem justifying a surfing battle with regards to the scenario.

Also, this is obvious, but in order to surf, you need water to surf on. At first we were thinking of having Bayonetta fight Glamor inside some kind of whirlpool, but that was the same idea they used in the original Bayonetta, so I wanted to try something different.

Eventually I came to the idea that if Glamor has this dragon-like appearance, maybe we could incorporate a tornado somehow (Japanese: Dragon-竜 Tornado-竜巻). Yeah… like a tornado of water…

paul02

Concept art by our artist Kan, back when the fight was planned to be inside a whirlpool.

 

Implement the Idea into the Game.

We had the basic concepts for the fight: Surfing, chasing Glamor, fighting on a tornado made of water. The next step was to combine these ideas and implement them into the game. It’s very important that you’re careful here to not ruin your perfectly good ideas when you try to build them inside the game.

Fortunately, one of our artists created an awesome piece of concept art depicting Bayonetta surfing on a tornado, chasing after Glamor. All we had to do was bring this work to life within the game.

paul03

Concept art surfing on a tornado of water

Since we couldn’t really have the exact same combat here as the rest of the game, we made the fight principally about dodging debris from buildings destroyed by Glamor. Though, if you were just doing this the whole fight you’d probably get pretty burned out, so we made sure there was a section halfway through where you could just wail on her.

 

Think of What Else You Can Add.

Now that we had our basic layout for the fight, next we had to think about how we were going to give it a climactic ending.

What about having the the tornado shoot up into the sky and end the fight in a “sea of clouds”? With that wording, it probably wouldn’t be unnatural if we had Glamor swimming around in there, and that would be pretty epic too.

Since Glamor is essentially running away from you in this fight, we also figured it’d create a healthy dose of suspense if we were able to express “if she gets this far, it’s over” somehow. Well, since we’re fighting an angel in the sky, why not have a door to Paradiso then?

The director and some of the rest of the staff, however, were not appeased. A lot of people spoke up and said, “I think we’re tired of seeing Glamor at this point.” Honestly, I kind of felt the same way.

“We needed something more!” Well, when you’re making a game, you hear that a lot. Whether you can do something about it or not, sets the pro game designers apart from the rest. When this happens, I don’t want to just make a gimmicky change, I want to add something that wasn’t there before. So instead of trying to change something about Glamor’s moveset and so on, I multiplied Glamor into three and had you fight all of them at the same time.
We’re nearing Paradiso, the enemy base, so I thought it would only be natural if the player was encountering more angels. I think this was successful in giving the fight a stronger sense of urgency/peril.

paul04

This is just one of the dozens of Climax Situations that we’ve included in Bayonetta, so do yourself a favor and try it out more than once, try it out multiple times—I hope you can get as much enjoyment out of it as possible.

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W101: Super Secret Codes

The Wonderful 101

Filed: The Wonderful 101

Hey, everyone.

It’s Ichi here! Remember me!?

Can you believe it’s already been 2 weeks since Bayonetta 2 released!?

Sometimes people tell me that game is the sole reason they bought a Wii U! Of course that makes us really, really happy, but while you’re at it, why not try The Wonderful 101 as well!? (Although I guess if you’re here on this site, reading this, you probably already have…)

Right, with that out of the way, I have a secret to share with you today!

We’ve been getting some messages here and there from people who are having trouble unlocking Wonder-Bayonetta in The Wonderful 101.

And with good reason! Out of all of the hidden characters in this game, Wonder-Bayo is by far the most difficult to get your hands on.

Our raven-haired beauty only shows herself to those who find all of the hidden items, fight the toughest enemies, and overcome the hardest challenges: only the most persistent and indomitable heroes!

 

In other words, one of the main reasons we put her in this game is that most elusive of holy grails in the world of video games: BRAGGING RIGHTS. You want to show off? You gotta WORK for it, buster! That’s how your efforts are rewarded.

So if you know someone who’s struggling to unlock this character, I’m terribly sorry, but you’re going to have to tell them this:

“UNITE UP OR SHIP OUT.”

Yeah. That’s right.

You think Bayonetta is the kind of gal that lets herself get unlocked by just mashing your palms on the controller for a couple of hours?

THINK AGAIN.

*************************

Originally, this is where this new blog post was going to end.

However, just as I was hovering my cursor over that alluring “Publish” button, my index finger poised to deliver the decisive left-click, Kamiya walked past my desk, glanced over my shoulder, and nonchalantly remarked: “You know there’s a code for that, right?”

 

I… uh… Wut?

 

Kamiya: “Yeah, you know, the cheat code? Didn’t we already tell people about this?”

Ichi: “Cheat… Co… duh?”

This is where I incurred the wrath of Kamiya, and he decided to grab me by my neck and drag me out into the backyard. “Don’t tell me you forgot about this?” he asked me with a smile that could freeze a raging volcano. I responded thusly:

“I’m absolutely amazed, Kamiya-san! (That you still remembered)

You came by with absolutely impeccable timing! (Even though it’s been over a year since the game was released)

I just wrote a blog on that very subject! (Just let me delete the entire text first)”

But the timing IS actually quite fortunate, since we just released Bayonetta 2, and the world is still in a Witch Time-induced craze, so if we’re going to reveal a secret code related to Bayonetta, surely the perfect timing would be NOW, since a lot of people have freshly purchased Wii Us in their homes, and now that plenty of them will probably already have finished Bayonetta 1 and/or 2, it is highly likely that they’re looking for something else to point their Scarborough Fairs and/or Love is Blues at and so this is the ideal opportunity to let people know that they can in fact play as the renowned Umbran Witch in a completely different type of over-the-top action extravaganza and…

I think I’m starting to ramble a bit.

So without further ado, I present to you:

The Super Confidential “Buying Hidden Characters In The Wonderful 101” Platinum Cheat Code That Totally Nobody Knows About Because It’s A Secret To Everybody!

You’re going to have to meet these conditions first though:

- You need to have completed the game (it’s fine if you did it on a low difficulty!)

- You’ll need a boatload of O-Parts. And we’re talking a BIG boat here. Like, one of the fancy ones with a swimming pool and casino and everything.

- The cheat code has to be entered in very specific areas of the game.

- The cheat code is always the same though: Hold down ZR and press ↑↓↑→←XBYA

(Just imagine that you’re using the d-pad to draw the P+ logo!)

If you managed to pull it off correctly, you’ll hear a familiar jingle, and you’ll be able to use the secret characters from the next stage on!

centinels_set

■ CENTINELS Set

Location: Starting position of the Prologue

Secret characters: Wonder-Captain, Wonder-Scarf, Wonder-Gramps

Special price: 1000000P

rival_set

■ Rivals Set

Location: Operation 009-B, starting position of the battle with the shield-generating device

Secret characters: Prince Vorkken, Chewgi, Immorta

Limited-Time-Only deal: 1000000P

memories_set

■ The Olden Days Set

Location: Operation 006-B, during the battle with Laambo, the position shown in the picture above (use the bowl of noodle soup as a guide!)

Secret characters: Wonder-Daddy, Wonder-Future, Wonder-Red (Emeritus)

Super cheap price: 1000000P

newcome_set

■ Real Superheroes Set

Location: During the Epilogue, right after the first car is cut off

Secret characters: Wonder-Goggles, Poseman, Wonder-Director

We-Might-As-Well-Give-Them-Away deal: 1000000P

 

bayo_set

■ Bayo Setta

Location: Starting point of Operation 001

Secret characters: Wonder-Bayonetta, Wonder-Jeanne, Wonder-Rodin

Premium price: 2000000P

If you’ve already completed Bayonetta 1 and 2 and you still haven’t had enough of the time-twisting hair-weaving witch, but you just can’t seem to unlock all of those bottle caps in The Wonderful 101 either, just use the above code and you should be fine and dandy.

And you can still just go out and brag about it! Yay!

See you next time, everyone!

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Designing the Collaboration Costumes

Bayonetta

Filed: Bayonetta

Hello, I was the Nintendo costume collaboration designer for the Bayonetta Wii U port, my name is Yong-Hee Cho. For this blog, I’d like to talk about the design process for creating these costumes.

It all started one day when Kamiya walked up to my desk and said, “Hey Cho. Draw Bayonetta in a Princess Peach outfit for me. Thanks.”

He walked off to leave me thinking to myself, “P-p-p-princess Peach and Bayonetta? How am I supposed to find the common ground between these two characters!? They’re like night and day…”

At the same time, I was intrigued, and wanted to try to design something for two characters that different.

So, she was the first character I started out with. I decided to first just draw Bayonetta, so I’d have a base design to work off I could “dress up” in other costumes.

cho_001

(Really, it’s not necessary to go this far, but… I wanted to.)

Next, I put together some various costume ideas for Kamiya to look at. Right now, we’re still at very rough concept art.

cho_002

Personally, I thought it’d be fun to rearrange the Peach look a little bit, but Kamiya wanted it to be as close to the original as possible, so we ultimately went with (F).

He also requested two revisions:

  • Don’t let her hair down like that.
  • Attach a Mario charm somewhere.

 

This is how the Mario charm turned out.

cho_003

Here’s what Bayonetta looked like after I incorporated his feedback.

cho_004

I used this Peach to make the Daisy costume (Daisy has Luigi instead of Mario, of course).

cho_005

The next costume I did was for Samus Aran of Metroid fame. I’m really into mechanics, so I had the most fun designing this costume.

Here’s the first piece I drew.

cho_006

When Kamiya took a look at it, he said he wanted it to be the Powered Suit from the first Metroid game for NES. The original Metroid is around 30 years old now so unfortunately there’s not a whole lot of artwork to base my design on. I ended up just studying the game sprite and package art. This is how it turned out.

cho_007

It’s supposed to have more of a retro look. What do you think?

 

As I designed these costumes, I would think, when we have the player transforming into Peach, wouldn’t it be cool if we could change game play up somehow as well? Then, one day I thought, what about having Bowser’s punches and kicks be used for Bayonetta’s Wicked Weaves? I pitched the idea to Kamiya and he said “sounds good, do it.” The next idea I thought of was having Samus Bayonetta change to her Morph Ball. This, unfortunately, didn’t make it into Bayonetta Wii U, but… it did make it into Bayonetta 2! Thinking of these little extras is really one of the rewarding parts of working in games.

cho_008

Here’s what the Morph Ball looks like. Those red parts are kinda based on the 8-bit graphics of the first Morph Ball from Metroid.

 

Last is Link. I don’t think this costume was a grand departure from his design, so Kamiya approved of it quickly. All of these costumes, however, needed to be run by Nintendo as well.

cho_009

When I gave the designs to Nintendo to check, I was worried about how “kid-friendly” Bayonetta looked. Like, I didn’t think it’d be a good idea to show too much cleavage, you know… but when Nintendo looked at my Link design, they actually suggested to me to open up her top a little more… Wow.

cho_010

Here’s what the final approved design looked like.

cho_011

Overall, I think I was able to keep Bayonetta’s personality in these new arrangements, so I was pretty pleased. Each costume comes with different sounds and visual effects as well, so be sure to check them out in both games. Thanks for reading! See you again.

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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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Cut Scene Production in Bayonetta 2

Bayonetta

Filed: Bayonetta, Bayonetta 2, Games, PlatinumGames

Hello!

My name is Kunihiko Tsuda, and I was in charge of cut scene production for Bayonetta 2.

Today, I’d like to talk about how we produced the cut scenes for this game.

Two of the many distinguishing characteristics of the original Bayonetta were its unparalleled over-the-top action, and its cast of unique characters.

Today, I would like to talk about how we incorporate these unique characteristics and action sequences into our cut scenes.

First of all, like Bayonetta 1, the scenario for this game was written by Hideki Kamiya. For fear of spoilers, I won’t go too deep into the story here, but I can promise you that the script is every bit as crazy as the first game (if not considerably more so), so you’ll just have to play the game and see for yourself!

Based on this script, we first created video storyboards to decide on the direction and the characteristics of each scene.

At this stage of development, it’s also common to use regular non-video storyboards, but since Bayonetta 2 has a lot of new characters, and since Bayonetta herself hasn’t remained unchanged since the first game either (not that she has a different personality or anything), we decided that it would be best to create video storyboards in order to make it easier for Yusuke Hashimoto (The game director), and Yuji Shimomura (The cut scene director. Thanks for all the hard work on Bayonetta 1 as well!) to reach a mutual understanding on how to convey that Bayonetta has changed and grown as a person since the first game.

Here’s an example:

For comparison, this is what Bayonetta was like in the first game:

As you can see, her clothes have changed quite a bit as well.
Actually recording the scenes allowed us to get a clearer impression of how each scene played out, so that we could settle on the details for the characters and stage direction at an earlier stage in the production process.

Of course, we make stage directions on which the production is based for the video storyboards for action scenes as well.

Next, we record the motion capturing based on these video storyboards.
At this point we make detailed adjustments and revisions to the stage direction as well, based on the backgrounds and cut scene trigger points, which we will have mostly worked out at this stage of development.

The motion capture data is then used to create the scenes with the help of 3DCG tools.
The data is applied to the backgrounds and character models and further tweaked.
This part of the process is very important, especially when it comes to action scenes.
This is where we give the cut scenes their typical Bayonetta-like qualities, by accelerating motions to a speed that is not possible for actual human beings, and by creating lots of physically difficult poses for Bayonetta herself.

Since Bayonetta 2 has many different kinds of gigantic monsters and enemies, this part of the process is even more important.


*This video was recorded while the game was still in development, so it looks different from the final product.

After this step, the camera direction and character motions are almost completely fixed. The only thing that remains is output to the console and postproduction work (lighting, VFX, screen filters etc.).

That’s the general flow of the process, in a very tiny nutshell.

It might be hard to believe, but I truly think that the cut scenes in Bayonetta 2 are even more crazy and over-the-top than the first game, so I hope you play the game to check them out for yourself!

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UI Design in Bayonetta 2

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hello, my name is Hisayoshi Kijima. I was in charge of UI in Bayonetta 2.

The UI (User Interface) division is tasked with making the overhead peripheral elements of the game that make gameplay easier for the user to understand. In layman’s terms, we design the vitality gauge, the lock-on cursor, the in-game menus, and so on.

Our general UI workflow for Bayonetta 2 was to have the lead UI artist, Mai Ohkura, determine artistic direction, and for me to execute on that vision and think about how to implement it into the game.

Ohkura was in charge of UI design in the first Bayonetta, and worked as a concept artist in Bayonetta 2, UI concepts included. My job was to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the first game’s UI elements and work with Ohkura and the programmers to improve UI format and structure. Ultimately our goal was to keep the Bayonetta aesthetic that was established in the first game and give it a “brush up.” To the director, this meant adding more realism to the design. Mostly, this means updating the textures of your material assets, but I found it was also important to give a reason to the UI design choices you make that feels natural.

For example, in the first Bayonetta, if you take damage, your vitality gauge turns red. It’s simply systematic cause and effect. This time, in Bayonetta 2, we created a flash of red light that hits the gauge and makes it reflect red when damage is taken.

01_gauge_bayo1

 

 

 

 

The gauge from the first game (Xbox 360)

02_gauge

 

 

 

 

The gauge from Bayonetta 2 (now that we have a scientific reason for why the gauge is turning red, the colors have a more natural feel)

By justifying the UI this way, we felt we were able to add more realism to an inherently magical world like Bayonetta’s. Though the red light itself may come from an unnatural source such as magic, the act of the light hitting the gauge is a natural phenomenon. We used this method of thought to guide other UI design decisions in the game as well.

03_shop_bayo104_shop_bayo1

The shop screen from the previous game

05_shop106_shop2

Shop screen from Bayonetta 2 (layout/animation redesigned to place more emphasis on item images, making the items look like real objects vs. thumbnails)

In the previous Bayonetta, UI would use a lens flare animation effect in certain situations, and each of these situations was designed separately. In Bayonetta 2, we made every instance of lens flare to be horizontal anamorphic, so it would look like it was all taken with the same lens. We did this everywhere except in special cases we intentionally wanted to be different, such as healing animations, etc.

07_lensflare108_lensflare2

Horizontal anamorphic lens flare. This appears on the vitality gauge, the combo meter, confirming something within a menu, and so on.

Another goal of the UI team was to incorporate a look into the design unique to Bayonetta 2’s aesthetic. In the previous Bayonetta, the UI design included a lot of curvature, which was influenced by the heavy presence of Paradiso in the game. In Bayonetta 2, we made the lines more rigid and gave the overall palette a colder feel (the Result Screen below is an easy to understand example).

If the previous game’s UI design was based off of Paradiso, what influenced the UI design in this game? You’ll just have to play Bayonetta 2 and try to figure it out yourself :)

I also felt it was my duty to clean up some of the harder to understand UI from the original. One example of this is the Result Screen. I changed the size and layout of the result screen for Bayonetta 2 and split the info up across two screens, which I think made things a little easier to comprehend. I also decided to put an image of a halo next to all halo-related numbers (currency in Bayonetta 2) so points and money were easier to differentiate.

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The Chapter Result Screen from the original Bayonetta

10_chapterresult111_chapterresult2

The newly revised Chapter Result Screen in Bayonetta 2 (the first page is for award related items, the second page is for non-related items)

To improve on the feel of controls, I employed the easing technique common in recent web design: a quick start with a gradual finish. Applying this technique to UI animation gave the game’s controls a better feel. I think it helped give more realism to the game as well. To get academic for a second, easing is based on the law of uniform motion, which is like how a car starts and stops. A car takes time to build up to a certain speed, then gradually slows down to a stop. Having UI animation work off this concept gave controls a more natural and thereby ultimately better feel.

One of the more difficult UI issues was figuring out how the cursor within the game’s submenus should behave. There were two camps as to what we should do, and finding the right balance took a lot of trial and error. My priorities were developing something intuitive that has a good feel, and is easy to get right off the bat. Other members of the team thought it was more important to create motion similar to what players are accustomed to. Eventually, we were able to take the greatest common factors of both sides and create a feel that I think everyone on the team was happy with.

14_subscreen

A submenu (the cursor moves along the magic circle, swinging from item to item)

Finally, as this game is a Wii U title, it includes touch controls. When designing menus for button and touch controls, it takes a lot of work to find a good balance between functionality and attractive visuals. If you get too carried away, you can tweak endlessly without ever finishing. In the end, we decided to make sure that button controls had the right feel, and then moved on to touch controls, making sure nothing felt off. A lot of small adjustments were necessary for making the design and input of touch controls as uniform throughout the game as possible, but by the time we were finished, I think we were able to create controls that players will enjoy trying out. It’s not all about aligning cursors and then inputting commands like it is with regular buttons, you just give a quick tap and you’re done, so sometimes it ends up being pretty convenient. Even for the more orthodox gamers, I suggest you give it a try!

15_touchsubscreen

The submenu using touch controls (one tap will replace the bottom right button explanations with the “back” button at the bottom left)

That’s all for my blog. I hope I was able to get across how things have leveled up since the original. Please enjoy Bayonetta 2, UI design included!

 

 

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Enemy Design in Bayonetta 2 (Pt. 1)

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hey everyone. My name’s Yusuke Hashimoto, the director of this game. Recently, I keep hoping someone will make a Bayonetta Amiibo for me.

I’d like to talk about enemy design, which is something I handled since the original Bayonetta.

Deciding on enemy designs in Bayonetta 2 was… not an easy process.

Why? Well—

-I have to design and be the director at the same time.
-I used too many good ideas in the first game.
-Now I have to come up with angel AND demon enemies.

I’ve got enough work as it is, so I’m baffled as to why I volunteered to be a designer. You get some crazy courage the first game you direct.

Anyway, let’s introduce a few of the enemies in this game. We’ll start with a few ideas I had for the original but didn’t have room to fit in.

Valiance

kubinashi

 

We call this guy Headless for short. I wanted him to have a powerful, solemn, sacred look to him, but also kinda be an idiot. The sword with the face on it is his actual body; the rest is just controlled by the sword. When I designed him I thought maybe the body holding the sword could be destroyed and replaced indefinitely, as long as the sword remained intact.

Next, we have the Magic Angel, who uses his staff to cast spells.

Enrapture

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I designed this character thinking it might be interesting to have someone who could change things up in battle by raising his allies’ attack power and healing other angels. With those two done, I’d hit the bottom of the idea bank I had from the first game.

To be honest, I feel like I put every creative idea I had in the first game. So, if the original’s enemies were good, why not just bring them back in the sequel and change them up some? Later I realized just how boneheaded of an idea that was. The more we developed the game, the more it became clear that a newly designed Bayonetta fighting not newly designed enemies was boring. As the director of the game, I wanted Bayonetta to fight something different. I had some trouble coming up with ideas until I realized—I should step away from using just the human frame as a base. That’s when I finally hit on something—our Centaur Angel.

Acceptance

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As you can tell from the picture, his concept is part human, part horse. He’s one of the more common enemies in the game.

In Bayonetta 2, dodging the enemy’s attack to activate Witch Time and then attacking relentlessly is central to gameplay. In order to accomplish this, it’s important to give enemies an outline and attacks that will be easy for the player to see (I assume this should go for more than just action games like Bayonetta, as well). So, for this game, we left the easiest “tells” that come with a human based design, but took some liberties with the new horse form, like putting his face on his stomach. We guessed Bayonetta’s attacks would likely land there, and it’d be fun to see what kind of reactions he’d make. I also tried to design his armor and accessories to give him a bit more of a “leveled up” appearance than the most common enemy in the original, Affinity (this is Bayonetta 2, after all).

I usually don’t keep my rough sketches, so I can’t really show you the process of how I went from human to horse, but I can say he’s probably the character I spent the most time designing. A lot of the other team members think he looks pretty big to be a common weak enemy, but I’m pretty happy with how he came out.

After finishing this enemy, the door was opened to completely revamp some angel enemy design. The next angel I worked on was this heavy armor guy.

Urbane

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I wanted this enemy to convey two things to the player through his design: he’s a power type, and has some kind of elemental attribute. So, I bulked the frame up on the top and gave him iron balls for both of his hands. In the game, he has a fire version and an ice version.

Next, let’s introduce Belief. This enemy’s been around since the premiere trailer.

Belief

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His concept was to make him asymmetrical so it would be easier to understand how he attacks. After I started designing Belief, I realized the first Bayonetta doesn’t really have any asymmetrical enemies, so it was relatively easy to draw him and think up attacks.

Here’s a new angel that kind of takes the place of the manta angel, the underwater enemy from the first game.

Fidelity

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Bayonetta 2’s initial location is Noatun, a coastal city full of rivers and lakes, so I wanted to create an enemy that could behave and move differently in and out of water.

Last, we have one of the bosses of the game, the Dragon Angel!

Glamor

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Since we have a dragon angel in the first game (Fortitudo), my biggest concern for this character was to have him look and behave differently.

Well, I thought I might get into some demon designs here too, but I’ve talked long enough already, so let’s save that for next time. See you again!

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Lighting in Bayonetta 2

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hi! I’m the lead background artist for Bayonetta 2, Shohei Kameoka. This is my first time writing for a dev blog, so I’m a little nervous. Bear with me. Okay, let’s get started.

One of my duties for Bayonetta 2 was to take care of all the lighting, water, air, and other indefinite objects in the world environments. Out of all those I spent the most time on lighting, so I thought I’d share a little on what kind of work I did.

In Bayonetta 2, many of the environments have a water theme, so I really wanted to make water in the game look beautiful. I tried to come up with some key concepts for water and worked off of the following: transparent, shining, clean, cool, something you would want to feel, something you would want to dive into. Then I thought about how I could use those words to choose the right lighting for water.

Transparent, clean, and shining all convey something clear, with a strong light shining on it. Cool, something you would want to feel, something you would want to dive into… to me, these all seem related to temperature. So, combining those two ideas, you’d probably picture a bright, sunny environment. I used that image as my guide.

Well, words can only say so much, so let’s explain with some pictures.

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1) This is a stage with no lighting. There are no shadows and everything feels 2-dimensional.

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2) Here’s just the lighting of the stage. You imagine the shape and depth of the shadows, and the structure of the buildings, and give it light. You can, of course, walk around and check the map out, so you get to see if you missed a spot.

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3) This is the first image blended with the second. At this point, we’re almost finished.

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4) Finally, we add the finishing touches. We adjust some colors, and give it some glare to strengthen the light’s presence.

I think I was able to give a sunny feel to this place, wouldn’t you say? The light reflects off the water and gives it a nice shimmer. As the sun is shining strong, the water also appears very transparent. It’s summer in Japan now… and all of a sudden I want to go for a swim.

Okay, well that’s my talk on lighting! Bayonetta 2 contains a lot of environments that contrast with this one, so see and try to think about how we used lighting in other places as you play! Thanks, see you again!

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At E3

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hi everyone. My name is Akiko Kuroda, and I’m the producer for Bayonetta 2 and the Wii U port of Bayonetta. This is actually my first job as a full-fledged producer, so being given two titles was quite a sudden crescendo to climax action. I’m doing my best to make sure both games are as amazing as they can be.

As far as technical talk goes, I’ll leave that to the other staff. For my entry, I’d like to discuss my trip to the industry’s biggest gaming expo, E3. Similar to last year, we brought a playable demo of Bayonetta 2. This year we were able to announce the Wii U port of Bayonetta, and that it will be sold packaged with Bayonetta 2, which met with a very positive reaction (Thank you to everyone who showed their enthusiasm. Wait just a little longer guys!).

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Here’s a pic of one of our stations in Nintendo’s area. The wicked witch was very popular!

Hashimoto and I had a very important reason for attending this year’s E3. We were there to promote. Media journalists from around the world gather at E3, and it’s our job to make sure they leave with a story that makes gamers happy. Luckily for us, a lot of the media wanted to hear us talk about Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2. I’m sure a lot of their articles have already gone up by now. Have you had the chance to read any of them?

We were asked all sorts of questions. A favorite question of mine was, “Most games fall back on a hero rescuing some helpless female character. What were your reasons to have Bayonetta feature a strong female protagonist?” This was more a question directed toward the Bayonetta series rather than just Bayonetta 2. There were people who doubted the choice of a female protagonist ever since we first revealed the original game’s development. Our internal team, on the other hand, didn’t mind. We just thought it would be interesting to have the main character be a witch. From there, we expanded on the concept: instead of thinking about how a female protagonist would limit us, we thought about what we could do because Bayonetta was female. Of course, a likeable character is an important thing, but to us, getting the controls right is always top priority. I’m sure there might be fans out there that have some reluctance towards playing as a female, but we’re confident that we’ve made Bayonetta look and feel as great as any PlatinumGames character should.

We also had some questions about the Touch Controls we implemented for the Wii U GamePad. We were able to show the controls in action at E3 and how easy it can be to perform huge combos with some simple Touch Controls. The Touch Controls really give the game a unique new feel and it only takes a simple tap to switch over. We’re sure there are some hardcore action fans who think they don’t need them, but we recommend you try it out at least once. You might be surprised.

Of course we got questions about the possibility of Bayonetta 3. You guys are so impatient. Bayonetta 2 isn’t even out yet! But yeah, we’d love to make 3 if we could…

In addition to the regular media runaround, this time Nintendo also held a special streaming event called Nintendo Treehouse Live*, and we got to take part.

*One by one, developers introduce their titles on a live broadcast across the web.

Nintendo’s goal for the event was to present titles with a more real, at-home approach instead of just deliver something scripted. There was some prep before we went on, but most of the talk was Hashimoto doing ad-lib.

To refresh your memory, Hashimoto, director of Bayonetta 2, was the producer of the first game. Back during its development, he traveled around the world doing countless press interviews, so he’s a pretty seasoned media veteran. He can improvise and go along with each situation without ever missing a beat. That means I was left to mostly sit quietly and play the game. Still, I had to be able to show off anything he would mention at the drop of a hat, so it required some level of skill… okay? (I actually hurt my right hand before the event from practicing too much… lol)

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Believe it or not, you don’t really get the chance to convey what you want about the game, or show it to your fans in such a direct way so often, so it felt great to be able to take part in Treehouse Live, and I hope to be able to do more events like it in the future. Also, as a game fan myself, it was pretty cool to see Miyamoto-san and Tezuka-san (Yoshi’s Woolly World) up so close! I heard 60,000 people tuned in to hear about Bayonetta 2. Normal numbers for attendees at a conference stop around the 100s, so it’s hard for me to even imagine that large of a crowd.

If you haven’t seen our Treehouse Live presentation yet, you can check out a digest of it here:

You’ll get to see what we included in our E3 Bayonetta 2 demo, as well as other info we only made public there!

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I was able to score a shot of Miyamoto-san playing some Wii U. I’m just now realizing we were in the same seat with the same controller!!

Most of my work at E3 was media interviews and Nintendo’s event, but if I get the chance later, hopefully I can share even more. We’ve only got three more months until Bayonetta 2’s release as well, so keep checking here as we reveal more new information.

I spent a lot of time at the Nintendo booth during E3, but that meant being able to meet Miyamoto-san, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.’s developers, MonolithSoft’s Xenoblade Chronicles X team, and talk about a lot more I can’t elaborate on! I also got to meet Aonuma-san, the current producer of the Zelda series, and thank him for letting us borrow Link’s costume. His reply was, “Anytime you have any other interesting ideas, let me know!” I’m holding you to those words, Aonuma-san…

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Here’s a pic of me and Tezuka-san. Yoshi’s Woolly World definitely takes the cake for cutest game at E3 2014.

P.S. I’ve been making some character-themed bentos on my twitter (@pg_kuroda). Have you been checking them out? I made a special bento for this blog: the Masked Lumen from Bayonetta 2.

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Who is this guy? Well, you’ll just have to wait and find out.

I’d say follow me for more Bayonetta 2 info, but my twitter’s mostly in Japanese, of course. Follow me anyway!

Thanks for reading my blog! See you again!

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