Conceptual Design in Bayonetta 2

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hello, my name is Mai Okura, I was the conceptual designer for Bayonetta 2. For the previous game, I was in my first year working at Platinum and in charge of its user interface (maps, menus, gauges, etc.). I remember giving then-producer now-director Hashimoto a lot of stress, so it was a bit of a surprise he let me back on his team. Those two games really mean a lot to me.

But anyway. You’re probably still stuck on the title “conceptual designer”, wondering what it means. Yeah, it’s a bit of a toughie. Games and movies as well often have several smaller parts that come together to form that game’s overall look and feel. This can include characters, enemies, environments, and UI too. It’s my job to create a style guide for all of these individual pieces and make sure they make sense when placed together.

This wasn’t my job in the first game, but I worked on UI under the conceptual designer and learned a lot about how important it is to have each of the game’s concepts working together to construct overall world design. I’m still pretty new at concept design and not doing anything that jaw-dropping at the moment, but I thought I’d try to take this blog as an opportunity to talk about what I think is really fascinating about Bayonetta 2.

There are two topics I’d like to touch on. The first one deals with the image below.

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As you can see, the base tones for the original Bayonetta were red and black, whereas in Bayonetta 2 they’re blue (representing Bayonetta) and gold (representing the game’s enemies). Compared to the image above it, you can tell the bottom screen gives off a much brighter, vivid impression.

What was so difficult about this was that while Bayonetta’s key color was blue, the key color for Aesir’s power was blue as well. Ultimately we resolved this issue by changing this mysterious power of Aesir’s to an emerald green, but it’s still kind of hard for players to discern, so I gave Aesir his own unique line patterns in his design to draw distinction from Bayonetta.

The second point I wanted to talk about was how much contrast changed between the two games. The first game has relatively low contrast, whereas colors in Bayonetta 2 are much brighter stand out a lot more. In the original Bayonetta, a lot of our inspiration was drawn from the classical architecture and landscape of Europe: you could see a lot of the curved lines in the works of Mucha and Gaudi, and things had an elegant Art Nouveau tone.

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(Top: Bayonetta/Bottom: Bayonetta 2)
In Bayonetta 2, however, there is a much stronger theme of straight lines and geometric shapes, as you can see looking at Aesir. There are also a lot more colors in this game in total; in Bayonetta and the other characters, the effects, and the UI as well. This might just be because Bayonetta 2 has more characters than the previous game. Looking at the two games side by side, I think you can admit that Bayonetta 2 has a more modern feel, whereas the first game feel’s more classic.

There’s a lot more I realize I could write… but I think I’ll stop here.

They may be the same series featuring the same main character, but there’s a lot in the world design of Bayonetta 2 that you won’t find in the original, and vice versa.

Take care!

*The official art book for Bayonetta 2, “The Eyes of Bayonetta 2”, goes on sale in Japan tomorrow! It includes concept art, 3D character models, the Hierarchy of Laguna, Lemegeton’s Guidebook, comments from the staff, and art from me! Be sure to take check it out!

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Bayonetta 2 Release Event Report & More!

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hey, everyone!

It’s Akiko Kuroda, producer on Bayonetta 2.

I recently bought Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and a really nifty hand blender, so the ratio of playing video games and cooking has increased drastically in my house over the past week or so. I just have to make sure not to get the two mixed up.
I know it’s a bit late, but I have some nice pictures to share today.

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Look at all these people! They were standing in a line that went all the way outside of the store. I wonder what they were waiting for…?

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Why, the release of Bayonetta 2, of course!

These pictures were taken at a special event held in Russia on the day that Bayonetta 2 was released.

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Everyone looks so happy to have gotten their hands on the game, which makes me very happy as well. Thanks for choosing Bayonetta 2, everyone! I hope you’re enjoying it!

 

Actually, there was a special treat for people who bought the game at this event: everyone received a pack of Loki cards, which were only made available in Russia!

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These are replicas of the tarot-like cards that Loki uses in the game.
It’s a full set of the 22 Major Arcana cards created by character designer Mari Shimazaki. If you managed to get your hands on these cards, it would be totally cool if you pretended to be Loki and tried to recreate some of the scenes in the game!*

I hope they turn this into an official product!!

(*PlatinumGames will not be held responsible for any physical, mental, or material damage resulting from recreating our cut scenes, not matter how awesome or hilarious)

 

Let’s look at some other pictures.

These were taken at a special release day event held in New York.
You could have your picture taken with Bayonetta herself, or try out some of the, uh, enchanting witch food.

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I would’ve loved to have been there!

Nintendo shared lots of stories about release day events from various other countries as well, and I was very happy and relieved to see the game was being so warmly welcomed all over the world, so I’m very grateful to all of you who picked it up!

As a small token of my appreciation, I have a few more tips to share, since our last blog was very well received. Hope you enjoy them! (Thanks to game designer Ryoya Sakabe for providing them!)
 
■Touch of Gold
Did you know that the environments you normally just run through actually contain several objects that reveal haloes when you touch them on the Wii U GamePad!? If you search every nook and cranny of every stage, you might become a halo millionaire in no time!

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(This very screenshot contains an object that releases a bunch of haloes if you touch it!)

((only when playing the game obviously, so stop tapping your PC monitor))

■Jeanne and the Ace Pilotkuroda_08

Here’s one about one of the costumes new to Bayonetta 2: The Star Mercenary costume.

You guys are smart enough to have figured out that equipping this costume will turn the fighter jets in the game into the vehicle of a well-known ace pilot. I wonder, though, how many of you have been able to realize this costume’s other bonus feature? If you have it equipped in the shooting stage of the game, pay close attention to Jeanne’s lines—notice that they’re different than before. You’ve heard them from somewhere else, we’re sure… (There’s something really wrong with your G-Diffuser if you haven’t).

Okay, that’s all for this time!

If you like all these tips and tricks enough though, we might just have to come back for a third installment.

Until then!

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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

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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.

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(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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Bayonetta 2 Storyboards!

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hi guys.

This is Bayonetta 2’s director, Yusuke Hashimoto.

How’s everyone enjoying the game?

 

The game has already been out in the west for two weeks, so now I’m getting bombarded with messages from all sides of the globe! Thanks so much, everyone!

I’m writing a special blog this time to introduce some of the storyboards I wrote for the game. Let’s give one scene a look:ゴモラ登場_00_ゴモラ登場_01ゴモラ登場_02ゴモラ登場_03_

These are the storyboards for the Gomorrah boss battle at the beginning of the game.

I drew them after it was decided that we were going to have a playable demo at Nintendo’s booth for E3, the first actual footage of the game to be shown to the public. Only, we hadn’t done any voice recording at this time, so I was a little curious as to how things were going to come together.

 

E3 2013 Demo (Gomorrah fight starts around 9:20)

This is a video recorded for IGN Live. The playable portion consisted of three parts: the jet battle, train battle, and then the Gomorrah fight. We designed each scene so transitions would require as little dialogue as possible.

Sometime after E3, we eventually finished voice recording and went back and worked voice back into the scenes. Might be pretty interesting to watch them back to back and see how they differ.

 

I now realize that doing these first storyboards for E3 helped us figure out some key parts of the game, such as how bosses should be introduced, and how to move from one part of the game to the next at a pace that doesn’t hurt the action.

 

Keep enjoying Bayonetta 2. See you again!

 

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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!

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■ CENTINELS Set

Location: Starting position of the Prologue

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

Special price: 1000000P

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■ 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

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■ 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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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

2mask

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!

sakabe_1_1

↑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?

010_E

No? Don’t get it?

 

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

010_A

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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