Music in Bayonetta 2

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hello, my name is Masami Ueda, lead composer for Bayonetta 2. I was a composer on the first game as well, which was what, five years ago now?

For this entry I’ll talk about the music in Bayonetta 2.

First, let’s discuss battle themes. The last Bayonetta had a bit of a low-key tone in its battle themes at times. This time we’ve gone for a much livelier feel. We’ve upped the style, and tried a few new things, such as sticking to a standup bass rather than an electric, which gives the music a different, new tone.

This leads into the game’s boss themes. In Bayonetta 2, I tried to have the boss themes divided into movements that went with each stage of the fight. This made it a lot harder to find where to smoothly loop the song, but the added impact was worth the effort. See if you can notice when you play.

I don’t want to give away anything that hasn’t been revealed yet, so I’ll use the Gomorrah fight from the E3 demo for my example. This song is broken up into four phases: the battle’s beginning, the middle of the building, the top of the building, then the end of the battle.

*This video was taken from a build of the game that may differ with the retail version.

Hopefully that gives you an idea of how the songs evolve over the course of battle. There’s a lot to take into consideration: what’s happening in the fight, what’s happening to the character, what emotions you want the player to feel… I wanted to have the song develop in a way that complemented all of these.

Okay, next let’s talk about the stage themes. Most of these songs are made from loops, but some are a single song that lasts from the start of the stage to its finish (in reality, these are made up of around ten songs strung together into one; they transition based on the player’s progress). Sometimes I think it’s okay to stretch a song’s length and have it loop, but I liked the overall effect of combining a number of songs into one, and got really into that method this time around.

Last, I’ll say just one thing about the theme song. Like “Fly Me to the Moon” from the first Bayonetta, the theme song of Bayonetta 2 has a connection with the moon. What it is, though, is still a secret, so look forward to its reveal.

Most of the composers for the original Bayonetta returned to help out on Bayonetta 2. Compared to the original’s 150 songs, Bayonetta 2 boasts 183 songs in total. This isn’t just a numbers game though, people. Five years is some significant time, so expect improvements in Bayonetta 2’s sound quality as well.

Thanks for reading!

(Special Announcement)
The Bayonetta 2 Original Soundtrack has been confirmed for release! Thanks to the warm reception of the first game’s soundtrack, we’re able to present you with another full soundtrack that features every song in the game. We’ll get into further details on this blog a little bit later, so stay tuned!

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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.

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The gauge from the first game (Xbox 360)

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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.

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The shop screen from the previous game

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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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Angel/Demon Sound Design

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hello, my name is Daisuke Sakata. I was the sound designer for the original Bayonetta and now Bayonetta 2.

Some of you may not know exactly what a sound designer does, so I’ll start off with a brief explanation. Basically, I handle all the sounds in the game outside of music: I make all the sounds related to character actions, and the sounds that go with the environment, like rain and fire. I also organize voice data and edit the multi-audio for every cut scene.

So, ultimately my job covers a pretty broad spectrum, but today I thought I’d talk to you about some of the enemy SFX in Bayonetta 2.

Bayonetta 2 has many more types of enemies than the original, and it features demons: a whole new category of enemy. My job making enemy SFX could be broken up into two parts. The first part involves creating base sounds, such as gunshots, sword swings, and so on. Then, I create sounds that characterized angels and demons, and blend them with the base.

Creating a base sound consists of just replicating a sound that players are familiar with from what they hear in other games, movies, etc. Most people have their conceptions of what a gun being fired or a hammer being slamming down should sound like, so these are easily communicated.

Creating a sound that is angelic, or demonic, on the other hand, is a little trickier, as perception really changes from person to person. If we were to say that our base thwacks and bangs were like toast, these sounds would be like the spread. Ultimately the fact that you’re having a piece of toast doesn’t change, but the taste changes completely depending on if you’re using butter or jam.

As far as angelic sounds were concerned, we had figured out our overall concept for angelic sound design in the first game, so that was a process of simply importing those sounds over. The real challenge for us was figuring out what a demonic sound was, since those enemies didn’t exist in the first game.

If angelic sounds could be described with words like sacred and divine, we figured demonic sounds would probably best be characterized by the opposite, words like profane and unholy. I started creating sounds by using these keywords as a guide.

The game’s director, Hashimoto, would come over and review what I’d come up with, then turn down ideas one by one until we could start to get a feel of the direction we wanted to take sound design in. By the later stages of sound design, Hashimoto was able to say just—

“Add the demonic sweeteners.”

And I’d say, “No problem!”, and know just what he wanted me to do.

As a side note, our term for angelic elements was “magical sweeteners.”

I focused on enemy sound design for this blog, but of course the sound team puts a lot of effort into making any sound you hear in the game. Ultimately, you’re the one who gets to decide if anything sounds good or not, but we try to give the game sounds that will enhance how fun the game is, so we hope you’ll agree when you play. Try to keep the different nuances of sound in mind as you play! See you again!

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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

uma

 

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

muchi

 

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

sakana

 

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

ryu

 

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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Giving Effects an Edge

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hi, my name is Koji Tanaka, I am the Visual Effects Lead for Bayonetta 2. Recently I’ve taken up walking to get some exercise.

Let’s start by discussing what the effects section actually does. The short version is, we make the fire, the smoke, the heavy rain, and the snowfall. We make the visual effects for each move and magic attack. Our job is important for setting the tone for the game, giving it the right atmosphere, and the right feel.

For this entry, I’d like to talk about the battle VFX we made for Bayonetta 2.
Bayonetta is a series where you fight, fight, and fight some more. To get the most out of the game, it’s best to fight groups of enemies building one combo on the other. Every time you execute a combo, there are effects that go with it. There’s actually a little more thought put into balancing these effects than you might think. What I mean is, there’s an ironclad rule that effects should never hide a player’s motion. That may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s actually not so easy. We want battles to be exciting and have lots of stunning effects, right? So we tend to get carried away. If we add too much, though, you’re unable to see your character and the game becomes unplayable. As the player, your eyes should be on the enemy and your own character, not the effects. That being said, if we start being too safe making effects, battles are boring.

In the end, we decided to make over-the-top effects that would fade out nice and quick, with just a hint of the effect lingering behind. In other words, we tried to give them an edge. Rather than giving the effects too much screen time, we chose to give them a brief, brilliant appearance, leave an impression in the player’s mind, and then have an echo remain, to still give the effect some presence in the battlefield.

Look, maybe a movie will speak louder than words.

Here’s an effect before giving it an edge.


*This video was taken from a build of the game that may differ with the retail version.

Now, with an edge:


*This video was taken from a build of the game that may differ with the retail version.

Did that make it easier to understand? Originally we were making VFX similar to the first video, but it interfered with gameplay too much. So we visualized taking effects in a new direction, and came to where we are now. It might sound like a subtle difference, but that subtlety is important. You’ll realize that when you’re stringing combos together. The more manic the battle, the more this method works.

That’s something you’ll just have to play and see for yourself, though. When you feel the sweat in your hand as you grip the controller, I think you’ll get it. I look forward to the moment when you do! Bayonetta 2 is an action game where every department devoted time and thought on how to put together the most satisfying kind of action game possible. I hope you can see that for yourself when it comes out. Each day we’re getting closer to its release! Until then, keep visiting here and checking our blog out!

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Cities and Waterways

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

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

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

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

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The Belgium Palace

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In Game

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

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Church of Our Lady

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

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In Game

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

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

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

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Florence

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In Game

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

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firenze4

Florence

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

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Santa Margherita Ligure

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Venice

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

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Venice

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Venice

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In Game

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

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

 

 

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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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Figuring Out Damage Motion

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hello everybody! I’m the lead motion designer for Bayonetta 2, my name is Takaaki Yamaguchi. I’ve been making motion in action games for over ten years now. That fact is starting to make me feel old.

Anyway, let’s talk about what a motion designer does. We discussed this back in our old Bayonetta blogs as well, but basically, we give movement to anything in the game that requires motion. We end up playing an important role in several areas of the game—making sure all the characters don’t look like they’re stumbling around, getting the main character’s controls to feel right, making enemy movement easy to understand, and so on.

Working on a sequel, it was our job to carry over the feel of the motion from the original Bayonetta, and make it even better. For this blog, I’d like to talk specifically about damage motion for enemies. You know, that motion you see when you land a huge deathblow on an enemy and they get knocked back and explode or whatever. You might have never thought that deeply about it, but for an action game, getting the right reaction out of the enemy after you’ve pulled off a killer combo is absolutely critical. Do a slack job and the thrill of battle will turn into a total letdown. Enemy damage motion is something I’ve always regarded as highly important in the games I’ve worked on. I always am asking myself if there’s not something new I can try to create more satisfying combat than before.

My challenge to myself for Bayonetta 2 was to create the right enemy motion for each attack. We had plenty of enemy reactions that would change depending on what attack Bayonetta performed, but I wanted to take this further for Bayonetta 2. It’ll probably be easier to understand if you just see it, so take a look at the videos below.

This is Bayonetta:

This is Bayonetta 2:

What’d you think? It’s easy to focus on Bayonetta, but if you watch the enemy in both videos, you’ll notice it plays the same motion for each attack in the first video, while in the second, the enemy’s reaction changes based on the kind of attack being performed.

This is just one example from the game, but each little detail like this I think really added up to make a great feeling game overall. Doing a little research, I realized that the enemies in Bayonetta 2 have an average of 3.5x the number of reactions as those in the original.

Well, I could keep writing and posting videos about how this game feels, but obviously there won’t be any way for you to know until you’ve actually put the controller in your hands and are playing the game yourself. If I’ve driven anyone’s curiosity, please try playing the game after its release.

Until next time!

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Character Design Pt. 1: Bayonetta and Jeanne

BAYONETTA 2

Filed: Bayonetta 2

Hello, nice to see you again. My name is Mari Shimazaki and I’m a freelance designer.

I worked on the concept art for Bayonetta and now Bayonetta 2. Today I’d like to give you a little insight into Bayonetta and Jeanne’s new designs.

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First, let’s talk about Bayonetta, the “modern witch”, and this game’s main character. Those who played the previous title are likely to notice that her trademark hairstyle has been given a complete makeover. After talking with Hashimoto and Kamiya, the three of us came to the conclusion Bayonetta’s not the kind of girl who’d show up with the same hairstyle for her sequel. A girl can be known to change her hairstyle depending on her mood, so I guess Bayonetta was in the mood for something short. Still, knowing her, there’s no telling when she’ll decide to change it again.

Bayonetta’s overall theme this time is “Solid.”

She’s still wearing black, and I think her shorter hair gives her a generally more masculine look. While her design in the last game focused on curves, this time we see more straight lines. All of her accessories follow this, except her glasses, which I gave a slightly softer design.

There was some debate about where to show skin. Once we decided her new cape would come around to the front, we closed the front of her suit off to let the cape stand out. In exchange, we opened up a lot in back.

As water is a big theme of the second game, Hashimoto requested to make her key color blue. This turned out to be a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.

Blue doesn’t have the sharp quality of red, her previous key color. As it’s relatively easy on the eyes, making it stand out among all the other textures and colors in the game is a huge headache. On top of that, I had to balance it with black and silver (these colors were also decided right off the bat), which also is not easy. Ever since we decided Bayonetta should wear a sleak, black outfit, it’s always been a nightmare trying to have her properly stand out.

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With her guns, finding a good balance of color took a lot of brainstorming. Accenting blue too strongly or giving it too much space didn’t fit Bayonetta’s look. We arrived at the final design by giving them a more striking shade of blue, adding some gold to match her chestpiece, and spreading a silver luster across each gun.

We’ve given Bayonetta’s new guns some antique charms to match her new look. I drew flower cameos that I felt matched the respective gun’s color, and emotion connected to that color.

Taking a step back and looking at how Bayonetta’s design turned out, I realize we went in a direction completely opposite from the last game. That also makes me think Bayonetta’s new look is possible because of her previous one, and will stand out because of that contrast.

I think she gives off a different impression than before, but still owns the name Bayonetta.

Jeanne

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Okay, next, let’s talk about Jeanne’s design.

The keyword for Jeanne’s concept design in Bayonetta 2 is “casual.” Design started when Kamiya came up to me and said “I want to put her on a bike. Draw me a biker suit.”

Jeanne is one of Kamiya’s favorite characters, so most anything Hashimoto and I said would get shot down instantly. I just drew biker suit after biker suit until one was approved. There were actually a few more he liked, but they all maintained a relative simplicity similar to her final approved outfit.

I didn’t intend to accentuate this part of her in my concept art, but Kamiya said Jeanne looks flatter than ever. He was happy about it too, so that’s fine I guess.

Thinking of how she would look side by side with Bayonetta, we decided to give her long hair. I wish I was a witch and could just summon my hair into any hairstyle I wanted.

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Jeanne still uses her All 4 One’s in Bayonetta 2. Her charms, though, I decided to update with a personal touch. For the last game, I based her charms off each respective gun’s name, but this time I used the name of the whole set as the motif and made Three Musketeers plushes. I borrowed the color scheme from the Three Musketeers Anime.

If I gave these charms to Bayonetta, I feel it’d be a little too much altogether, but I think they add the perfect pinch of sugar to Jeanne’s design. Personally, I’m happy with how they turned out.

Okay, that’s all for this time.
Please look forward to the game’s release. See you again.

 

 

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