Bayonetta – Retrospect
Why the recent rumours of Sega's cancellation of Bayonetta 2 spells bad news for gamers.
Michael Plant is chief editor and writer of gaming ezine and blog GamesCatalyst.com, as well as editor of 'The Independent'’s games review printed in the Saturday supplement 'Information'. Established in February 2011, Games Catalyst endeavours to bring its unique brand of fact and satire to the videogaming community and, in tandem with 'The Independent', hopefully turn a few non-believers on to gaming while we’re at it.
Monday 14 May 2012
Bayonetta was a thing of beauty, a majestic game that didn’t just raise the bar for action titles, but did it with its own inimitable style and cocky, self-assured humour.
It overflowed with memorable set pieces, threw out new and exciting ideas, and somehow breathed new life into concepts we’d all experienced a hundred times before. It’s almost impossible not to imagine how good Bayonetta 2 could have been.
Videogame sequels, unlike their motion picture equivalents, usually enhance the reputation of a franchise. You have a team who’ve already created a successful game, an engine that’s already up and running, and a better understanding of exactly what it is that makes your characters tick. To coin a disgustingly overused phrase, sequels are ‘bigger, better and more badass’.
The original Bayonetta raked in accolades from the gaming press, vaunted for its electric fighting styles, its camp aesthetic and its refusal to take itself too seriously. This was everything we wanted our Japanese brawlers to be – lithe, hideously violent, difficult to master and full of moments that made your jaw hit the floor.
More than that though, Bayonetta was an irreverent masterpiece. Unafraid to play around with the foundations of its genre, it threw in homages to Space Harrier, OutRun and Afterburner as it did. Its impossibly long limbed protagonist might have been the focal point, but this was a game filled with interesting characters, breath taking settings and cheeky nods in the general direction of the rest of the games industry.
What shone through most was a development team brimming with confidence, unafraid to try new things. Bayonetta’s swagger belongs to them, her cocksure attitude a reflection of Platinum’s ability to work their digital magic. She is as graceful as she is brutal, as funny as she is quick to anger; a hyper sexualised avatar whose screen presence is more formidable than any muscular space marine or identikit solider.
Bayonetta gave us an action game without equal. From the lowly minions to the towering bosses, every creature you killed was honed to perfection, its patterns difficult to recognise, its weaknesses veiled until the precise moment you needed to strike. Behind the bloodshed and the chaos nestled a rhythm, a unique syncopation that had to be mastered in order to succeed.
And now it seems we’ll never see her like again, with a planned but unannounced sequel being shelved by Sega due to restructuring after some pretty disastrous financial results. Gaming is a business, despite what many think, and a stable ship is far more important to a publisher than critical acclaim.
Losing Bayonetta 2 isn’t just losing the next chapter in an intriguingly ridiculous story; it’s losing the next step in Japanese action games. Who knows what Platinum could have done with the critical success of their first outing ringing in their ears, and the added confidence of knowing there was a market waiting with baited breath for their next?
Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll never know, and all we can do is imagine just how good it could have been.
Life & Style blogs
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
Babies cry at night to stop mothers procreating, scientists claim
Naked yoga: the bare truth - it's already big in the US, and has now landed here
Childhood bullying 'can lead to depression and unemployment in adulthood'
Baby catches deadly meningitis infection from cat
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 The Hobbit: There and Back Again set for possible title change
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We provide business administration softw...