Having previously planned and directed the first two installments of Resident Evil for Capcom, respectively, video game designer Hideki Kamiya explored action-adventure game design as the director for the introductory installment of Capcom's Devil May Cry series. Following his directorial and writing roles for the Viewtiful Joe series, his last role at Capcom was as the director of another action-adventure, Ōkami. Moving onto the then-recently-founded PlatinumGames, Kamiya was tasked to direct a "stylish action game" as a successor to Devil May Cry's formula for Sega. In a move that would later spawn no small degree of debate in the press, Kamiya deliberately went for an over-the-top slant towards feminine fan service in the design of the eponymous lead character of his game, Bayonetta. The game, Bayonetta, was released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2009, and garnered critical praise for its deep-yet-accessible third-person-combat and unapologetic camp factor. Though it would sell over a million units worldwide and become PlatinumGames' best-selling title, it did not beat the company's sales expectations.
Though Kamiya had ideas for sequels and spin-offs for Bayonetta - one idea of which bore fruit in the 2013 anime film Bayonetta: Bloody Fate, a mostly-faithful retelling of the game - he originally doubted that a sequel would ever be released, and he worked his next role as director for Nintendo's 2013 Wii U title The Wonderful 101. Bayonetta 2, however, was announced late in 2012, and the reveal garnered outcry from fans because it was announced as an exclusive for Nintendo's Wii U, not to see any release on either of the systems its predecessor was released for - therefore potentially forcing many players to convert to a different next-generation console brand. PlatinumGames' producer responded to the controversy by explaining that the game would not have existed had it not been for Nintendo's offer of financial partnership.
Regardless, Bayonetta 2 was released late 2014 to near-universal critical acclaim, with reviewers commenting that it refined problematic elements from the first game, such as improved art direction, tighter pacing, and the removal of frustrating Quick-Time Events. The game's Special and First Print Editions included a Wii U port of the original Bayonetta as a separate disc inside the case. However, as of 2015, Bayonetta 2 had only sold roughly the same number of units on the Wii U as its predecessor had on each of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles. During and following this release, Kamiya had repeatedly shot down questions and requests on social media on whether Bayonetta herself would be included in the roster of Nintendo's crossover fighting game Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U - released roughly the same time - but despite this, Bayonetta was revealed as one of the final downloadable-content characters for the game a year later, at the end of 2015.
The Bayonetta series follows the over-the-top adventures of the eponymous heroine, who is initially unaware of the origins of both herself and her spectacular powers as an "Umbra Witch" - powers which not only afford her superhuman combat skills equal parts brutal and graceful, but more outwardly supernatural endeavors such as slowing time, shapeshifting into animals, and summoning demons. Her own hair is used for some of these techniques, which by default literally composes her skin-tight uniform; as a result, her outfit becomes more revealing as she uses "Wicked Weaving" techniques. Starting out in a fictional European city, Bayonetta becomes convinced that a mysterious gemstone in her possession, one of a pair called the "Eyes of the World", must be reunited with its counterpart to retrieve her memories. Many twists and developments await her as she battles through a large variety of menacing, marble-skinned angels from one of three alternative planes of reality separate from mankind's own. These three planes - directly borrowed from Dante's Divine Comedy - are visited throughout both games, and as the second game progresses, Bayonetta must contend with demons as well.
List of games in the Bayonetta franchise
- Bayonetta (2009, Xbox 3069/PlayStation 3; 2014, Nintendo Wii U)
- Bayonetta 2 (2014, Nintendo Wii U; 2018, Nintendo Switch)
- Bayonetta 3 (TBD, Nintendo Switch)
- Bayonetta: The main protagonist of the series was announced to be added as the final downloadable fighter revealed on December 15th, after being one of the most highly requested characters in the Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot. She fights using various weapons and demons from the two Bayonetta games.
- Gomorrah, Devourer of the Divine: A demon from Inferno that comes to devour Bayonetta's enemies as part of her Final Smash.
- Rodin: A masked and cloaked male umbra witch who appears as an Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
- Let's Hit the Climax
- Theme of Bayonetta - Mysterious Destiny
- Tomorrow is Mine (Bayonetta 2 Theme)
- One of a Kind
- Riders of the Light
- Red & Black
- After Burner (∞ Climax Mix)
- Let's Dance, Boys!
- The Legend of Aesir
- Time for the Climax!
- Bayonetta (DLC)
- Bayonetta (Alt.) (DLC)
- Infernal Climax (DLC)
- Jeanne (DLC)
- Rodin (DLC)
- Bayonetta (Original) (DLC)
- Cereza (DLC)