This conclusive piece was originally published at Nerd Underground under its original title, “Bayonetta is ‘Super Smash Bros.’ DLC! We’ve reached the climax!” Its original publication date was June 17, 2016.
However, this article, particularly a few paragraphs towards the end, were a retrospective of sorts of my time at my old home. As such, there will be references to articles that don’t exist anymore. I apologize for any confusion.
As an aside, of the four “New Content Approaching” articles that passed my quality control, Bayonetta’s is the only one that was written from first-hand knowledge of the character. Here’s hoping for a third Bayonetta, especially since PlatinumGames is one of Nintendo’s partners for the Switch.
Anyway, I hope you’ve been enjoying this series, even if you disagree with what I write or with Sakurai’s roster picks. This “New Content Approaching” installment is the last one that’ll be reposted from Nerd Underground, but I, someday, will publish an original entry, and I promise it’ll be out of this world. Until then, let’s rock.
E3 is the hot topic right now, but I’m still pleased that Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U received two new balance patches. I’m happy they didn’t abruptly stop tweaking the games upon Corrin’s and Bayonetta’s release, and it’s also thought-provoking to me that someone is (was?) still working on Smash.
Anyway, I apologize for the extreme delay in delivering this exposé. However, while Bayonetta’s entrance to the Smash Bros. universe is old news, I would still like to talk about her. Thus, let’s continue from where we left off…
I was still stuck at my dental appointment when Bayonetta was revealed for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. My friends texted me that bombshell, and I was surprised. Very surprised, and very happy! And I was even happier when I was assured that her stage, Umbra Clock Tower, didn’t seem to house a “garbage stage hazard.”
Both of my friends were let down with Corrin, but they had a different response to SEGA’s Umbra Witch. Sure, they didn’t play either of her games, but she bore little resemblance to the other 57 fighters in Smash. One of my colleagues was even motivated to try Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 following her reveal, and he ultimately enjoyed them.
Corrin was perceived as a disappointment by nearly everyone I personally know, but they all at least accepted Bayonetta. Some of them were excited for her, and some of them were grateful that she wasn’t “another swordfighter.” Bayonetta wasn’t encumbered with the stigma of hailing from Fire Emblem, so everyone could appreciate the unique flair she would add to the roster.
Bayonetta seemed to be a crowd-pleaser, so there wasn’t any palpable pessimism surrounding her unveiling. (Or, if there was, I wasn’t exposed to it.) A comprehensive explanation isn’t required to “justify” her presence in Smash, but there’s still plenty to review: we’ll summarize Bayonetta’s history, we’ll discuss why she’s in Smash, I’ll talk about democracy, and I’ll tell you what I think of the witch.
Let’s dance, boys!
Hideki Kamiya worked for Capcom once upon a time, and one of his projects under their watch was Devil May Cry. While it originated as an early build of Resident Evil 4, Devil May Cry managed to branch off into its own distinct entity. This was probably for the best, as Devil May Cry was a considerable success, and it spawned the “stylish action” sub-genre of hack and slash games. Dante, the series’ protagonist, has also become an unforgettable face in Capcom’s lineup.
Kamiya, following the disbanding of Clover Studios, would go on to become a pivotal member of a new team called PlatinumGames. The studio signed a publishing deal with SEGA, and the accomplished director revisited the genre he helped pioneer.
Bayonetta was PlatinumGames’ second release (MadWorld, for the Wii, being their first), and they developed it for the Xbox 360. SEGA handled the underwhelming PlayStation 3 port, which Platinum’s Atsushi Inaba regards as Platinum’s “biggest failure.” Japanese gamers were treated to Bayonetta back in October 2009, and it came to other territories in January 2010. (Notably, Bayonetta is the only fighter in Smash whose first appearance was in 2009.)
Bayonetta, an Umbra Witch with no memories of her past, severed as the game’s titular heroine. Bayonetta’s day job involves dressing as a nun to lure out angels to kill, but her schedule gets shaken up when she departs for Vigrid. Along her journey, Bayonetta is frequently harassed by another Umbra Witch, Jeanne, and she’s burdened with the unwanted affection of a little girl named Cereza.
Both of these ladies seem to have some connection to Bayonetta’s past, but how are they linked? What other threats loom in the distance? Will Bayonetta conquer them, recover her memories, and make sense of her game’s bizarre plot?
Hell yeah, of course she will!
Bayonetta was subjected to critical acclaim, and it left an impression on a certain Masahiro Sakurai. Ultimately, across the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Bayonetta’s worldwide sales have exceeded one million copies. Regrettably, while Bayonetta was their most commercially successful title (as of 2012, at least), Platinum’s president, Tatsuya Minami, has referenced their disappointment with its sales.
Bayonetta’s next appearance was in Anarchy Reigns, a sequel of sorts to MadWorld. Initially available only to those who pre-ordered the game, Bayonetta was later purchasable for everyone as DLC. Going off of this video, her portrayal seems pretty faithful to the source material.
Anarchy Reigns demonstrated that Bayonetta isn’t afraid to venture out of her comfort zone. Would she proceed to challenge the greater SEGA universe? Alas, she wasn’t allowed to. SUMO Digital briefly considered featuring her in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, but dropped the idea for fear that she’d increase the game’s age rating.
You should try it, even if it wasn’t a bestseller. Oh, and did you notice that The Wonderful 101’s copyright credited SEGA for the presence of Bayonetta characters? Hidden within the game are “chibified” versions of Bayonetta, Jeanne, and Rodin, although you don’t need to earn every Pure Platinum medal to play as them.
2013 kindly graced us with another appearance of the witch via Bayonetta: Bloody Fate, an animated adaption of her debut appearance. It takes some liberties and omits a lot of details, but it’s still a pleasant affair. Regardless, Bloody Fate in no way supplants Bayonetta, and there wasn’t a moment of the film that was preferable to playing the game.
You haven’t seen Bloody Fate yet? FUNimation kindly uploaded the first nine minutes to their YouTube channel. Bloody Fate served as the basis for a manga, by the way, allowing the witch to spread her wings into another medium.
The Wii U was treated to another Platinum effort: Bayonetta 2! Yusuke Hashimoto served as its director, and Nintendo proudly announced Bayonetta 2 on September 13, 2012. (You may recall some backlash following the declaration of its Wii U-exclusivity, but let’s not mar our time together by talking about that.)
SEGA, as a consequence of their monetary woes, had previously cancelled the game, but Nintendo stepped in and saved it. As a result, Nintendo has custody of Bayonetta‘s second installment; Bayonetta 2 is as likely to show up on a competitor’s system as the next Mario and Zelda games, and Nintendo is listed along with SEGA as Bayonetta’s copyright owner on the official Smash Bros. website.
Set shortly after the events of the first game, Bayonetta has comfortably nestled back into her everyday routine…until Jeanne returns.
Bayonetta’s motivation this time? Jeanne is stripped of her soul following an unfortunate accident, and Fimbulventr, a mountain in a far-off country, is the only place that might be able to reinstate it. Her travelling companion this time is Loki, an amnesiac kid with a gold pendant and a talent for throwing rare and powerful cards.
Angels and demons have it out for the mismatched pair, and a certain Masked Lumen is prepared to antagonize them at every opportunity. Moreover, will Loki’s mysterious past come back to haunt them, and is Bayonetta prepared to once again be forced into fisticuffs with deities beyond our comprehension?
She’ll be fine.
Nintendo did their part to help Bayonetta 2 perform well. It was a regular in their Nintendo Direct presentations, and Nintendo advertised the game on TV and through Playboy. Nintendo even commissioned Platinum to bring an updated port of Bayonetta to the Wii U, and both titles were bundled together at retail. The Wii U’s iteration of Bayonetta can even be regarded as the definitive version. (You may have noticed, but the Bayonetta screenshot I used earlier is from its Wii U release.)
Additionally, Bayonetta was featured in some of Nintendo’s promotional materials (including last year’s Women’s History Month), and the Nintendo World Store hosted a launch party for the long-awaited Bayonetta 2. (Tragically, I could not attend this particular event, but one of my friends showed up on the spur of the moment and won a poster. I’m still not jealous, I promise.)
Kamiya was delighted to see Platinum’s leading lady join the Smash Bros. family. To think, the Bayonetta series was, in all likelihood, over until Nintendo, of all publishers, effectively adapted it. Nintendo even reprinted Bayonetta 2 (albeit without the original Bayonetta) to commemorate the occasion.
It’s come to light that Bayonetta was offered a spot in Project X Zone 2, but Kamyia declined. He wanted to helm the game in which Dante meets Bayonetta, although he seems to have reconsidered his stance.
Following that revelation, Kamyia asked which incarnation of Dante we’d like Bayonetta to encounter. (Uncle Dante won, for the record.) While the poll shouldn’t be taken as an indicator of anything that’s in development, it is fun to imagine the possibilities. For what it’s worth, Capcom’s Rey Jimenez has previously mentioned his desire to see the pair team up.
Bayonetta is a relatively new character, but she has already garnered a respectable resume. She’s the protagonist of a small, but acclaimed series; she’s not afraid to crossover with other franchises; and she’s been featured in animation, a manga, and merchandise. Last year, SEGA even bestowed Bayonetta with the highest honor this industry can grant: a pachislot machine!
What’s next for the Umbra Witch? Well, Platinum would be interested in developing a third Bayonetta. Her voice actress, Hellena Taylor, would love to work on such a project, and I’d love to play it. We don’t know what Bayonetta’s future holds, but you know what? I’m optimistic that she has a future, and I’m happy to sit back and wait for it to unfold.
Of all potential newcomers, why Bayonetta?
Creating a roster that would please everyone is impossible and it wouldn’t be fair to begrudge Sakurai for failing to achieve that standard. However, while you don’t have to agree with every decision the man makes, you should respect that there’s always an underlying logic fueling his selections. Thankfully, the reasoning over this specific case is very straightforward.
But first, it’s important to remember something: Bayonetta, Nintendo’s connection to her notwithstanding, is still a guest to the Smash Bros. universe, and she’s not comparable to the other guests Sakurai has invited thus far. Well, yes, Bayonetta loves to flaunt her femininity, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
I remember some were disappointed when Final Fantasy’s Cloud was revealed back in November. “Final Fantasy VII wasn’t released on a Nintendo console,” was a concern I saw expressed often enough, and I offered my take on the situation. Spoiler: Cloud earned the right to be in Smash. Why? Because he’s important.
Snake, Sonic, Mega Man, Pac-Man, Ryu, and Cloud are among the most beloved characters this industry has produced. They’ve showcased genre-defining games, and they absolutely hold the authority and recognition to stand alongside Nintendo’s top mascots. To cherry pick a few examples, Sonic had two cameos on The Simpsons and he influenced science, Peter Griffin partook in a Street Fighter-inspired brawl, and Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph included references to five of these six franchises. (And Mega Man’s Dr. Wily was spotted in an early promotional pamphlet, although he sadly failed to appear in the film proper.)
Bayonetta, at least in my estimation, isn’t quite on their tier. Sure, she’s certainly well-known among the people who’re reading this very article (really, if you’re not familiar with her, then I can’t imagine how you stumbled upon this page), but I don’t believe Bayonetta has penetrated general awareness in a comparable manner to her colleagues just yet.
Why did Sakurai send her an invitation, then? Well, I’m sure you already know the answer to that.
Diplomacy didn’t fail, guys! Bayonetta is in Smash Bros. because we voted for her. Well, okay, I didn’t vote for her, and you may not have either, but she was the elected official who was “realizable.” While Sakurai’s precise definition of that word wasn’t articulated in the presentation, one of his Famitsu columns has given us insight into it.
Sakurai has been pretty open with his selection process, and a character’s distinctiveness is vital in earning them a place in Smash. Sakurai discoursed Bayonetta’s inclusion in his Famitsu column, where he brings up her combo-focused moveset and how they, amusingly, struggled to slip her past Japan’s rating board. Sakurai talks about her again in his interview with Nintendo Dream, where he notes the importance of Dodge Offset and Witch Time.
Of course, we have to take Sakurai’s word for it that Bayonetta placed well. Some were in disbelief, such as the folks over at Gamnesia, but if I may speak my mind? While the exact procedure behind the Ballot will remain unknown to us, I don’t have a problem believing Bayonetta was a strong contender in it. I know people like to perpetuate this narrative that Sakurai’s a “liar” and a “troll,” but he actually seems like a pretty sincere guy.
(Although I do think it’s kind of humorous that Sakurai neglected to mention how she scored in Japan. I’d love to see a detailed breakdown of the Ballot’s results, but we’ll probably never be privy to that information.)
Y’know, speaking of the voting process…
My experience with the Super Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot
Bayonetta is the outcome of the Super Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot. Given that, I feel it’d be appropriate if I discussed my voting experience. Other websites, including my associates at Source Gaming, have done so. I secretly harbor the desire to be cool, so I’m going to join in.
While I’m a tad disappointed the Ballot only resulted in one newcomer for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, the Ballot’s results will be referred to when development begins on their inevitable sequels. A character scoring well won’t guarantee his or her place next time – sorry, Goku and SpongeBob fans – but I expect a few fan favorites will finally get their due. (With that said, I really hope you did me that solid!)
I endorsed Dixie Kong, and, as much as I dislike using the d-word within the context of Smash speculation, I genuinely believe she deserves her place in the roster. While this could simply be naiveté on my end, I maintain that Dixie will make it in someday, and I’ll celebrate when (if? …nah, when) it happens.
Aside from Dixie, I also submitted votes for Wario Land’s Captain Syrup and Metroid’s Ridley. I cannot fathom the former being a meaningful consideration for Sakurai, and we all know his stance on the latter. But you know what? I’m not hopeful for those two rogues, but I was offered an outlet to voice my support for them. I’m fond of both characters and they represent games I care for, and I’m content in getting to relay that information to Nintendo and Sakurai.
I hope others weren’t discouraged to do the same. A few of my friends were reluctant to vote for Ridley because of his role on the Pyrosphere stage, and one of them also decided against voting for Dark Samus due to her status as an Assist Trophy. I assured them that it wouldn’t be a wasted vote per se, they would simply be preparing for further in the future. I’m guessing this didn’t affect the process to any noteworthy degree, and I hope people supported their favorite characters.
Regardless, I am impressed with the Ballot for, in my experience, rejuvenating anticipation for Smash. We were all hyped for Mewtwo’s grand return and I was happy for Mother fans when Lucas was confirmed, but the Ballot?
Sakurai is aware of how much excitement is generated by the roster, and here he was, directly asking us to vote for our favorite unsung individual. We, the fans, could request any video game character we wanted! This wasn’t the first time Sakurai set up a suggestion box, but it was the first time it would be widely accessible to his entire audience.
Should you go for the “safer” candidates or should you follow your heart and vote for that obscure pick? Communities akin to real world political parties were formed as fans clustered around their preferred choice(s). We unfortunately didn’t know at the time exactly how the Ballot would influence things, but given the presence of two dummy slots (later bumped up to three), it’d result in at least one DLC character.
Two of those slots were claimed by Cloud and Corrin, and Bayonetta was the only product of the Ballot. Now, let’s be realistic: there is no strategy Sakurai could have enacted that would’ve satisfied everyone. As I’ve mentioned in the past, Smash resonates with people for different reasons, and we all have our own views of how and why characters should be selected.
For now, the Ballot, for better or worse, was only utilized to determine one character. Sakurai will reflect upon its results down the road, but all we have to show for it in the present is Bayonetta. So…what do I think of her?
So, what’re my thoughts on Bayonetta?
I’m still very happy. I didn’t nominate her, but Bayonetta was one of my dream characters who I never thought had a meaningful chance. Hey, the Ballot did say to vote for any video game character, so I’m glad you all picked up my slack!
Honestly, I never foresaw her joining the battle. I figured her series was too minor, at least in relation to its peers. No one in my social circle thought she’d make it, either.
However, the hypothetical did occasionally creep up during our conversations. These deliberations would inevitably turn into a debate over whether she could accurately be depicted in Smash. Considering some of Bayonetta’s more suggestive mannerisms, it was a fair concern. (I, however, always thought they could make her work, given her presence in the T-rated Anarchy Reigns. I hope you’re impressed with me!) During this period, Source Gaming reviewed both sides of the debate in more detail.
I welcome Bayonetta’s inclusion on multiple levels: she represents a new franchise in Smash; she represents a new genre in Smash; she’s the protagonist of two great games; and she represents PlatinumGames, who’ve worked with Nintendo on multiple projects, so it’s nice to see Sakurai acknowledge their most significant character.
Furthermore, I feel Bayonetta continues Solid Snake’s legacy in a manner no one else does. Nintendo is primarily known for their family-friendly heroes, but the longstanding company doesn’t have an inherit inability to dip their toes in M-rated content. (Ever play Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem? It’s neat.)
Nonetheless, Snake was very much a lone shark back in Super Smash Bros. Brawl; Konami’s soldier was the outsider in its roster and he knew it. Snake served as a foil to the other 38 fighters, and his codecs and personality were completely detached from what I classified as “Nintendo.” The dissonance was entertaining, and I missed it in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
Nintendo treats Bayonetta as one of their own, but I’m not convinced she would have been created by them; her stylized appearance, her colorful vocabulary, and her fighting methods stand out from their troupe. She, like Snake, works as a counterpoint, and I relish in that discord. Granted, some of that was toned down to allow her in Smash, but Sakurai still did an outstanding job in preserving her character’s essence.
Bayonetta happens to be a character I’m familiar with; I have not only played through her adventures, I’m a fan of them! I can appreciate all of the nods and call-backs Sakurai made with the Bayonetta content (this is my favorite), and Sakurai did a great job in representing her series.
Finally, she’s really fun to play as! Bayonetta not only meets Sakurai’s demand for unique movesets, she rose the bar. It’s almost as if she was transplanted from Bayonetta 2 and placed in a 2D plane! …Although I suppose they might have done too good of a job, considering how strong she was. I maintain that it would have been too soon to ban her, however.
And the balancing team evidently agrees, given her reduced effectiveness following the recent patch. Intriguingly, she wasn’t the only aspect that was affected, but she’s unquestionably the most perceptible change.
So in conclusion, Bayonetta is cool and I still can’t believe she’s in the Super Smash Bros. series.
Congratulations, Bayonetta! You’re gonna sparkle, you’re gonna shine!
This…this is it. The final character for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
It’s been a fun ride. If you’re still reading this, then I can assume you’re a Smash Bros. fan, correct?
Super Smash Bros. is one of my favorite video game franchises, and it’s responsible for some of my finest gaming memories. Playing Smash throughout the years with my friends, family, and classmates never gets old. Getting excited for the latest release is just as much fun, and I always enjoy speculating which characters will make it and which “leaks” are authentic.
My face always lights up when a brand new character is revealed. Sakurai seems to be under an obligation to add a new group of fighters with each installment, and I’m grateful that he always delivers. While Brawl was fun in how an Ike or a Pokémon Trainer could spontaneously appear, I prefer how the character reveals were handled this time.
Nintendo Directs and E3 presentations are occasions with the gravity a newcomer warrants, whereas I always believed it was unceremonious to announce them through Brawl’s daily updates. It was exciting in how we didn’t know what awaited us in the morning, yeah, but newcomers deserve to be an event.
This round of Smash has been particularly meaningful to me; I’ve been writing about it, resulting in an intrinsic link between Nintendo’s mascot fighter and my time here, at the Nerd Underground. Over a year ago I submitted two writing samples when I applied for this website, and one of them was a rundown of the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 50-Fact Extravaganza. The first article I published, a synopsis of the 11/5/2014 Nintendo Direct, included a passing reference to the latest titles, and my second was about the first balance patch in Smash’s history.
My first (arguably) worthwhile piece pertaining to Smash was over some cut content discovered by Source Gaming’s PushDustIn, and the second was about Mewtwo. I feel it took until my Roy and Ryu articles for my style to start stabilizing. To conclusively cement the connection Smash has with my portfolio, this is my 200th article for the Nerd Underground.
I’m psychologically incapable of rereading anything I wrote. I suppose some of them hold up, but I’m always too distraught over sloppy writing, less-than-stellar use of images, and other rough patches. Since I’m unloading anyway, I’ll divulge that this extends beyond my Smash coverage; I hold my two–part Sonic the Hedgehog 4 retrospective to be just as vital in my growth, and I can’t stand it either.
And you know what? That’s great. I had fun writing all of them, and they were essential in helping me find my voice. I’ll be unable to look at this article in two months, but I know it has its place in my record and the experience gained will allow me to write more elegantly about the next Super Smash Bros. game!
A rumor going around the internet states that a Smash Bros. game is set for the NX’s launch. I wouldn’t be flabbergasted to see Nintendo release a port of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U for the NX, possibly with some additional content to entice people to upgrade, but what do I know?
Regardless of what’s in the works for the NX, there will be another Smash Bros. eventually, and new material will be added to the series at some point. When that time comes, I’ll voice my support for Sakurai’s return. I don’t agree with all of his decisions (I still don’t understand why he’s so averse to a hazard toggle, especially since one is already programmed), but the man pours his heart into his work. Besides, there’s no reason to believe a new director would automatically “fix” anything I take issue with.
Whatever’s in store for us, I’ll be here to blog about it. Until then, we have an abundance of content to entertain ourselves with in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, and I’ll be playing them for the foreseeable future. Now, after all of this time, there’s one last thing to say…
Thank you, Sakurai, Bandai Namco, Nintendo, and everyone who helped deliver these games to us!
Mains: Mario (64); Mario and Dr. Mario (Melee); Wolf and Toon Link (Brawl); Mario, Dr. Mario, and Rosalina (3DS/Wii U)