That’s because a “double” helping is exactly what fans of video games’ most iconic witch, Bayonetta, are going to be getting, much to everyone’s surprise.
Given that Bayonetta 3 was announced way back in 2017, and players only finally got their hands on it in October 2022, you’d be forgiven for thinking that would be the last we’d hear about Platinum’s witch ‘em up series for quite some time.
But that’s the thing about witches, they sometimes do what you least expect. Which is why, during the Game Awards in December 2022, Nintendo and PlatinumGames dropped a bombshell on an entirely off-guard fanbase. The unexpected trailer revealed that there was a Bayonetta game in development. And that it was a prequel. And that it would be out not in five years, but just three months.
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Sure enough, come March 17, players are going to have their hands on the fourth Bayonetta game (well, the fifth one if you count the basic retro mini-game found on the PlatinumGames website’s 404 screen).
What’s more, the game in question, Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, won’t look and play exactly like the three main games in the series, but will instead be a charming top-down cel-shaded game that looks more like a playable picture book.
Indeed, some Bayonetta 3 players will have already experienced some of Origins without realising it at the time. The game has a special item called the Old Picture Book, which can be bought in the Gates of Hell but can’t immediately be opened because it’s locked.
By buying the book, then completing the game and heading back to previous stages, players can find three hidden keys which unlock the book, revealing… a playable top-down cel-shaded game. We didn’t realise it at the time, but this was essentially a demo for Bayonetta Origins.
According to the limited information Nintendo has revealed so far, the game will star Cereza, the Bayonetta from the third game, and will focus on when she was a child, a mere trainee of the dark arts rather than the fully-fledged witch she is in Bayonetta 3.
It will follow Cereza as she takes a “fateful journey into the forbidden Avalon Forest”, but she isn’t going alone. She’s accompanied by Cheshire, a demon who’s possessed her stuffed toy and can help her as she encounters issues along the way.
The story goes that Cereza and Cheshire are both looking for different reasons to get through the forest. Cereza is looking for a way to save her mother from an as-yet-unknown ailment, while Cheshire is simply trying to find his way home.
It appears that the game will be your typical ‘it takes two’ scenario where Cereza and Cheshire will use their individual powers to help each other out. Cereza can use magic to get the pair out of certain situations, while Cheshire – being a demon – can use his immense strength to get them out of others.
The premise reminds us of Okamiden, the DS spin-off of Okami. The original game was developed by Clover Studio, many of whom – including the game’s director Hideki Kamiya – would later form PlatinumGames.
Okamiden, meanwhile, was a spin-off that starred a child protagonist – Chibterasu, the cub born from the main game’s Amaterasu – and was played from a top-down perspective with a new partner-based gimmick.
It’s not entirely clear whether Bayonetta Origins took much influence from Okamiden, but we wouldn’t mind if it did because it’s something of a hidden gem and took the much-loved main game in an interesting direction.
Nintendo promises that “there may be some welcome surprises” for fans of the Bayonetta series in Origins, and given how Bayonetta 3 was all too happy to assault the player with a deluge of weird and wonderful ideas we’re excited to find out what it’s got in store.
One thing it likely won’t have in store, of course, is any quibbling over voice acting. The drama surrounding the Bayonetta 3 casting was an unfortunate mess that cast something of a dark cloud over the game as its release date neared, a cloud that thankfully lifted in time for launch, allowing the quality of the game itself to come to the fore.
This time, because Cereza is a young girl, she has a different voice actor entirely, meaning with any luck there’ll be no more controversies and we can actually concentrate on the game itself and learn more about Cereza’s backstory.
It sounds like it’s a story we’ll need to become even more familiar with, too, given Kamiya’s recent statement that he “personally can’t conceive the Bayonetta series ever ending” and has plans for as many of nine games in the series. If some of them are going to be spin-offs like Bayonetta Origins, meaning we won’t be in for more five-year waits between entries, we’re all for it.