We sat down with director Hideki Kamiya and producer Yusuke Hashimoto for a private demo of Platinum Games and Sega's new Bayonetta. The demo was played through Chapter 2: Vigrid, The City of Deja Vu, and we also got a look at a special boss fight unavailable to those on the show floor.
Bayonetta is a witch with magical hair that she uses to weild her deadly powers. Her hair has the ability to channel demonic energies from hell. It also acts as her clothing, covering her body. The more elaborate powers require more of her hair, and in turn reveal more of her. In addition Bayonetta comes equipped with dual pistols on her boots. These can be shot while kicking or drawn to blow away enemies in a hail of gunfire. Kamiya says the clothes and style are designed to eccentuate her movement and sensuality.
The combat system is an acrobatic affair, characterized by dodging and quickly reacting to enormous stylized enemies. Bayonetta flips, ducks, and dodges around enemies constantly during combat. Combat is focused on dodging, rather than running in guns blazing. Proper countering and dodging enters Bayonetta into a state called Witch Time where she does extra damage while the enemies are in a slowed state of time. Bayonetta's movements and abilities are all very smooth, and look stunning. As Kamiya himself told us, "real heroes don't need armor." The engine the game runs on was built from the ground up.
The soundtrack is comprised mostly of j-pop, with a little bit of rock. The music is appropriate for the over-the-top stylized action, and generally fits the mood of the scene or battle. Visually, Bayonetta is spectacular. The screen is busy and full of a constantly changing environment and detailed enemies. This can range from battles across a city (which is being destroyed by magma) or a battle on top of a dragon in the sky. Also, instead of blood Bayonetta bleeds butterflies and flowers, adding to the style and femine awareness.
The game itself is broken up into chapters and stages. You recieve a score for each stage and a final overall score for the chapter. As mentioned above, we saw the stage Vigrid: The City of Deja Vu, a ruined fantasy metropolis filled with flowing magma and demonic creatures. We also got a look at a very cool boss fight with a giant two-headed dragon. The battle began with Bayonetta attacking it's head as it stuck it in a chapel door. After enough damage was done, the dragon lifted off with the church still attached to its head, and revealed a second head in the destfruction. Bayonetta continues the battle in the sky, culminating in the acrobatic destruction of the church and the dragon.
Bayonetta hits US stores in Q4 2009. We are really looking forward to it and will keep everyone posted on any future developements.