To think, now a few days after the publication of its third chapter, that the Bayonetta series risked stopping after the first episode is decidedly strange. Yet it is so. It is to its intense and frenetic action and its amazing protagonist that action enthusiasts look as an absolute reference for the whole genre, now even more than to the series to which Bayonetta owes a lot, namely Devil May Cry.
The idea of the stylish action, of a combat system that is as enjoyable for the fingertips as it is spectacular for the eyes, was born with the Capcom series, and on the other hand the creator is the same, the brilliant, histrionic, angular, offensive Hideki kamiya. But things could have gone very differently, and today perhaps the throne of action would be vacant, because in practice, productions of a level belonging to the genre are no longer seen.
The development of the first Bayonetta was financed by SEGA, which had stipulated a contract with PlatinumGames for the production of four video games: Infinite Line, a sci-fi role-playing game for Nintendo DS, which would later change its name to Infinite Space; MadWorld, gruesome beat 'em up in black and white (but with buckets of blood red) for Wii; Bayonetta, indeed; a fourth video game, which would later be revealed to be that glittering masterpiece of lead and explosions that responds to the name of Vanquish.
“Success” does not always rhyme with “continuation”
Among these it was Bayonetta that achieved the greatest success, quantifiable in about a million and a half copies in the months immediately following its publication. Paradoxically, PlatinumGames didn't think it had achieved its prefixed commercial goal, while evidently SEGA should have been happy with the results achieved, since it gave the green light for the pre-production of a sequel, to be brought, like the first chapter, to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
What led SEGA to back down has never been clarified and probably never will be, remaining buried under that mass of non-disclosure clauses that accompany the creation of a video game and regulate the relationship between publisher and development team. The fact remains that at a certain point the development of Bayonetta 2 was interrupted, with the almost certainty that it would never be resumed, because there was no money to carry it forward.
It was just then that Nintendo came to save the shack. When Bayonetta 2 was unveiled during the Nintendo Direct on September 13, 2012, gamers were somewhat understandably annoyed that the game was a Wii U exclusive. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, we have decreed its success and now you take away the possibility of returning to admire the splendid witch and to enjoy her amazing mallet-making skills?” The answer that came from the mouth of Atsushi Inaba, producer of the game, swept the field from any misunderstanding: "without Nintendo Bayonetta 2 it would never have existed."
So here is that what almost seemed like a theft against other gaming platforms turned out to be what it really was. Nintendo had been the only one to believe in the project (rumor has it that the franchise had also been offered to others), had put the money into it and therefore Bayonetta 2 would have been an exclusive for Wii U: clear and concise.
What a risk we took
And luckily Nintendo arrived, because what would we have missed without its intervention. Bayonetta 2 is certainly among the best action ever, perhaps even the unreachable peak of the whole genre. It does everything the first chapter does and raises it to power in an overwhelming way, perhaps even excessively, because it allows itself to make additions and digressions that its predecessor did not dare. It may happen, then, that arguing among enthusiasts about which is the best of the pair, someone believes that the first chapter ideally manages the rigor of a spectacular and certainly caciarone combat system, but above all calibrated to the millimeter.
Bayonetta 2, on the other hand, takes the liberty of inserting elements into the combat system that are one step away from being unbalanced, but which in the riot of blows generated by an increase in the general level of the action have an absolute, playful coherence how stylistic; equally, it also allows trespassing into other videogame genres, with such a natural indifference that one simply exalts oneself, without even thinking that they may be out of context.
How wonderful it is that a production originally destined for oblivion displays such high peaks of skill, style, inventiveness and character. Bayonetta 2 contains that energy typical of those seeking redemption, channeled in the best possible way: not at the service of someone (in fact, Nintendo deserves further applause for never having influenced the work of PlatinumGames), but at the service of themselves. It's a beautiful story, that of the game, and in a few days we will be able to welcome its evolution: we can't wait.