Nintendo has finally revealed the release date for the highly-anticipated Bayonetta 3, the follow-up to the Wii U smash hit Bayonetta 2. Developer Platinum Games first unveiled the title in a teaser trailer way back in 2017, which was nothing more than an eerie numeral “3” over a purple background. However, it was enough to get legions of Bayonetta fans excited for the series’ future on the then-new Nintendo Switch console.
The Bayonetta series has had an interesting history. The first entry was a multiplatform title on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. While it was a modest success, Platinum didn’t quite have the money to make a sequel. Nintendo clearly saw potential in the fledgling franchise and paid for Platinum to create Bayonetta 2, under the stipulation that it would be a Wii U exclusive. The game was a mega-hit, and now Bayonetta is a Nintendo mainstay alongside franchises like Metroid, Xenoblade Chronicles, and Fire Emblem.
Now we finally know when the next entry in the stylish beat-em-up will arrive. Bayonetta 3 will hit the Nintendo Switch on October 28, 2022, adding to Nintendo’s already-stacked back half of the year. The only question now is: what took so long?
It’s Been a While
Bayonetta 2 launched on the Wii U eight years ago, in 2014. It’s aged quite well–it even got a stellar Switch port in 2017, where it was bundled with a digital version of the first game. Platinum Games announced the follow-up title only three years later, during a reveal event for the Nintendo Switch. The project then went dormant for almost four years. On September 23, 2021, Nintendo finally released a trailer for the long-awaited game during their digital Nintendo Direct event.
That trailer gave fans their first look at Bayonetta 3 gameplay, confirming the character’s new look and hinting at some of the plot details that will spur the hero into action this time around. That early trailer quite literally winked at audiences, with the title character admitting that she was “unfashionably late” before promising to give players “everything they wanted”. The game briefly teased some new gameplay mechanics, like summonable demon companions, the blue-hued Humonculus enemies, and even a brief look at a new character, Viola.
While it’s hard to say what, exactly, took so long, it could simply be a case of Nintendo showing a teaser for the title long before Platinum was ready to show any gameplay details. The studio has been busy, releasing excellent action games like Astral Chain, Nier: Automata, and a remaster of The Wonderful 101 in the years between the announcement and the first gameplay footage.
New Faces, Classic Gameplay
The latest trailer gives players a much better look at the upcoming action title. This time around, Bayonetta won’t be battling the forces of Inferno or Paradisio. Instead, she’s duking it out with Homunculi, bizarre monsters from another plane of existence. While Bayonetta fans are more accustomed to fighting angels and demons, the Homunculi have a more sci-fi aesthetic that will be a nice change of pace from the previous entries.
The trailer also seems to suggest that Bayonetta will fight alongside alternate-universe versions of herself. These kinds of meta-narrative shenanigans are nothing new for the series–after all, she spent the first game’s narrative babysitting her younger self before closing the time loop her villainous father created during the final boss battle. The alternate-reality Bayonettas all have fascinating designs that showcase Platinum’s excellent visual language, making us excited to see what these parallel universes look like. Platinum Games also noted that this entry will include a more family-friendly “Naive Angel” mode, which will tone down some of the exposed skin and make the game a bit easier to play in public.
The trailer also gives us a better look at Viola, who we now know will be a playable character. She’s a young witch in training with short white hair and a massive longsword. Many fans quickly pointed out that Viola bears a striking resemblance to Dante, the protagonist of the excellent Devil May Cry series, a sibling action franchise owned by Capcom. Many of Platinum’s developers also worked on the early Devil May Cry titles, making this resemblance more than a coincidence.
What’s the Story?
The Bayonetta franchise is renowned for its action gameplay, but it’s also garnered a fan following for its eclectic storylines. In the first game, players learned about the mystical order of Umbra Witches and their sworn enemies, the Lumen Sages. While the Umbra Witches are able to contact Inferno and summon demons, the Lumen Sages wield the powers of Paradisio and fight alongside angels.
This unique framing makes Bayonetta a winking inversion of Devil May Cry, a game in which half-demon warrior Dante battles the legions of Hell in a stylish fashion. Bayonetta, meanwhile, is a talented warrior who fights angels and wields power based on her personal skills instead of deriving them from her bloodline. The two series share a director, Hideki Kamiya, who playfully named Bayonetta’s development team “Team Little Angels,” a direct reference to Devil May Cry’s “Team Little Devils.”
In the second game, Bayonetta’s rogues’ gallery expanded to include unhinged demons from Inferno, as well as new types of angels. This game’s story focuses on Bayonetta’s friendship with fellow Umbral Witch Jeanne, and her attempt to save her friend’s soul from the Inferno after a demon summoning goes horribly wrong.
Bayonetta 3 falls in the middle of a very active release schedule for Nintendo in the second half of the year. While competitors Sony and Microsoft have had numerous marquee titles slip into 2023, Nintendo is staying strong with a dizzying lineup of first-party titles. Bayonetta 3 in October is sandwiched between Splatoon 3 in September and Pokemon Violet and Scarlet in November. Each of those titles would be massive on its own, so getting all three in a three-month span is downright baffling.
Before Splatoon 3 lands in September, fans of Nintendo’s bizarre open-world RPG franchise Xenoblade Chronicles are in for a treat in late July with the third numbered installment in the series. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is notable for being one of the most prominent games in recent memory to have its initial release date bumped forward, instead of delayed.
That’s not to mention all the huge games that have already been released in 2022. Nintendo started the year in January with the mammoth Pokemon Legends Arceus, the first mainline Pokemon game to introduce seamless battling and exploration. Then, in March, Kirby got his first 3D platforming title, Kirby and the Forgotten Land. Nintendo quickly followed this release with the crowd-pleasing Nintendo Switch Sports in April and the musou-style Fire Emblem Three Hopes in June.
Bayonetta 3 will be released in both digital and hard-copy formats, which comes as no surprise. Platinum Games will also treat fans to a delightful collector’s edition of the game, which will come included with an art book and three commemorative cases–one for each entry in the long-running action series. It also sports a gorgeous case that showcases Bayonetta’s design in the new game, showing her in mid-air, silhouetted by a blood-red moon.
Moreover, Nintendo also announced that the first game in the series will also get a standalone physical release on September 30. While this might not be exciting for fans who have already downloaded a digital copy of the game, it’s a must-have for completionists who want hard copies of their favorite titles.
This move makes sense, given that the Trinity Masquerade Edition of Bayonetta 3 includes three slipcases for use with the other games in the series. When they’re all together, the three new cases create a stunning piece of panoramic art! This is a treat for any diehard fan, and the collector’s edition will likely be a hot item when it launches in October. Expect this one to be hard to find in stores and expensive to buy on secondhand sites like eBay.
Stylish Action Returns
The Bayonetta series is renowned for its unparalleled action gameplay. Director Hideki Kamiya is renowned for his unique vision in terms of style and presentation. The game assigns medals based on player performance, rewarding skilled players with praise and offering advice to those who struggle to keep up with each level’s demanding challenges. Mastering a Kamiya-directed action game instills a sense of power and skill beyond most single-player titles.
Fans of Kamiya’s have been a bit starved of content recently. Bayonetta 2 was his last game, and it came out over 8 years ago. Now, with nearly an entire console generation between that title and today, fans are eager to sink their teeth into another stylish action title. While it’s been a long wait, the trailers for the new Bayonetta look stunning, and fans are delighted to hear voice actor Hellena Taylor back in the iconic role.
Fans won’t have to wait much longer to get back to blasting bad guys as the masterful Umbral Witch. The timing-based action series returns to the Nintendo Switch on October 28, 2022.