Bayonetta is the poster child for critical smashes that just don't translate well into game sales. Platinum Games' hyper-sexualized hack n' slash won the affection of many Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 gamers with its unapologetic old school game design. But, it only ended up selling 850,000 units across two platforms here in America, making it a minor hit which barely pulled itself to break even.
So naturally, when Platinum Games announced at the Wii U press conference two weeks ago that the upcoming sequel, Bayonetta 2, would be a Nintendo Wii U exclusive, a lot of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 fans got a little irked. After the typical death threats, writing tweets and YouTube rants, Platinum Games released a series of statements saying they would "never alienate any of their fans," but that they are just looking to expand their audience and build on the IP with Nintendo's help.
This did little to sweeten the mood. The Internet continued to roar, but of course, nothing happened.
This past week at the Tokyo Game SHOW, Platinum shined even more light on the situation by revealing what should be the obvious reasoning behind their decision to make Bayonetta 2 a Nintendo exclusive. In an interview with Polygon, Atsushi Inaba claimed that without Nintendo's backing, Bayonetta 2 would not exist.
"Would Bayonetta 2 not exist without Nintendo? The answer is yes. We are not viewing this as a change of platform, we were looking for a partner to create Bayonetta 2 and Nintendo was a strong, cooperative partner that was willing to create and grow Bayonetta 2 together. As a result the platform became the Wii U."
Beyond the PR nonsense of cooperation and partnership, he says clear as day that the game only had a chance of being made because Nintendo stepped in. Nobody wanted to give a small time hit like Bayonetta a second chance except for Nintendo, who was obviously shopping around for a critical darling title to attract a wider audience for their new system.
SEGA, the first Bayonetta's publisher, is in the process of heavily scaling back their publishing, and the franchise does not fit the profile of any other big publishers out there. It's surprising that even Nintendo was willing to take a chance on the long legged witch.
Supervisor and creator Hideki Kamiya also confirmed via Twitter that Nintendo staff were working on the game as well, as is common practice with Nintendo published third-party games.
Inaba also claimed that the gameplay would not suffer because of the jump to a new console.
"We create the basic framework of our games on the PC, so even though the hardware changes it doesn't influence the creation of our games. We've already developed our own engine to work with multiple platforms."
Fans are still steamed, of course. When Nintendo tries to secure some hardcore IP and address the complaints about their consoles do not speak to hardcore gamers, PlayStation and Xbox fans jump on the company claiming IP thievery. You can't please everyone I guess, but rest assured that Bayonetta 2 is being made and will be out sooner than later. All you have to do is buy a Wii U to play it. Is that so hard?
Platinum Games is also working on another Wii U exclusive titled The Wonderful 101, a Pikmin-esque game with a colorful superhero theme. No doubt, many fans are alo scratching their heads as to whether these Nintendo exclusives are going to be a recurring model for Platinum Games. They are the hottest name in Japanese action at the moment, and their brand name carries a lot of weight with the hardcore crowd. They could be the tipping point a lot of gamers need when it comes decision time to pick up a Wii U.