Part 48: An Audience with PlatinumGames - Part 2
There is an unlockable costume called "Sportswear & Boomer". It's a bit erotic and quite kinky. Who made the decision to put this costume in the game?
The director. That's what he wanted.
My sexual propensity.
I doubt whether EU players will understand this costume.
I guess it will make no sense to anybody.
Japanese players will react immediately.
I talked with my staff about the fact that this costume would not be understood. But Japanese Anime is getting very popular nowadays. So they will hopefully accept this as Japanese traditional uniform.
But bloomers haven't been worn for years.
So I understand.
yoshesque: Not like the long, loose pants worn by Victorian ladies, the Japanese bloomer, or barumā, is a tight-fitting, high-cut gym short meant for high-school girls. While many students felt self-conscious wearing these shorts, it wasn't until the 1990s that complaints began to arise. Female students complained that the revealing bottoms attracted unwelcome attention when they jogged off school grounds. Who would have thought. They are now no longer worn, replaced by less suggestive, longer-legged shorts. However, bloomers continue to live on in anime and as a fetish item.
And you came to the cheerleader idea within the development flow too?
Cheerleaders. We came up with many ideas and chose some of them. We were thinking what would work for North America and thought about... things like high school. We have one localisation specialist here. I told him that he should come up with an idea. He came back with a cheerleader and American school costume. We chose the cheerleader from these ideas, because it was very easy to understand.
Did you send out a questionnaire to the company? Like: "This is the idea, what do you think of it?"
We do chat about ideas. But the final decision depends on his dogmatic, biased view. (laughs)
Dogmatic and biased. (laughs) But this does make a better product. A majority decision systems kills good ideas.
That sort of method will only produce a stereotypical product.
We thought there must be a business suit costume, because of her glasses.
There were so many ideas I wanted to bring into the game but due to things like development time, we had to give up on some of them. Doctor, Chinese dress, high school teacher, policewoman... we had so many ideas. And of course, nurse.
Yes, many, many ideas. This was only possible because we had a woman as main character. If we create costumes for men... the image is still the same. I think a costume change is only really fun when you have a female character.
For example, who wants to see Dante in boy's sportswear? A stylish woman wears a sports uniform from primary school or junior high school. I think this is romantic. Only women can cause such hot romantic feelings.
Marked with a name tag.
School class 5-3 Bayonetta.
From "5 nen 3 kumi mahou gumi".
Just as we thought.
Most of the generation (of videogame players) nowadays won't understand what that is.
I don't understand either.
Really? I wanted to join the class 5-3. I watched the TV series "5 nen 3 kumi mahou gumi" when I was in 3rd form.
yoshesque: 5 nen 3 kumi mahou gumi or 5-3, The Magical Classroom is a show from the late 70s. The short-lived series was about 5 preteens who get magical items from their teacher, a witch. Kids + magic items + mischievous teacher-witch = 41 episodes of shenanigans. Watch the intro and see if you can make any sense of it. GIANT BREAD.
Did you want the magic items?
Absolutely. So, when I came into the 5th form, I wanted to be a member of class 5-3. But I was put into class 5-4 and I thought, "Damn!"
So you express this feeling now? (laughs)
Yes, now. (laughs) When I had a blood-type test in the school... well, at that time when I was in the 1st form, a baseball player called Oh was very successful... I absolutely wanted the blood type O. And the result came back as O. Yeah!
yoshesque: I can only guess he's referring to now-retired Sadaharu Oh. Oh played with the Yomiuri Giants throughout his 22-year career and currently holds the world career home run record, 868, as well as Japan's single-season home run record of 55, set in 1964.
Let's talk about Bayonetta a little more. She looks like she's around 30 years old... how old is she really?
To tell you the truth, we don't have any profile details on Bayonetta, not her age, nothing. The same thing with Dante. No one knows if Dante is his last name or family name. I think this makes for a mysterious attraction. In games like Resident Evil, it's better to have a profile like "Leon S Kennedy, age... or finished the police school in year something" etc. But in a game with a fantasy element, it's much more romantic when we don't reveal such details. I didn't make a profile for Dante... or for Joe. Joe is just Joe. This time, in the case of Bayonetta, there is no age, no measurements, or anything like that. To create her design and to make her 3D model for development, I just gave them the brief: Please make an adult female, end of her 20s to 30s. For Dante, I said 30... he may have reached 30 or not. Just like that, I think 20s.... that is only a child. A bit more adult look is cooler. But the problem was to present his profile. A hero in his 30s sounds a bit strange. Dante had an untidy beard in the first design that Tsuchibayashi drew. But we removed this in modelling phase. So he was a bit fresher looking. His real age is unclear, but if you ask me, he is a man in his 30s. Bayonetta is about the same age.
So end of her 20s to 30s?
The convenient thing with Bayonetta is that she is a witch. You see in the game things like "500 years" and so on.
At least 500 years old.
Similar to Demon Kogure, the Japanese celebrity. She's 500 something years old. She transcends her age.
yoshesque: Demon Kogure was frontman of heavy metal band Seikima-II and is best known for always acting in character. His character? An Akuma, a kind of Japanese evil god or spirit. The band was formed in 1982, and according to their mythology, Seikima-II is a group of performing Akuma from the futuristic hyper-evolved dimension Makai (Makai is the world of demons, translating to demonic realm, or hell). Bucking all heavy metal stereotypes, they preach Akumakyō, a demonic religion, in order to propagate Satan and conquer the world through the use of their music. According to their prophecy, Seikima-II disbanded at the end of the century on December 31, 1999 at 23:59:59. However, they have since reunited for reunion tours to celebrate their 20th and 25th anniversaries. In 2009 Demon Kogure changed his persona to Demon Kakka, meaning "His Excellency Demon". Demon Kakka is also an entertainer, journalist and sumo commentator.
Is there a normal growth phase between Bayonetta and Cereza?
I think so.
So they're growing step by step.
Step by step. I think... Dante... I don't know how it is for Dante, but Bayonetta has now reached her peak... in both her appearance and physical skills. She stays in peak condition from now on. With magic power.
You say, with magic. As a witch, she does not have to wear glasses, so what is the significance of Bayonetta wearing glasses?
Ah... We didn't start with the scenario element, but with her appearance. When her design was almost completed... that is to say when the drawing with hair over her arms was done, we decided to work with it. At this point, I said, "Let's give her glasses." Glasses are... a necessary item for a sexy lady. To do movements like this. (Kamiya then motions as if he's touching glasses and adjusting their position) A gesture. It's typical, but I wanted to try this stereotyped element out. There are so many sub-characters with gestures like this, but no main character. I thought that people might have a feeling of resistance towards main characters with this design. So I decided to ask my staff. I gathered them all in this room. I asked, "I would like to work with this idea. What do you think?"
The answer was split. Almost half said good, the other half said bad. No one said neither nor. At that point I knew: this character gives a strong impression. And such a character will succeed for sure. Before I talked with them, I thought, "I will change the design if most of them are against this. Because it's too difficult," but with this result I was sure that she would be good and said, "Go." Some stubborn people said fucking things like, "Take off her glasses", but I brushed them off. I said, "Do not take her weapon." I didn't want glasses to be just an image item. Her glasses have a bit to do with the story line. She has an obsession with glasses... or rather I should say, I have. (laughs) She won't show her face without glasses during the game. I started to imagine the reasons behind this obsession. In our scenario, she had an unhappy childhood. And she wore a stern-looking mask. So she had some traumatic things happen to her, which have caused her to not want to show her real face. That is the reason behind her wearing glasses. She feels a bit safer when she can cover her face with something... she does it unconsciously. It has something to do with her mental weakness. I think it's quite okay for her to have such a weakness... although I don't talk about this in the story line at all.
PlatinumGames' localisation specialist JP Kellam, wearing Bayonetta's mask. Producer Yusuke Hashimoto with Bayonetta glasses. Director Hideki Kamiya striking a mean pose. The glasses are available as a cosplay item, costing somewhere in the realm of $300
Her glasses are not made by her hair?
What do you think?
I think they aren't.
Okay, then I say no. (laughs) There is one setting which I made for her. She can do anything with her hair... She can also stow anything away into her hair. There are scenes where she picks something out of her hair. She hides everything there. She draws chainsaws from there. Like babaaam! There she could pick up anything she wants. I believe... when she goes into the bath, she takes everything out of her hair and then washes it. When she leaves the bath, she puts it all back and wears her glasses again. That's what she does in my imagination. Glasses are... since she is a woman, they are one of her many accessories.
Yes, she has a lot of things to beautify herself. I want players to use their imagination. That's a major point. Also this is just one element. If we say something about that, this setting will be "real", not a fantasy world. That's why we don't want to say concrete things.
I don't have a fixed notion about this. But I do have rough settings ideas, so that I can share the same image with all my staff. But I have not created an official document about them, due to the aforementioned reason. I talk for hour upon hour about my imagination, but that is just my imagination. I want players to see game event scenes and think about these elements for themselves.
Our staff were also excited about her appearance. She wore a mask 500 years ago, so she doesn't have to wear these glasses, and so on.
The in-game story happens... in one single day?
This story takes place in the space of one day. We could therefore only present Bayonetta on that day. She does own a lot of glasses and could change them regularly. Just like any girl all dressed up to go into town.
With everything stored in her hair.
Yes. She does change her hairstyle, fashion and make-up daily. She is totally different to me, who leaves everything at work. I could leave my apartment within ten minutes of waking up. No woman could do this.
She puts her make-up on?
Sure she does.
By herself, or using her magical powers?
She could use magic - that's also just my imagination. But it is fun to put make-up on. She does have fun, I guess.
Like a woman.
That is the privilege of women. Men can have fun by buying a finished toy, but also by model-making. So make-up must be fun as well.
So because of that, all characters have glasses?
Well, that has no meaning.
Great that you noticed it though. Only a few people have spotted that.
Yeah. I don't know when that started... Bayonetta wears glasses. And we began to put glasses on her rival character. Then I told Shimazaki, "Let's give all the characters glasses. Let's do it, even though it is nonsense." That's the reason behind the actual design. Luka seems to be the only character without glasses, but he puts his glasses on his collar.
Balder wears glasses like that.
Balder wears a mask resembling a monocle. So all main characters wear glasses.