Bayonetta 3 was reportedly “scoped as a semi open-world game”.
That’s according to games journalist Imran Khan, who offered an insider peek at the sequel’s lengthy delay on his Patreon, reflecting on why those open world rumours seemingly didn’t amount to anything in the end.
“At one point in development, Bayonetta 3 was scoped as a semi-open world game,” Khan wrote on a public Patreon post. “The design was going to draw more off Astral Chain than Nier Automata, but the idea was that a large hub world would send Bayonetta (or whoever else) to different worlds which would themselves be fairly open. Maybe Super Mario 64 would be a good reference point for this.
“There was a lot of work and experimentation on this idea, but it kept falling apart when it came to pacing, and eventually Nintendo wanted them to scale back. It was, I hear, also not particularly well-performing on the Switch hardware either.”
Interestingly, Khan adds that “there’s still a lot of vestiges of the semi-open world design in the final game” and gives hub world, Thule – which is “broken up into smaller pieces that Bayonetta and Viola navigate to get into the next major world” – as an example.
“The chests were redesigned a bit to be searched for in larger areas and provide a lot more variety to make use of the environment. Even the various weapon transformations were going to play into traversal a bit,” Khan said (thanks, NME).
“I’m of the opinion that if it didn’t work and the developers don’t think it worked, then we’re probably not missing anything huge,” he added. “Still, Platinum Games tends not to throw away old ideas, so I would not be shocked if something else gets this treatment later.”
“Bayonetta 3 might not be as consistently brilliant as its predecessors, but when it’s good it’s next to godly; playing as Bayonetta with her entire suite of toys unlocked is as electrifying as it’s ever been, a spectacle of sinewy combat and S&M excess that’s uniquely, defiantly video games,” Martin wrote in Eurogamer’s Bayonetta 3 review.
“It’s so over-the-top that trying to make sense of it would be a mistake, and while the rough edges are a disappointment if you embrace the chaos there’s a lot to love here. Bayonetta 3 is overstated, in parts underbaked – but it’s rarely less than a thrill.”