Q&A: Hideki Kamiya on Bayonetta

We talk with Platinum Games producer Hideki Kamiya on creating Bayonetta, Devil May Cry influences, and how he sees the title character as his ideal woman.

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Japanese developer Hideki Kamiya knows a thing or two about over-the-top action games. After all, he was the director of the original Devil May Cry and Viewtiful Joe, as well as the much-loved PlayStation 2 gem Okami. Kamiya is now working as the producer of Bayonetta, an upcoming action adventure game which looks to have the same insane action and outlandish scenarios of the DMC series. We spoke to Kamiya about Bayonetta's story, the weapons you'll find in the game, what DMC influences we'll find, and how Bayonetta is his ideal woman.

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GameSpot AU: Let's talk about Bayonetta's story. What can you tell us about the main character herself? Is she or anything else in the story based on any type of mythology?

Hideki Kamiya: The story of the Bayonetta is completely original, although we have used some names from Scandinavian mythology. We can't tell you the detailed story yet, but I believe that an action game’s story should be something that motivates people to play the game, as well as the usual shooting, slicing, and killing enemies. So with Bayonetta, I strived to create a central character that players would want to control and worthy adversaries that they’d want to meet in the game and battle against. The heroine, Bayonetta, became a witch who has the dark powers, and the enemies are the evil angels who have power that is beyond human understanding. As for why she fights...you’ll find out through playing the game.

GS AU: Where did the design for the Bayonetta character come from? What were your influences?

HK: As to Bayonetta, she is also a very original character design, but in many ways this character is my ideal woman. And the reason that we chose a woman for the main character is just because I have had male characters for all my games and wanted to do something different. I stuck to my guns with Bayonetta’s sexiness, and we try to express the sexiness with the design of her character. But I always told my designers to not show her skin too much; we don’t want to give everything away.

GS AU: Can you tell us about Bayonetta's hair? How does it work as a weapon within the game?

HK: She uses her hair as a medium to exert her magical powers. Specifically, she uses her hair to summon the underworld demons to use their powers. The summoned demons appear in the real world in several forms, including those of a giant ethereal hand, a pair of legs, and even tusks, which smash into the enemy. It’s much easier to understand when you actually see it in motion in the game. By the way, her battle suit is also made of her hair, so when she is using the demon powers she has to use much of her hair resulting in exposing a lot of her skin. This, I’m afraid, is something that even Bayonetta can’t help.

GS AU: What weapons can we expect to see in the game? How over the top will they be?

HK: Before I talk about the variety of her weapons, I have to explain the game system of Bayonetta. This heroine is capable of equipping the weapons not only to her hands but also to her feet. For example, you can equip guns to both hands and feet, and during punching and kicking you can pull the triggers to fire at enemies. There are many weapon types, some are available both to hands and feet, and some are exclusive to either hands or feet. So you can customize these combinations to fit your favorite combat style. And as for the variety of the weapons...well, there are plenty to keep you busy.

GS AU: In our various previews of the game so far, we've seen some fairly gruesome-looking finishing moves. Can you tell us a little more about those? How will a player perform them?

HK: There is a magic power gauge to use her magical power. You can build up this gauge by attacking the enemies, and these energies (in the gauge) can be used to perform a variety of attacks. Torture attack is done by using a huge quantity of these magical powers. The torture attacks do a huge amount of damage to your enemies as they can be forced to endure numerous torture devices. However, these torture attacks are very costly and use up a lot of magical power, so there are lots of other ways you can use this power. It is up to the player on when and how to use it.

GS AU: What sort of influences from Devil May Cry can we expect in Bayonetta?

HK: It sounds silly to be “influenced” by your own creation which is Devil May Cry, but I can say that you may find quite a few common features, as my faith towards action games has never changed. However, I did not play DMC1 not even once while developing Bayonetta (I have played about half of DMC4 as part of my research study though). I have deliberately created Bayonetta from scratch and tried to make the game as original as possible, although there will be some similar elements to my previous games in there I’m sure, such is my unchanged faith in developing action games. Anyway, it’s been eight years since DMC1, so of course I wouldn’t create a game that hadn’t progressed from those days! Of course, if there hadn’t have been DMC, there wouldn’t be Bayonetta, which has evolved from DMC.

GS AU: At what stage of development is the game now?

Bayonetta's suit is made of hair. That's right, hair.
Bayonetta's suit is made of hair. That's right, hair.

HK: We’re very far on. We have most of the core elements of the game locked down and we’re now rounding out the edges and refining the gameplay experience. We’ve been very structured and everything has run smoothly, not like the usual weaving development route my games sometimes take! This doesn’t simply mean “half is done”--this 50 percent includes some of the most important core elements. All in all, it’s going very well. This is probably because most of the Bayonetta team were involved in Devil May Cry, so we have lots of experience in this genre.

GS AU: Finally, what we've seen of Bayonetta so far really plays up the character's sex appeal. How far will you be pushing the envelope in terms of sex appeal when the game ships?

HK: I’d like to go as far as possible--but it’s up to the “grown-ups” around me to keep me from doing so!

GS AU: Hideki Kamiya, thanks for your time.

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