On The Ball: Pimping Bayonetta

Jordan Deam

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On The Ball: Pimping Bayonetta

Sega's marketing of its latest brawler may have been a bit too... eager.

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Jared

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Ill admit some of the marketing does make it feel less than it actually is.

But, the game 'Works'. It dosnt hide what it is, it dosnt try to pretend to be serious. It knows it is rediculous and it knows it is way out there and using high amount of sexual tension.

Thats one reason why I like it. Aside from the awesome gameplay, it knows what it wants to be
 

Weaver

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Apr 28, 2008
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You sort of skipped over the part where you fight an "angel" and the cut-scene essentially introduces her as she's mastrubating right in your face. Why? Because that's how they activate their powers. Is this what honestly passes for logical inference in Japan? It's just so pointless, I would have otherwise approved MORE of the game if it didn't have such blatant attempts to make all the teenagers playing it pop a boner. What's worse is it does it under the guise that it's ACTUALLY just part of the plot, lore and characters when in reality it's likely so sega can officially license some bayonetta hentai and get some more dollars.

I find bayonetta to be so shamelessly about sex that it's just flat out creepy.
 

Wilbot666

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AC10 said:
I find bayonetta to be so shamelessly about sex that it's just flat out creepy. It's like the game is some realization of a crazy ass hentai anime.
Heh heh, now now, that's not quite true, I haven't found any tentacle pRon or penis-fingered angels in the game yet. :p

In all seriousness though Bayonetta is shamelessly sexual. So much so that were we to have an R18+ rating in Australia I'm almost certain that this would not have been rated MA15+ as it was. That's not to say that it's overly explicit, just that the innuendo and visuals are not terribly subtle. That aside, it's still a kick-arse combat game and adds just enough touches like witch time to keep things interesting. I'm enjoying it immensely even though I find that I keep swapping back to Darksiders when my carpal tunnel starts acting up.
 

Weaver

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Apr 28, 2008
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Wilbot666 said:
AC10 said:
I find bayonetta to be so shamelessly about sex that it's just flat out creepy. It's like the game is some realization of a crazy ass hentai anime.
Heh heh, now now, that's not quite true, I haven't found any tentacle pRon or penis-fingered angels in the game yet. :p

In all seriousness though Bayonetta is shamelessly sexual. So much so that were we to have an R18+ rating in Australia I'm almost certain that this would not have been rated MA15+ as it was. That's not to say that it's overly explicit, just that the innuendo and visuals are not terribly subtle. That aside, it's still a kick-arse combat game and adds just enough touches like witch time to keep things interesting. I'm enjoying it immensely even though I find that I keep swapping back to Darksiders when my carpal tunnel starts acting up.
I should have mentioned that. The game IS a good game, it's a lot of fun. I just dread each time I know there's an embarrassingly awful cut-scene ahead where we can again be ordered "FIND BAYONETTA SEXY! LOOK!"
 

StriderShinryu

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For me, the marketing has a pretty direct correlation to the gameplay contained within (at least as far as I've heard, having not played the game myself). The marketing angle shows Bayonetta as a sex object, and the game is descibed to pretty much continue that. That is my problem. Despite the quality of the gameplay, the entire game is hinged upon you actually liking Bayonetta and enjoying the "sex sells" premise. I, however, don't like the character and when she sells sex, I'm not buying.. either the "sex" or the gameplay, even though I'm a genuine fan of the fast paced combo oriented action game genre.

To me, it's sort of like if the marketing of the Tomb Raider games continued into the actual game. If every jump you made and every cliff you scaled caused the camera to zoom in and pan slow mo around Lara Croft's "assets" the fact that you were exploring and solving puzzles in an ancient underground tomb wouldn't make any difference. Lara managed to become a sex symbol through the marketing, character design and lonely fanboys.. not because the game shoved her crotch in your face at every turn. You could, as I did, find Lara not particularly attractive and yet still enjoy a solid adventure game.

Oh, and for the record, I enjoy both DOAX and Rumble Roses. Certainly they sell sex just as directly as Bayonetta does to be sure, but I actually like the characters involved, which really is my point. When a game focuses so much on a character and not on gameplay, you'd better like that character or else the entire experience fails.
 

Weaver

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StriderShinryu said:
For me, the marketing has a pretty direct correlation to the gameplay contained within (at least as far as I've heard, having not played the game myself). The marketing angle shows Bayonetta as a sex object, and the game is descibed to pretty much continue that. That is my problem. Despite the quality of the gameplay, the entire game is hinged upon you actually liking Bayonetta and enjoying the "sex sells" premise. I, however, don't like the character and when she sells sex, I'm not buying.. either the "sex" or the gameplay, even though I'm a genuine fan of the fast paced combo oriented action game genre.

To me, it's sort of like if the marketing of the Tomb Raider games continued into the actual game. If every jump you made and every cliff you scaled caused the camera to zoom in and pan slow mo around Lara Croft's "assets" the fact that you were exploring and solving puzzles in an ancient underground tomb wouldn't make any difference. Lara managed to become a sex symbol through the marketing, character design and lonely fanboys.. not because the game shoved her crotch in your face at every turn. You could, as I did, find Lara not particularly attractive and yet still enjoy a solid adventure game.

Oh, and for the record, I enjoy both DOAX and Rumble Roses. Certainly they sell sex just as directly as Bayonetta does to be sure, but I actually like the characters involved, which really is my point. When a game focuses so much on a character and not on gameplay, you'd better like that character or else the entire experience fails.
This is exactly the problem. Bayonetta does not just leave it to you to find her sexy or not; it grabs you by the head and jams your face into her breasts. It ORDERS you find her sexy. It DEMANDS it. Quite frankly, I was never a fan of being told what to think.
 

Noone From Nowhere

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Feb 20, 2009
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Maybe the guys in marketing should have played the game first?

The advertisements come dangerously close to taking the whole enterprise seriously. Not only does this turn-off the kind of people who would enjoy the game (who might laugh at the adverts for all of the wrong reasons yet would laugh at the game along with its creators in the ways that they intended) but it lets down the people who actually buy in to the ads. It's a losing proposition all around.

That is as ill-advised as selling James Bond (or Austin Powers) movies as training videos for British Intelligence or promoting a drag review to people wanting to watch a Broadway show.
 

Wilbot666

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Aug 21, 2009
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AC10 said:
Wilbot666 said:
AC10 said:
I find bayonetta to be so shamelessly about sex that it's just flat out creepy. It's like the game is some realization of a crazy ass hentai anime.
Heh heh, now now, that's not quite true, I haven't found any tentacle pRon or penis-fingered angels in the game yet. :p

In all seriousness though Bayonetta is shamelessly sexual. So much so that were we to have an R18+ rating in Australia I'm almost certain that this would not have been rated MA15+ as it was. That's not to say that it's overly explicit, just that the innuendo and visuals are not terribly subtle. That aside, it's still a kick-arse combat game and adds just enough touches like witch time to keep things interesting. I'm enjoying it immensely even though I find that I keep swapping back to Darksiders when my carpal tunnel starts acting up.
I should have mentioned that. The game IS a good game, it's a lot of fun. I just dread each time I know there's an embarrassingly awful cut-scene ahead where we can again be ordered "FIND BAYONETTA SEXY! LOOK!"
Haha yes, no argument here, they certainly poured that aspect of it on pretty thick. *Reverts to 14 yr old* "How do I get her to show me her snatch?" :p
 

Fearzone

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Dec 3, 2008
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It would be good if you included some sales expectations and actual sales figures or comparisons with similar releases as evidence that Bayonetta is underperforming sales-wise.

But Bayonetta has strategic errors that go beyond marketing.

The critical consensus is that Bayonetta runs great on the XBox and poorly on the PS3. Great, you've just alienated somewhere around a third of console gamers in the U.S. When the topic of Bayonetta comes up, you have a third of gamers saying: "meh, whatever," or staying quiet. If they couldn't make an equal game for the PS3 then maybe they just should have released it only for the XBox.

Furthermore, since the XBox probably skews toward younger and less hardcore gamers (this is just my general impression, exceptions abound of course) then that is going to go over real well having Bayonetta content spill out into the living room in front of the rest of the family. Halo, Gears of War, and Modern Warfare play just fine there, not Bayonetta. At least if it were geared to the PS3 it would be played more in shadowy rooms and basements.

Also, over the years I have seen a pattern where games with subtle (or overt) anti-religious messages, themes, and content perform poorly in terms popularity relative to the overall quality of the game.

A game marketing its sexual content is the kiss of death for me, since what I hear is: "we need to throw in pixelated tits because this is a sucky game." But were it not for the PS3 issues I might have made an exception for Bayonetta because it is so open and kooky about it. But she is a bit skinny, and crotch shots don't really do it for me.
 

008Zulu_v1legacy

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I like the game, its a visual feast for the eyes (in terms of colour balance, design and effects), it has an easy learning curve while maintaining an acceptable increase in progessive difficulty and whats more important is the game's sexuality isnt insulting (Dead or Alive Volleyball and Rumble Roses for example, are). The story can be hard to follow, but once you know it (i wont post spoilers) you will enjoy it.

When you like your job, you do it well, and Bayonetta likes her job.
 

Elesar

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My problem with Bayonetta is, and probably will remain, that it's trying far too hard.
The combat is sure to let me know something awesome is happening, but I'm never entirely sure what it is. The main character strikes me as obnoxious and, while your point about it being an interesting attempt to break down the delusions and just make a hyper-sexualized without putting on aires is well put and interesting to think about, it's not likely to endear me to it and even that comes across like it's trying too hard to be interesting. Hyper-sexualization has been in the movies and in certain comics for years, and doesn't particularly interest me.
I don't know. I was slightly biased against Bayonetta from the start and nothing I've seen or played has given me cause to change my mind.
 

Dark Knifer

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I just realised how much this sounds like a system of a down song...
 
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Great article Jordan, really echoes with Leigh Alexander's article [http://www.gamepro.com/article/features/213466/bayonetta-empowering-or-exploitative/].

I think that a lot of gamers have issues with sexuality and games like Bayonetta makes them uncomfortable. I'm not saying it's the case for everyone not liking the game, but technical considerations aside, there is something to be analyzed in this game.

AC10 said:
I find bayonetta to be so shamelessly about sex that it's just flat out creepy.
See, you find the over-sexuality creepy but I find it bold. She is to sex what Kratos is to violence. Bayonetta cannot be anything else than a female. Lara Croft is a female Indiana Jones (and retro-actively Nathan Drake), Samus could be a male space bounty hunter and no one would notice, but no men could do what Bayonetta does. There is a certain brand of feminism around her. She is sexy, she won't hide it, she will use it to go forward, and she kicks ass. I also find amusing how everyone is glancing over the maternal side of her character. It's not perfectly developed but it's there and I think it is a major part of her.
 

Sebenko

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Meh, I'm still going to call it God of War with boobs.

And why does her clothing have to be form fitting to be demon posessed?
Also, revolver... heels? I could understand stiletto knives, but revolver heels?
 

DanDeFool

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Jordan Deam said:
On The Ball: Pimping Bayonetta

Last week, I wrote a pretty positive review of Platinum Games' latest stylized, hyper-violent beat 'em up. (Summary: The fantastic combat and world design more than make up for the obtuse storytelling.) It's a game that clearly knows its audience, slyly referencing everything from Sonic the Hedgehog to Resident Evil 4 and Space Harrier in its presentation and gameplay. Unfortunately, Sega's marketing team wasn't quite as aware of the player base as the developers. By focusing on Bayonetta's sexiness to the exclusion of all else, they encouraged players to view it as overpriced softcore porn rather than an incredibly polished action game with some serious pedigree behind it.

The lesson? Sex sells, but for gamers, it's just as likely to repel.

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This is why I love The Escapist. This is one of the few and far-between places where gamers actually get some respect; where gaming is discussed as an artistic medium and not just a sort of digital crack cocaine for juvenile delinquents who are only concerned about violence and tits.

Thank you Mr. Deam.
 

SantoUno

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I'm still going to play this game. Honestly it's not just the sexual eye-candy, I played the demo and I actually liked it. Although I don't think it's worth 60 dollars at least it deserves a chance.
 

maninahat

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I did spend quite a while trying to figure out if she was a sex object or a figure of female empowerment. Or a parody of both. The jury is still out.
 

GloatingSwine

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AC10 said:
You sort of skipped over the part where you fight an "angel" and the cut-scene essentially introduces her as she's mastrubating right in your face. Why?
Why? Because it's fucking hilarious.
 

GloatingSwine

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Sebenko said:
Meh, I'm still going to call it God of War with boobs.
God of War is Devil May Cry with Manchest and clumpy slowness.

Also, Bayonetta plays very differently to God of War.

Also, revolver... heels? I could understand stiletto knives, but revolver heels?
Good job we didn't tell you about the rocket launcher heels then. Your head would probably explode. (Oh wait, oops.. Well I'm not cleaning that up.)

The leg weapons in Bayonetta are one of the core things that it adds to the DMC clone genre, the fact that you can mix and match between melee and ranged weapons, having both active at once, and the way that many weapons can do different things on your arms or legs means that there's a great deal of variety available, and it's all under the player's control. You don't have, like in other games of this type, one moveset per weapon, you have a moveset that evolves and alters depending on which combination of weapons you have equipped. You have far more control over your character in this than in any other DMC clone.