Editors Note: This article comes from our new contributor Erik Sugay.
Bayonetta, developed by the talented folks at Platinum Games, released a few years ago to critical acclaim thanks to its frenetic, yet smooth combat, outlandish narrative, and stellar soundtrack. These qualities were not lost on those of the hardcore gaming crowd as, after only a few months on the market, the game managed to shift over a respectable 1.35 million copies.1 Considering the install bases of the platforms it released on, Bayonetta garnered a relatively small, but incredibly vocal audience.
Dreams of a Bayonetta sequel were dashed earlier this year when Sega Sammy announced a restructuring for its underperforming games arm, where the company detailed its plans to narrow its developmental focus to “strong IPs, such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Football Manager, Total War and Aliens…[therefore] canceling the development of some game software titles.”2 Various articles then surfaced reporting that a sequel to the beloved game had indeed been canceled.3
Fast-forward to September 13th, 2012, where, during a series of Wii U presentations, Nintendo boldly announced that it would publish the allegedly canned Bayonetta 2 exclusively for its upcoming console.4
All of this back-story is necessary because what happened next is mind-boggling.
Sifting through thousands of forum, Facebook, and Twitter posts yielded some sensible responses of either indifference or happiness to the Bayonetta 2 news. I have to emphasize that nearly any other response than the aforementioned two is unmistakably illogical. However, the internet, being what it is, gives a perfect place for people to voice their discontent at the most trivial issues.
People actually complained about the game being resurrected.
Without any sense of propriety, the irrationally vocal flooded Bayonetta 2-related news with posts and tweets to air out their grievances. The backlash was palpable. Many posts were inundated with vulgarities, but the worst descended into outright racism and death threats. Obviously, these types of extreme stupidity don’t deserve to be dignified with a response. Instead, I’d like to address the comparatively levelheaded complaints, and how anyone who is a fan of Bayonetta and was eagerly anticipating its sequel has absolutely no real reason to object to the fact that that sequel is now a Wii U exclusive.
THE ISSUES, OR LACK THEREOF
I want it on my system of choice!
A common, relatively composed complaint is that, since both the first game and the canned sequel were originally developed for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, distraught fans want Bayonetta 2 to be released on consoles that they already own, or on a next-generation system that they already intend to purchase. As the Wii U obviously doesn’t fit either of those categories, these people are expectedly upset. That’s a fair stance to take, but all indications are that Bayonetta 2 was outright canceled. The game wouldn’t even be in production today if someone didn’t jump in to fund it.
In fact, Atsushi Inaba, executive director at Platinum Games, stated in an interview with Polygon that Bayonetta 2 would not exist without Nintendo.5 In that case, these whining fans should be blaming Sony or Microsoft or any other publisher for not offering to finance the game’s development before Nintendo did. Non-Wii U versions of Bayonetta 2 won’t exist anytime soon, if ever.
I can never play Bayonetta 2 because it’s on a Nintendo console!
That proposition of exclusivity doesn’t sit well with some of these complainers. Many have stated that they will “never” buy the Wii U, so they’re upset that they can “never” play Bayonetta 2, even though it’s a game that they really, really want to play. (Seriously, just peruse any relevant message board and you’ll find the word “never” thrown around a lot in regards to this topic.)
These people feel like they’re being deprived of Bayonetta 2, when, in reality, Nintendo is offering them the opportunity to even play it. Think about that for a second. The options were a) no Bayonetta 2 or b) Bayonetta 2 as a Nintendo exclusive, and some of these self-proclaimed fans are actually complaining that the game exists at all. These moaners have already made up their minds about not buying or playing games on the Wii U.
For various reasons, however fairly or unfairly, Nintendo has a lot of labels (“too kiddy”) and stigmas (“they don’t get substantial third party support”) attached to it. Due to these criticisms, many people either have no faith in the future support of the Wii U, believe that it is redundant hardware that will soon be obsolete, and/or have no interest in any other games that have already been announced for it. Bayonetta 2 complainers, who fit this mold, therefore believe that they will “never” be able to play this hotly anticipated sequel because there isn’t enough justification to buy a Wii U.
To say “never” because of those reasons seems pretty extreme, especially considering the system now has an exclusive game that these people actually want. If they truly want to play Bayonetta 2 like they claim, then they should just buy the Wii U for this one game, since they likely won’t be able to play it on any other platform.
It’s too expensive!
A popular blanket response to that suggestion is that it’d be foolish for people to buy a console for a single game. Some people are upset with this situation because they don’t have the funds to support more than one next-generation console and, as mentioned above, the Wii U is not that console.
The reasoning is that, if Bayonetta 2 were available on the PS3 and Xbox 360, these people would likely only need to buy the game itself. Further, unlike with the Wii U, if Bayonetta 2 were on other next-generation consoles, it wouldn’t be the only game these people are interested in playing. Thus, they can “never” play Bayonetta 2 because it would not be financially feasible to purchase the Wii U for a single game.
Again, that’s a fair stance to take, but I labeled it as a blanket response because the cost of entry to play a desired game is different for everyone. What’s stopping these cash-strapped people from waiting until the price drops for both the Wii U and Bayonetta 2? They both will drop in price eventually; it’s the nature of these kinds of products. There has to be a point sometime in the future, no matter how far, where the cost of buying both products is worth it for these people to play this single game that they’re so clearly passionate about.
Price isn’t the issue. Not alone, anyways.
But, I don’t want to pay a premium for it and I don’t want to wait to play it!
Like with all games, though, waiting for a price drop is the source of another complaint, since these people would like to play Bayonetta 2 as soon as possible. It’s certainly a strange complaint, since it’s not a situation exclusive to video games; this applies to most consumer products. If people want to have and use a product right away (in this case, Bayonetta 2), they need to pay the higher price (in this case, the Wii U) to do so. If that price is too expensive, obviously, they have to wait until the cost comes down.
Besides, it’s not like waiting to play the game is going to diminish the end experience. If Bayonetta 2 turns out to be sublime upon release, it’s not like it’s going to stop being an excellent game years down the road. It’s not like <insert your favorite game from one or two generations ago> is suddenly worse because of the games and systems that are available now.
Further, if these people are hoping for versions to be released on the PS3, Xbox 360, or their successors, considering the game’s current publishing situation, these people will already be waiting a long time for something that might never happen.
QUIT YOUR WHINING
If you claim to be a fan of the franchise, don’t say you’ll “never” be able to play Bayonetta 2, because that isn’t true. Don’t complain to either Platinum Games or Nintendo for the sequel’s Wii U exclusivity because you’re directing your irrational anger at the wrong parties. For whatever inexplicable reason, these whiners chose to pout about the lack of other, non-Wii U versions of the game, throw embarrassing tantrums, and turn their noses up at the one company that was willing to keep a beloved franchise going.
If these people foolishly deprive themselves of what could be a wonderful experience solely because of the console it’s on, call them out on their nonsense. When the alternative is absolutely no game at all, how can you even think of complaining when a company saves it from nonexistence?
If you’re a Nintendo fan, but not yet a Bayonetta fan, take note of the backlash and understand its significance. The Bayonetta 2 agreement is a mutually beneficial business decision for both parties: Platinum Games gets to continue developing a game that’s dear to them while Nintendo foots the bill, and Nintendo gets an exclusive, hardcore game that should help alleviate the labels and stigmas associated with the company.
Seriously, be excited by this promising start to Nintendo’s next generation.
Erik Sugay – Pure Nintendo contributor.
Believes that the best correlation between the words “twilight” and “sparkle” has less to do with vampires and more to do with a sarcastic pony.