In 2014, Platinum Games producer JP Kellams keynoted a speech at the University of Central Florida where the topic of Bayonetta 2‘s exclusivity to Wii U came up. This is what he said on the matter, in part:
Without getting into some stuff that is both business and confidential, the simple question I’d like to ask you is, ‘Do you want to play Bayonetta 2?’ Bayonetta 2 would not exist without Nintendo white knighting that project. So while I totally understand that people want to play it on the platforms that they’ve played it on previously, we really wanted to make Bayonetta 2.
We really wanted to make Bayonetta 2. And Bayonetta 2 is a project that we were passionate about. And when we couldn’t… when the business situation changed and we couldn’t make it the way that we were originally planning on making it, we definitely wanted to make sure that our project survived. I’ve seen Bayonetta 2 – I look at it every single day of my life when I’m in the office. It’s really cool and the world is going to be a better place because Bayonetta 2 is in it.
The topic has remained a point of contention for some Bayonetta fans, and low sales of the sequel still point to the idea it would have flourished on other systems. While it is, on paper, true that Nintendo acted as a white knight and ensured the franchise’s longevity (most clearly demonstrated by the character’s addition to the latest Super Smash Bros.), a source tells TSSZ both Microsoft and Sony had their chance.
The source explained how Bayonetta 2 got to the point of shopping the title to all the major console makers for an exclusivity deal. The source alleges Platinum Games spent a much larger budget on the sequel–to a point where Sega execs were not happy, and the relationship between the two companies soured at the time. It’s unfortunate, because our source claims Sega indeed saw Bayonetta as one of its next great franchises, with several titles planned–not all to be done by Platinum–and even considered Marza Animation Planet to produce a Bayonetta film. A film did happen, but Bayonetta: Bloody Fate ended up under the more established Gonzo studio.
Platinum, alleges our source, then became tough to work with, despite Bayonetta 2 fairly far along in development without any deal in place. Still, because Platinum wanted to add more features, it lead to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo being approached to get the sequel across the finish line, in exchange for exclusivity. In theory, the game could have seen a multi-platform release had those features not been pursued and its budget not been inflated as a result. Our source says both Microsoft and Sony declined. Microsoft instead wanted an original IP for its system (and, indeed, they got it–Scalebound is coming to XBOX One next year), while Sony did not think Bayonetta was a good fit for the Playstation brand. Nintendo was the only one to bite, and our source says while the company was excited to work with Platinum, their involvement beyond the agreement was fairly minimal. Sega was also on board with Nintendo’s involvement, and even directed some of the Nintendo specific content to be included in the sequel, our source said.
It should be noted that this is all taking place in a time where Platinum Games was essentially unproven on Nintendo’s systems. Previously, MadWorld and Infinite Space had been released on Wii and DS respectively to relatively low sales. Though The Wonderful 101 was a Wii U exclusive, it was announced at E3 2012, not long before Bayonetta 2 was announced in September 2012. Still, the Nintendo-Platinum partnership has appeared to reap benefits for both sides, as Platinum is co-developing the next major title for one of Nintendo’s classic IP–that being Star Fox Zero, slated for release next year.
In the meantime, Platinum is set on continuing Bayonetta as a franchise, the source said. To what extent–and to what extent Sega is involved in assisting Platinum in those efforts–is not clear. Our source also did not know whether Bayonetta 2 or any possible future title could end up on another system.
We will bring some Sonic news to you here on Wednesday.