Hi, designer Mari Shimazaki here!
I was the lead character designer and art director for Bayonetta 3.
This is the fourth entry in this blog series, and I’d like to introduce you to the character designs and final models for the new “Demon Masquerade” system.
As the number of weapons and Infernal Demons continued to increase, it was starting to get a little difficult to remember which demons Bayonetta was contracted with. This was just one of the reasons we thought it could be a good idea to have the Infernal Demon’s power physically represented on Bayonetta herself. And thus the Demon Masquerade system was born.
This meant it would be easier to see at a glance which demons Bayonetta was contracted with at the time, as well as giving us a unique ability and appearance (according to director Yusuke Miyata).
I personally think it looks gorgeous on-screen, and definitely gives us more of a “witchy” feel, but at the same time it meant a ginormous increase in work-load. I’m glad we were able to somehow make it through.
The concept for these designs wasn’t to just to simply fuse Bayonetta and the Infernal Demons, but to make it seem like Bayonetta had been rebuilt from her very core. The Infernal Demons themselves have very organic features in their designs, so I wanted to have more inorganic objects such as ornaments and accessories used in the designs for Demon Masquerade.
Regarding her face, I was asked by supervising director Hideki Kamiya to “Keep it within the range that I think would be beautiful”, so the faces basically stayed human but with a little bit extra.
So let’s take a look at some of the individual Demon Masquerades.
Demon Masqueerade: Madama Butterfly
First up is Demon Masquerade: Madama Butterfly.
Madama Butterfly already has a very human-like appearance, so I had to think of a way to make the Demon Masquerade look distinct. Madama gives of a “strong” and “beautiful” aura, so when adding Bayonetta into the mix, I thought it would be good to add in a bit of “cute”.
That’s why she has these fuzzy buns on her head instead of hair.
The demon had to be reflected in her limbs, so to balance that out her torso has a feminine figure accentuated with accessory-like items.
This is a bit off-topic, but you can the Demon Masquerade in Bayonetta’s shadow.
In the first two games you could see Madama Butterfly in Bayonetta’s shadow, but it’s worth checking out her shadow when she equips different weapons.
Demon Masqueerade: Gomorrah
Next up is Demon Masquerade: Gomorrah.
The general idea for Gomorrah was established quite early on. Madama ended up looking somewhat cute, so the Gomorrah Demon Masquerade is a lot more cool.
With the Demon Masquerades essentially being demi-human, I was free to play around with the exposed areas, including the skin tones. Although the base of the form is meant to be human-like, I had fun designing the Demon Masquerades as I knew I was able to add in some of these non-human aspects.
Demon Masqueerade: Phantasmaraneae
Next we have Demon Masquerade: Phantasmaraneae.
This is a wonderful one, with spider legs. I said this earlier when I was talking about Gomorrah, but I really think it’s worth it to able to add in these non-human elements and give them a kind of demi-human look.
In the first drafts for Phantasmaraneae, I wanted to bring out a bit more of Bayonetta into the design, so it somewhat resembled clothing and included things such as ruffles, but unfortunately this idea ended up scrapped.
(I got to add ruffles to Baal’s Demon Masquerade, though. Phew.)
I still wanted to to incorporate that kind of delicacy somewhere, so I at least had the feet made into an impossibly sharp “en pointe”.
I did get some feedback that pointed out that these feet would be physically impossible to walk on (which I understand), but I think being able to work on fantastical logic is one of the highlights of this job, and I’m grateful to director Miyata for giving the design the OK.
Designs will change to match the concept itself, so there can never be a “single correct answer”.
With the Bayonetta series the designs need to be convincing, but at the same time the going with your gut is incredibly important.
Demon Masqueerade: Malphas
Next up is Demon Masquerade: Malphas.
Demon Masquerade: Malphas differs to the others in that it has wings, so I thought it should be able to glide freely through the sky.
I kept the torso relatively simple with no protrusions, and gave a mysterious look to the head.
I also added some shiny coin-like accessories.Although it wasn’t my intention, this Malphas Demon Masquerade is also used by Bayonetta β3, who I talked a little about in my last entry.
So I had the design venture towards a belly-dancer style that would go well with β3.
Something I find particular interesting about the creative process is that sometimes there are case where you decide on the rough concept and attack it from a few different angles…and sometimes it just happens to end up connecting somewhat with something else you’ve been working on separately. That’s when all those dots you’ve been connecting suddenly appear as a single line. When you have a few similar goals out there, you might find that your results start to naturally cross over with each other. I think it’s neat when I’m able to pull something out of these overlaps that happened without me even intending on it.
So what are your thoughts?
These are far from the only Demon Masquerades to be found in the game, and they all with their own taste to them.
I hope you will play the game and pay attention to how the Infernal Demons are represented in each of them.
Each of the Demon Masquerades have a mark that represents Bayonetta’s beauty mark, but the main Bayonetta and the βBayonettas all have beauty marks in different spots. This made the bug checks incredibly difficult…
Every time I found a mole in the wrong spot I’d find myself moaning at this work I’d brought upon myself…but that was also something I have fond memories of, I guess?
I was constantly berating myself aloud as I worked…
If you ever feel like the game is feeling a bit too difficult, or you’re just getting a little tired as you play, then perhaps you could take your time to appreciate the work put into the graphics as you take a breather.
Worked on Bayonetta, Bayonetta 2, Bayonetta 3, and many other titles as a character designer and art director and is currently working on several projects.