This article includes spoilers.
Hi there. My name is Seiji Hotta, and I was the composer, arranger, and cutscene music director for Bayonetta 3.
Firstly, check out this video where you can listen to the music for yourselves, along with my explanations.
Music concept for the cutscenes in the game
The concept for the music in the game’s cutscenes was based around two themes. One was that they “be connected to Bayonetta 1 and 2”. The other was “hinting at the final scene of the story by utilizing the melody of the main theme ‘We Are As One’”.
Connection with Bayonetta 1 and 2
We greatly revamped the design and gameplay of the series in Bayonetta 3 with the aim of providing players with a fresh Bayonetta experience. However, we also ensured to provide a sense of “nostalgia” to players who have played previous entries. Let’s take a listen to some samples.
EV002-2 It Might As Well Be Routine
The sound here is a string arrangement in the style of Henry Mancini (composer of the track “Moon River” used in Bayonetta 2) and uses the first game’s battle theme “Theme of Bayonetta – Mysterious Destiny,” as a motif. This tune is played around the time Hideki Kamiya’s name appears in the credits. The idea was to give a sense of nostalgia to players who have played the previous entries.
EV002-5 Party On Deck
The motif of the battle theme song “Theme Of Bayonetta 2 – Tomorrow Is Mine” from Bayonetta 2 was arranged with a saxophone solo and string orchestra. Initially, we planned to have the music play in a diegetic* way, flowing from the speakers on the ship in the game. That said, game director Yusuke Miyata instructed me to “push the music” in this scene and I happily cranked up the volume in the latter half!
* A sound source that is interpreted as being played within the game world. In other words, it is assumed that the characters in the game can also hear this sound.
The above two directions are not only meant to give a sense of connection with past games, but also to hint at “the event” that occurring at the end of Bayonetta 3.
Hinting at the final scene through
the use of the melody of the main theme
The main theme “We Are As One” was created during the first stages of development of the game, and expresses both the world of the Bayonetta series as a whole and Bayonetta 3 itself. Our goal was to make the final scene more effective by interspersing motifs from this tune at key points in the cutscenes.
EV002-3 Premonition I
To hint at the turmoil to come, this tune quotes a motif from the theme song “We Are As One”.
EV057-2 Another Talk With Viola
A serious conversation between Bayonetta and Viola, who have learned the identity of the beast, is expressed by utilizing the melody of the main theme “We Are As One”.
EV084-1 Parting Yet Again
A sad and tragic farewell scene with Beta Rosa. The motif of “We Are As One” is arranged with the chord progression of “Fly Me To The Moon”. At the end of the piece, we quoted the intro part of “We Are As One” so that the image of Beta Rosa falling into the dark night suggests the fate of Bayonetta herself.
EV105-2 Words With Luka Ⅱ
A conversation scene between Bayonetta and Luka before the final battle against Singularity. We are also utilizing the motif of “We Are As One” here from the beginning of the scene. The “Al Fine” inserted at the end of this scene also uses the same motif (For details, please refer to “Bayonetta 3 Music Vol. 3 Al Fine“) with “We Are As One” paving the way for the final scenescene.
Speaking of the music in the Bayonetta series, I’m sure that many upbeat music tracks come to mind. This characteristic is also something that has defined the gameplay experience in the series. However, for Bayonetta 3 we wanted to add more range and variety to the musical direction of the cutscenes. Here is an example.
EV002-7 Attack From The Unknown I
We composed a suspenseful tune that begins quietly, contrasting with the scenes of people screaming and running away. A tsunami surging in, people scurrying, and Enzo’s new car getting badly smashed up again… The strings begin to play the melody, and the track proceeds in the classical style known as a “Fughetta”. The term is derived from the Latin word “fugere,” meaning “escape,” suggesting a situation of people on the run.
If we had played an intense tune from the first tsunami scene, the music would have conflicted with the presentation and the sound effects and would have blurred the impression we wanted to give to the player. Therefore, we decided to remove the music completely at the cut where Bayonetta looks up at the tsunami, and gradually build up the tension with the music from that point on. It was great that Miyata understood the creative direction for this scene and allow us to work on it freely.
The quality and quantity of Bayonetta 3‘s cutscenes are the largest in the series. I truly hope that our music was able to play a part in providing players with an awesome gameplay experience.
BAYONETTA 3 ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
The Bayonetta3 Original Soundtrack is now available to stream and purchase digitally! Look back on your journey with the beautiful melodies that helped shape it.
Listen Now: https://lnk.to/bayonetta3
Since 2010, Seiji has been working as a freelance composer for TV animation, commercials, and games. In 2019, he travelled to Europe to study film music at the Film Scoring Academy of Europe. He joined PlatinumGames in 2020, where he worked as a composer on Babylon’s Fall.