Hi everyone! My name is Kanata Sasaki, and I worked as a visual effects (VFX) artist on Bayonetta 3. I was mainly responsible for the VFX appearing in battles, including for characters and enemies. In this entry, I will talk about the VFX related to the Infernal Demons (who are certainly central figures of Bayonetta 3) as well as the Homunculi, who are the main enemies in the game.
To start off with, let me introduce the VFX for summoning the Infernal Demons and the effects that you see when they vanish.
Visual Effects when Summoning and Dismissing the Infernal Demons
If you have played Bayonetta 3 then you may already know that, unlike in the previous Bayonetta games, players are now able to freely control the Infernal Demons during battle. Moreover, instead of activating the Infernal Demons with special moves, players can summon them at any time in large areas. The ability to summon these immense creations sounds like fun, but we needed to ensure that players would be able to control these demons without it feeling stressful or uncomfortable for the player. This was not an easy task… That said, I think we were able to make a decent landing after all the trial and error.
Let’s start with the summoning VFX.
VFX when summoning a demon
What do you think? As you can see, a hair-like effect is dynamically produced around the magic circle (*1), and the demon appears through a gate that looks like a hellish pond of blood. The pond and the columns of blood are all made using VAT (*2), which contributes to the sense of fluidity.
（*1）The effect appears gray in the above video, but it changes according to summoner’s hair color.
（※2）Vertex Animation Textures, a VFX modelling technique.
Gomorrah (the demon) appearing through a gate that looks like a pond of blood
Pond of blood-like VFX
We were sure to stop the VFX for the summoning of the Infernal Demons from interrupting the flow of the game. We also paid attention to the momentum and vigor during the summoning, making sure to accentuate the energy when they appear out of the magic circle. This overall direction allowed us to create the VFX accordingly, which in a sense helped us to have a clear idea of what we were going to do.
Gomorrah falls from above when summoned in the air
Next, let’s talk about the VFX used when the demons vanish.
The way the demons vanish is different from their summons. Unlike summons, in which the demon appears with a fixed action, the vanishing does not have a fixed situation in which the demons disappear.
They may disappear in the middle of an attack, or during standby. No matter what state the demon is in, they have to vanish eventually.
Demon vanishing from the top down
It’s probably hard to tell just by looking at this footage alone, so let’s take a look at it in action in the actual game.
In-game footage of demon vanishing
As you can see, Gomorrah will vanish properly no matter what. The effect used for the vanishing of the Infernal Demons is a dissolve function (the kind you often see in games where the model slowly disappears).
Instead of just erasing the entire body of the model, we had a special joint made at the feet of the demon, and based on this joint, we made the demon model disappear vigorously from the top. Therefore, particles are generated from the 2D mask of the demon so that it feels quite satisfying when the demon vanishes. Particles are also not all generated at the same time, and the generation of particles is adjusted as they disappear from top to bottom.
For Infernal Demon models which cannot be handled by simply disappearing from the top down, we created a pattern for them to disappear toward the center of the model.
Demon vanishing toward the center
Since the size of each Infernal Demon is different, it was very difficult to make adjustments for each one, but I think the VFX we came up with were pretty cool, thanks to the work of the team!
Homunculus Visual Effects
Let me show you some VFX we used on the Homunculi. The Homunculi are the main enemies in the game and are a collection of humanoids that appear in various form. You can see the way they are generated in real time when they appear in battle. Here goes.
VFX when Homunculus is hit with a severe blow
Did you catch it? When a humanoid Homunculus is severely damaged, its whole body scatters along with its bodily fluids. Moreover, these Homunculi fossilize and shatter when they hit the ground.
Director Yusuke Miyata’s passionate request allowed us to portray this creative setting through the VFX, which is also a characteristic (simple, but when you see it, it definitely has an impact!) of the Homunculi.
Here are the VFX on their own.
Okay, that’s all we have for you. Did you enjoy this entry?
I think VFX are not that easily noticed in the game, but they support the game’s environment and definitely provide extra depth to the overall game experience. Although we do tend to focus more on the character models and animations, let’s not forget that visual effects also play a crucial role in crafting an unforgettable gameplay experience!
Thanks for taking the time to read!
After working on VFX for ‘tokusatsu’ style TV shows, he joined PlatinumGames in 2017, where he participated in “ASTRAL CHAIN” as a VFX artist, and in “Bayonetta 3”, he was mainly responsible for PL (player), demon and Enemy VFX.