Hideki Kamiya, writer and designer behind the Bayonetta series, said that Bayonetta 4 is in development, though in what capacity is unclear. On Twitter, where Kamiya hinted that “Bayo 4” will continue the franchise, the PlatinumGames co-founder also addressed the critical reception to Bayonetta 3, and in particular the disappointment some players felt (including yours truly) about the ending of the game.
Kamiya began his thread about Bayonetta 4 by linking to a response he’d written to a fan’s question on the social network Peing. Google’s translation of Kamiya’s post, which was originally written in Japanese, reads as follows: “I think that unexpected developments are waiting... please look forward to it...”
In a threaded response to his own post, Kamiya continued (according to Google Translate and DeepL Translator):
I didn’t think it was unexpected at all, but it seems that the ending of Bayo 3 wasn’t conveyed correctly to everyone, so I think Bayo 4 will be an unexpected development for everyone. After all, when Bayo 4 comes out, I’m sure there will be people who say, “You added that as an afterthought,” so I’ll say it now...
Although I said to look forward to it, I think that those who don’t like 3 and become a maddened poisonous radio transmitter should not touch the series in the future... I’m not counting on them as targets, and even if they like 4, it would be annoying if they go crazy again at some point...
[Warning: The following contains full spoilers for Bayonetta 3.]
Kamiya does not specify which aspect of Bayonetta 3’s ending he means, nor does he make it clear which aspect of Bayonetta 4 might be perceived as a reversal or retcon. There are several possibilities here, though, given that a lot of things happen in the last few moments of Bayonetta 3.
Here’s a quick rundown of the game’s final climactic battle: Bayonetta’s best friend Jeanne dies, and this time, it appears to be for good (in Bayonetta 2, the heroine went to literal hell and back to rescue Jeanne). Bayonetta also dies, but not before linking up romantically with Luka, a side character who plays a much larger part in this game than in the previous two and who now has a super-powered werewolf form that never previously appeared. Anyway, Bayonetta’s death takes her to hell, since she’s a witch, and Luka voluntarily goes with her. The game’s new character, Viola, is revealed to be Bayonetta and Luka’s kid from another dimension, and after witnessing the demise of her alt-universe parents, Viola takes up the mantle and the name “Bayonetta” as her own.
After that ending, most players have been assuming that Viola will be the heroine of any future game, and that Bayonetta, Luka, and Jeanne will remain in hell, at least at first. Bayonetta 4 could theoretically include a reversal of any or all of those aspects, since all of these different plot points have sparked complaints from from fans — especially the prospect of playing as Viola instead of the original Bayonetta, given the huge difference in combat stylings between both characters, as well as fans’ understandable attachment to Bayonetta as the long-running series lead.
On the topic of fan responses to his work, Kamiya also linked to a previous Twitter thread he had written about this topic. DeepL Translator’s version of this thread reads as follows:
Recently, I recognized the word (or rather the concept) “misinterpretation”... Well, each person can enjoy the things he or she has received, and can think about this and that, or expand on them through secondary creations, and that is one of the ways to enjoy them, but the ones who throw a tantrum and become aggressive in the heat of it are the most troublesome... The aggressor is an enemy on a completely different level than the complainer...
I value not only the game design, but also the worldview, art design, and of course the story (which I write myself) equally, and I put a lot of care and love into my games, but I have a feeling that I will never be able to have a relationship with people who are abnormally devoted to one element (for example, the characters) and judge games based on that alone.
Speaking for myself, as somebody who did not enjoy Bayonetta 3, I don’t expect to be the target audience of Bayonetta 4 — although I will admit to some curiosity about which aspect of Bayonetta 3’s ending will get reversed.
It’s unclear what the status of Bayonetta 4 is, as neither series publishers Sega or Nintendo have confirmed the game’s development. But given the protracted development of Bayonetta 3, which was first announced in 2017 at The Game Awards, it seems plausible that Bayonetta 4 could take a while.