Truth be told, it was a real struggle to arrive at the final design for Bayonetta herself. In fact, it took a full year! I think what happened during that year is quite interesting, but it is quite a long story, so I’ll save it for another time. When we started Bayonetta, our director, Hideki Kamiya, asked me to design a character with three traits: 1) A Female Lead, 2) A Modern Witch, 3) She Uses Four Guns. Designers use these keywords to fuel their imagination as they draw.
Since Bayonetta is a witch, her “theme color” had to be black! The other special part of her design is the long hair wrapping around her body. The hair gathered around Bayonetta’s sleeves accentuates the movements of her limbs. When a female character appears in an action game, her limbs often seem thin and short. That is why I tried to make her more appealing as an action game character by adjusting her proportions and extending her limbs.
Bayonetta’s long hair is the source of her power, and she normally wears it around her body as a means of adornment and protection. However, once she enters battle, she can use her hair to summon incredibly powerful demons from hell. When she summons these Infernal Demons, she is using all of her power, so she has no time to control the hair wrapped around her body and thus she ends up in more “comfortable” attire. The exciting way she looks in this state is one of the parts of Bayonetta that I love.
By the way, Bayonetta’s beehive was a hairdo that I really wanted to give her, and I insisted on drawing her that way throughout the design process. As she is a witch, I thought that instead of a pointy hat, I would give her something elegant, like a wrap-do … Apparently though, Kamiya-san didn’t really care either way. :-p
There was another thing I added to Bayonetta to make her an even more appealing character …
Glasses! This was something that Kamiya-san really pushed for, as he was aiming to differentiate Bayonetta from other female characters and give her a sense of mystery and intelligence. Of course, I think it is just because he likes girls with glasses. Conceptually, we were also looking to make Bayonetta “fashionable,” and I designed her so that this sense of fashion came through in all the little details, not just the glasses.
— Mari Shimazaki