A new game mode for the upcoming Bayonetta 3 from Platinum Games is sparking discussion on social media. It's a new feature that the company says will allow more people to "fully enjoy" the game, by toggling how much in-game nudity is on display.
Platinum Games announced the new mode alongside an updated trailer for the game and also shared news of its release date. The Nintendo Switch exclusive will launch on October 28, 2022.
The new game mode is called "Naive Angel Mode," and was showcased in a video explaining how it will work in-game. According to the displayed video, enabling Naive Angel Mode will switch what character models are used in the game.
When the mode is turned off, Bayonetta will continue her tradition of using her clothes (which are also her hair, it's complicated) as a weapon, leaving her less clothed when she strings together high-combo attacks.
Relax, the witch is back and sexier than ever🌙— PlatinumGames Inc. (@platinumgames) July 13, 2022
We've added the revolutionary "Naive Angel Mode" to Bayonetta 3 so more people can fully enjoy it👍
By turning it on, you can play right in the living room without having to worry about what's on screen... we think😅#Bayonetta3 pic.twitter.com/SEs3vqrdYc
When the mode is turned on, Bayonetta and other game characters with similar costumes will remain fully clothed.
Bayonetta 3's wardrobe weaponry
It's worth noting that creating a feature like Naive Angel Mode takes a non-significant amount of extra work. The feature appears to swap in-game models for Bayonetta and other characters, which means that said models have to be developed and checked for quality assurance throughout the development process.
The purpose of that work was, as Platinum Games put it, to allow more players to "fully enjoy" the game. There's a lot to unpack in that statement—questions about Bayonetta's sexual style have floated around the series since its debut in 2014, though critics like our own Katherine Cross have noted that her creators have imbued her with a sense of agency that goes beyond traditional talk of objectification.
In an increasingly global video game market, varying cultural standards on nudity have meant that there are some players who might not engage with Bayonetta for cultural or religious reasons. There is definitely an upside in developing features that invite more players to experience the series by meeting them where they are and their cultural standards.
However, the mode doesn't do away with Bayonetta's pole dancer-inspired combat style, or the suggestive camera angles and sound effects that have been a trademark of the series. The mode does put the focus back on women's bodies, and arbitrary levels of how much revealed skin is appropriate in different cultures.
It's interesting territory for Platinum Games to move into, given that the company has definitely not shied away from Bayonetta's style in the past.