At TheGamer, we do Game of the Year in a fairly unique way. Rather than a site-wide debate or a few select editors unilaterally choosing the final list, every editor gets to make their own top ten, and from there, we use the magic power of mathematics to get our ultimate Game of the Year. In the two years we've done this, our GOTYs have been The Forgotten City and Citizen Sleeper, so I think we're doing something right. However, it also throws up some interesting insights. Personally, I had the list most in line with our overall GOTY picks, with seven of mine making our final ten. But another one of mine was overlooked completely, with no one else ranking Bayonetta 3 anywhere. It's surprising, given all the noise before it came out, but hopefully, Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon can leave more of a mark next March.
I have long been critical of gaming's growing trend of remakes. They feel like a waste of time to give us a more polished experience we already love and, in most cases, is already widely accessible. They are safe bets designed to test the waters ahead of a new entry, and underline how risk averse the industry is. The idea of using them to lay the groundwork is not even true most of the time – development on the next Mass Effect, The Last of Us, and Resident Evil was always going to continue regardless of how the remakes sold. Even if Naughty Dog does something other than TLOU3 next, it won't be because of the remake's sales figures.
However, what I love to see is a game taking its own popularity and using it to fuel a completely different game with a fresh look and new vibe. All games are products sold for money, but they feel much more like passion projects when they spin off in all directions like this. Persona 5 led to Dancing in Starlight and Strikers, both of which perfectly understood the characters but showed them in a completely new light, while completely transforming the genre. They felt like extensions of Persona 5 in ways video games rarely get to tell their stories. Not a sequel nor a remake, but more a revisiting. I'm hoping Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon can do the same.
It's remarkable that it looks completely different from Bayonetta, with a new genre, and yet it feels right at home. The Bayonetta games are dark, bloody, and highly sexual. Cereza and the Lost Demon is far tamer, with cutesy, almost chibi character designs and a brighter pastel palette. The trailer, first revealed at The Game Awards, begins with clips from Bayo 3 then flips like a storybook back through time to Bayo 3's Bayonetta as she was younger, and then through the earlier games, until finally, the aesthetic changes and we're greeted by the logo for Bayonetta Origins. From here, the art style of Cereza and the Lost Demon floods the page with colour, and with it introduces new ideas about what Bayonetta can be.
Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is a more painterly take on the Bayonetta mythology, transforming from an erotic, gory adventure through Hell into a dark fairytale. The basic ingredients are here, but they're given a more precious lilt, and in freeing itself from the tropes of darkness, can hopefully find new ways to tell Bayonetta's story. The ending of Bayo 3 suggests Bayo 4 is planned as more of a straight sequel, but we should welcome these experimental deviations from the path when they're so clearly born of passion to tell more stories. Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is arriving in a far more understated fashion than Bayonetta is used to, but it could pack a surprise punch.
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