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Bayonetta's Entire Story Explained

The "Bayonetta" series from Platinum Games is filled with incredible spectacle, flashy sequences, and intricate combat. It puts an emphasis on players chaining attacks together in long combo strings against a range of enemies using the titular protagonist's acrobatics, magical abilities, and guns. The game's unique style, alongside its characters and tone, has helped the series find a dedicated fanbase that is large enough to support two full sequels, a prequel film, and even inclusion in Nintendo's "Super Smash Bros." series. 

Everything that has helped so many fans fall in love with "Bayonetta," however, is built upon the series' world and story, which is filled with angels, demons, magic, and plenty of Easter eggs. Despite this, the lore of the series can be a bit difficult to piece together between all of the gun-shoes, giant fists made of hair, and ridiculous characters. However, not thoroughly understanding the lore and background of the games' world can leave players confused and lost as characters reveal secret identities, magical abilities appear out of nowhere, and ancient relics return to influence events all over again. So, if you're looking for a refresher or need some help piecing it all together, you've come to the right place. 

Umbra Witches and Lumen Sages

The groundwork for the world of "Bayonetta" begins 500 years before the first game takes place. In those times all of Europe was dominated by two clans of magical beings. Both of the clans were incredibly powerful and were responsible for maintaining the appropriate flow of time and space while both drawing their power from equal but opposite universal forces. The first were the Umbra Witches, who worshipped the powers of darkness. They practiced dark arts and were feared by world rulers for their ability to derive power from the darkest parts of humanity. 

The Umbra Witches were mirrored by the clan of the light, the Lumen Sages. The Lumen Sages were also feared alongside the Umbra Witches, and while the two clans were direct opposites of one another there was a lot of respect between them. The two clans managed to live in peace for hundreds of years and even worked together on some projects under the agreement that their clans would stay distinct and never intermingle. That was, until there was a union between two members from the opposing clans, sparking a war that almost entirely destroyed both in the process. 

Eyes of the World

A core part of the identities and purpose of both the Umbra Witches and the Lumen Sages was the Eyes of the World. Both of the clans were originally created via the gifting of one of the Eyes of the World, with the Lumen Sages receiving the right eye and the Umbra Witches the left. These were given to them by Aesir, the God of Chaos. Aesir created the universe to have a realm of light named Paradiso, a realm of darkness named Inferno, and a realm of chaos. The realm of chaos is our own world, and shortly before Aesir disappeared, he gifted the Eyes of the World to the two most powerful clans in the world for safekeeping.

This gave the Lumen Sages power over Paradiso and the Umbra Witches power over Inferno. The clans sharing the eyes also forced them to work together to maintain the rigid rules of reality. The eyes are extraordinarily powerful and are said to even be capable of creating universal concepts such as free will. The Eyes were also said to be powerful enough that they could resurrect the long-dormant deity Jubileus the Creator if they were brought together, which would allow the realm of Paradiso to extend its influence over the other two realms of existence and rule them with an iron fist. 

Bayonetta Awakens

The next important story beat comes at the start of the first "Bayonetta" game. The game follows the titular Umbra Witch after she has woken up from a 500-year slumber with the Left Eye of the World in her possession. The game's opening cutscene shows her disguised as a nun performing funeral rites for a mysterious figure named Rodin. She is accompanied by a black-market information dealer named Enzo, who she frequently enlists to purchase information from and to help her travel. 

However, the funeral rites are revealed to be a trick to summon angels from Paradiso to come try and collect Rodin's soul, allowing Bayonetta to resurrect him. Once Rodin is awakened the duo team up to kill a horde of angels in a stylish fight that is filled with jokes, action, and a lot of flair. The angels are eventually defeated, allowing Rodin to return to his bar called the Gates of Hell, where he operates as both bartender and a renowned craftsman of demonic weaponry. In exchange for his resurrection Rodin promises to give Bayonetta any information he can about the location of the Right Eye of the World, so Bayonetta and Enzo follow him to his bar. 

Jeanne and a Sense of Purpose

Bayonetta and Enzo's trip to the Gates of Hell, however, is disrupted when they are almost hit by a crashing commercial airliner. It turns out that the plane is being attacked by a horde of angels, and after Bayonetta gets Enzo to safety she begins fending them off. As she does so she runs into another Umbra Witch that feels oddly familiar to her, but she is unable to remember her name. The Umbra Witch is ultimately revealed to be Jeanne, and they two briefly fight once the angels have been dealt with. However, Jeanne escapes after taunting Bayonetta, allowing her and Enzo to continue their journey.

Once they reach the Gates of Hell, Rodin reveals that he doesn't have any useful information about the second Eye of the World. To reward Bayonetta for saving him he instead gives her a pair of custom-made guns that become her favored weapons for the rest of the game. Enzo then reveals that he actually has managed to find information on the Right Eye's possible whereabouts, which all point to a European city by the name of Vigrid. 

Adventures in Vigrid

To continue her search Bayonetta heads to the city of Vigrid, where she is met by countless soldiers in service of Paradiso. Accordingly, she has to fight her way through the majority of the city. As she does so she runs into Jeanne numerous times. Doing so gives her various visions of their possible past, including one of her seemingly being killed by Jeanne. However, she is never able to completely figure out how she knows the other Umbra Witch. As she travels throughout the city Bayonetta also meets an adventurous journalist by the name of Luka. When they first meet Luka believes that Bayonetta is responsible for killing his father, so he begins relentlessly following her to try and uncover her secrets and bring her to justice. 

As Luka follows her, Bayonetta is attacked by and kills a group of high-ranking Pardiso generals known as the Cardinal Virtues. Shortly afterward, she runs into a young girl named Cereza that says she lost her parents. Bayonetta promises to help protect her and help her find her parents as they travel through the city together. Shortly after, however, Bayonetta starts having visions that seem to imply that she could actually be Cereza's lost mother herself. 

Revealed Truths

Shortly after meeting Cereza, Bayonetta again crosses paths with Jeanne on a nearby island. This time, however, the two decide to finally fight to the end. Bayonetta manages to barely defeat Jeanne, who answers Bayonetta's questions in her final moments. Jeanne reveals that her and Bayonetta are the last remaining members of the Umbra Witches and that there is only one remaining Lumen Sage in the entire world named Balder. Jeanne also tells Bayonetta that she was the result of an illegal union between an Umbra Witch and a Lumen Sage, which brought about the war that destroyed both clans. 

Jeanne then reveals that her and Bayonetta were best friends hundreds of years ago and that she was responsible for Bayonetta being sealed away for hundreds of years. She tells Bayonetta that she did this to protect the Left Eye of the World that Bayonetta has from the Lumen Sages who want to use it to allow Paradiso to rule all three realms of existence. In the final moments before her death Jeanne also refers to Bayonetta by her real name: Cereza. 

Confronting Balder

After slaying Jeanne, Bayonetta continues toward a massive tower in the city called Ithavoll Tower, where she believes the Right Eye of the World to be held. Once she ascends, the tower she comes face to face with the last remaining Lumen Sage, Balder. Before the two fight Balder reveals more truths to Bayonetta. The first is that he is behind her entire journey up to this point. It is revealed that he brought Bayonetta back from her slumber and that he implanted the desire to find the Right Eye of the World in her so that she would bring the Left Eye directly to him. 

Balder then also reveals that he is Bayonetta's father, the Lumen Sage that fell in love with an Umbra Witch and brought about the destruction of his own people. He tells Bayonetta that the Eyes of the World are people rather than objects and that Bayonetta herself is the Left Eye of the World. Finally, Balder tells Bayonetta that the young girl Cereza is actually a younger version of Bayonetta that has been ripped from her own place in the timeline. After Bayonetta defeats Balder she then takes Cereza back to her own time and gives the young girl her watch to help protect her. 

A Changed Timeline

When Bayonetta returns to her own present she discovers that returning Cereza to her own time vastly changed the things. This is because Bayonetta gave her the watch, which helped protect her from being kidnapped in the first place. This prevents her from losing her memory at the start of the game, which in turn unleashes the power of the Left Eye inside of her. When Bayonetta returns to the present this effectively completes Balder's plan. He then traps her in Ithavoll Tower, which turns into a rocket ship to take her to Paradiso and resurrect Jubileus. 

In Paradiso Bayonetta again defeats Balder, but only after Jubileus has been resurrected. Luckily, Bayonetta is assisted by Jeanne, who wasn't killed in the new timeline. The two then defeat Jubileus together by sending his soul flying through space into the sun by creating a gigantic summon with their combined powers. Once Jubileus is defeated, the Umbra Witches fall back to the Earth together with their ultimate fates remaining a mystery. 

Bayonetta 2 Begins

"Bayonetta 2" begins shortly after the conclusion of the first game. It starts with a cutscene showing Bayonetta shopping for Christmas presents with Enzo's help. The shopping trip is interrupted when Jeanne comes to Bayonetta in a panic to tell her that she has noticed the energy of both Paradiso and Inferno acting strangely ever since they reset the timeline. With perfect timing, the trio is then attacked by a massive army of angels that they have to team up to fend off. 

During the battle, Bayonetta and Jeanne combine their powers again to summon a powerful demon known as Gomorrah, or the Devourer of the Divine. Gomorrah makes short work of the army of angels under the control of both Bayonetta and Jeanne, but they end up losing control of the demon altogether. This allows Gomorrah to steal Jeanne's soul, effectively killing her, as her spirit is shepherded off to the realm of Inferno. This sparks the game's plot with Bayonetta fighting to retrieve the soul of her best friend. 

The Journey to Inferno

After Jeanne's abduction, Bayonetta traveled to the Gates of Hell to talk with Rodin for help. Rodin tells her that Jeanne's soul can be retrieved from Inferno to bring her back to life in the real world, but only if it is done quickly enough so that her soul doesn't become too attached to the dark realm. Rodin also conveniently knows the location of a portal to Inferno, so Bayonetta and Enzo head there. Along the way they run into a small but powerful child named Loki that joins them as he is also heading to Inferno. 

When the trio arrive at the gate, however, they are confronted by a masked Lumen Sage and another character named Loptr. Loptr scolds Bayonetta for traveling with Loki and tells her that Loki is the one responsible for not only starting the war between the Umbra Witches and the Lumen Sages, but also for killing her mother. The two groups then fight but before Loptr can deal the killing blow to Loki he is able to open the portal to Inferno, allowing him and Bayonetta to escape through it. 

Saving Jeanne

Once Bayonetta and Loki enter the realm of Inferno they track down Jeanne only to discover that her soul was absorbed a demon named Alarune. This allowed Alarune to take Jeanne's power for herself, and left Bayonetta with having to defeat Alarune to free Jeanne's soul from it to revive her. The two then fight and Bayonetta is able to free Jeanne's soul from the demon and use it to revive her. Afterward, Bayonetta goes to finish Alarune off for good, but Rodin intervenes before she is able to. He convinces her that instead of killing Alarune she is better off allowing him to fuse the demon's soul into a powerful new weapon for her. 

Bayonetta accepts and is gifted with new weapons for her arsenal, after which she returns to Loki to find him under attack by the Masked Lumen Sage. Bayonetta intervenes in the fight to help save Loki and discovers that the Masked Lumen Sage is none other than a younger version of Balder. Just after the reveal, they are both then sent through a portal opened by Loki that sends them 500 years into the past. 

Revelations and Consequences

When Bayonetta arrives in the past she quickly finds her mother Rosa. The two then fight alongside one another to defend an Umbra Witch sanctuary from waves of attacking forces. The two eventually fend off the attacking force for the most part, but Bayonetta is unable to stop Rosa from being killed. Since Bayonetta witnesses her own mother's death she learns that it was not actually Loki behind the clan war that killed her mother, but was instead Loptr himself. After the discovery, she tells the younger version of Balder the truth and convinces him to travel back to modern times with her to enact revenge upon Loptr. 

After arriving back in modern times through a portal that Bayonetta opened the two find out that Loptr captured Loki during their absence. In a classic antagonist monologue, Loptr reveals to Bayonetta that he and Loki are actually two halves of the soul of Aesir that were split from one another when he created the Eyes of the World. While Loki represented the good half of the soul Loptr represented the evil half. It is then revealed that he intends to merge the Eyes of the World so that he can regain his rightful power as Aesir. 

Restoring the Balance

This confrontation kicks off a massive fight between Loptr and Bayonetta. However, Loptr is able to overpower Bayonetta and absorb the power of the Right Eye of the World from her, allowing him to transform into an evil form of Aesir. Despite the ever-worsening odds, Bayonetta refuses to give up and continues to fight Loptr. This inspired both Balder and Jeanne to help her in the fight and the powers of all three of them prove enough to defeat Loptr. However, once he is defeated his soul attempts to flee to Paradiso to regenerate and return anew in the future. 

To prevent this, Balder convinces Bayonetta to let him absorb the soul into himself. He acknowledges that this will introduce an evil influence on his soul and personality, so he makes Bayonetta promise to be the one to put an end to him if her ever loses control of himself. He then returns to his own time, setting up his slow transition to the antagonist of the first game. Afterward, Bayonetta and Jeanne are shown shopping during the after Christmas sales to get good deals, but their trip is again cut short by an angel attack just before the credits begin to roll. 

Where Bayonetta could go from here

The thematic progression of the "Bayonetta" series sets up a decently linear progression of where the series will go from here. The first game revolved around Bayonetta fighting for herself as she struggled to regain her lost memories and learn about her past. "Bayonetta 2" then focused on her fighting for her loved ones by saving Jeanne's soul, fighting alongside her mother in her final moments, and eventually even fighting alongside her father. With the expanding scope of who Bayonetta is willing to fight for, it would make sense that "Bayonetta 3" and future sequels would continue to expand her roster of loved ones, eventually seeing her fighting for all of humanity or the world because she knows she is the one capable of saving them. 

What is much less clear is how the series will continue to expand its story and universe. Both of titles thus far have revolved closely around Bayonetta's origins and the Eyes of the World, but it may be difficult for the developers to keep those plot points interesting moving forward. One thing that is clear, however, is that it seems time for the series to explore more of the human realm of chaos since the other two games focused on exploring the armies of Paradiso and Inferno already.