Bayonetta 2 is a bit special, as you'll be aware if you've already read our review. The sequel to the 2010 cult classic (also now available on Wii U), this title is Platinum Games at its finest — over the top action, incredible visuals and a spunky female lead with spider-like limbs and plenty of witty one-liners.
The guys over at Nintendo News were lucky enough to speak to the voice behind Bayonetta's barbed replies, Hellena Taylor. She reveals that during recording, she was given little direction and often had no idea what she was actually fighting against:
I was influenced by the brief five-line description of her and the line drawing in black and white. The fabulous Kris Zimmerman-Salter helped me a lot in the recording, as they wouldn’t give me any plot points at all. I had no idea if I was fighting demons, dragons or flying giraffes. I just imagined the biggest thing I could envisage in my mind to up the stakes for her. Kris also gave me permission to be really sassy with her.
Taylor, who is based in the UK and attended the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, also reveals some of her techniques during the recording process:
I had no practice whatsoever. They do not release the script to actors beforehand as they are afraid of plot leaks. This is difficult for an actor who likes to rehearse and also annoying as I would never ever work against the creators and the people who employed me by giving anything away. So I had 30 seconds to read the line and then do three takes. I like to be a one take wonder, but they always record three for safety, so you just try to vary it a bit to give the director something to work with. I have to envisage what I am saying and who I am saying it to. The hardest things were the fight grunts. Apparently men love to do them and women find it harder. Plus it blows your voice out if you are not careful. I move around a lot in the booth as it sounds more alive. I did a lot of her movements while saying the lines and the sedate Japanese creators must have found this amusing to see me flail around in there like a mad person with a make-believe gun. I wore high heals in the booth this time to give her more of a confident swagger. In the anime Bloody Fate I recorded her barefoot, I’m not sure why, it just felt right. I never sit down to record, that depresses the diaphragm and gives the voice a tired quality. Other than that I keep my voice lubricated with room temp water or herb tea, and do full LAMDA voice and movement warm up beforehand.
Finally, Taylor — who admits she is nothing like Bayonetta — explains why she feels the character has become so popular with gamers of both sexes:
She is the women all women would love to be and no woman is. Formidable enemy, great and loyal friend. Relaxed witty, admired, sexy, she outwits everyone, except Jeanne and Cereza, who she loves. She has this void inside her that drives her on and spurs her righteousness. This comes out of not knowing about her past.
Bayonetta 2 launches in North America and Europe on October 24th.