Most fans of the Bayonetta franchise will no doubt be happy to hear that the upcoming Bayonetta 3—which is now planned for an October 28 release exclusively on the Switch—will feature a title character that’s “sexier than ever,” according to developer Platinum Games. But for players who have young children in the house and still want to “play right in the living room without having to worry about what’s on screen,” Platinum says it will include a mode that covers up some of the partial nudity the series is known for.
In a tweeted video, Platinum shows how “Naive Angel Mode” will add additional covering to Bayonetta and other characters that might be showing a little too much skin for sensitive players. That includes extra skin covering during some of Bayonetta’s dramatic special attacks, where her flowing hair stops serving as her clothing (yes, really) and starts serving as a weapon.
Relax, the witch is back and sexier than ever🌙
We’ve added the revolutionary “Naive Angel Mode” to Bayonetta 3 so more people can fully enjoy it👍
— PlatinumGames Inc. (@platinumgames) July 13, 2022
While this new family-friendly mode will tone down the nudity, it’s unclear if it will also limit the over-the-top violent “torture attacks” that will be making a return in the upcoming sequel. For Bayonetta 2, the ESRB described those in part as “exaggerated and intense acts of violence [with] enemies thrown into spinning spiked wheels; characters decapitated by a guillotine; a dragon ripping characters apart [and] large blood-splatter effects and gore can be seen frequently.” Not exactly content you might want a child seeing over your shoulder during living room play.
It’s also unclear if Naive Angel Mode will limit the “suggestive taunts and poses (e.g., [characters] opening their legs, dancing on poles)” that the ESRB identified in the last Bayonetta game. The M rating for Bayonetta 3 includes content descriptors for “violence, blood and gore, partial nudity, and strong language” but is missing the “suggestive themes” that the ratings organization identified in both previous Bayonetta titles.
I don’t want to see that!
Family-friendly filters like this aren’t completely unheard of in video games. Gore filters that censor the most violent scenes are available in games like Sunset Overdrive and Gears of War, to name just a few (and don’t forget the Mortal Kombat blood code that served a similar purpose for some ’90s console gamers). Series like Rock Band and the Jackbox Party Packs are among the many that include in-game options to filter or eliminate bad language as well.
In-game toggles for nudity are less common, in part because even partial nudity in games is still less common than extreme violence or bad language. But Cyberpunk 2077 and Rust are among the recent games that include nudity toggles in their options menus. Papers, Please also included a no-nudity option that Apple tried to make the only option available for the game’s 2014 iPad port. Apple would later reverse that decision and chalk it up to a misunderstanding.
Nintendo, for its part, has reportedly been trying to encourage more M-rated games on its platforms since 2017. Optional in-game filters like these seem like a smart way to allow that kind of content without completely cutting off players who might still be worried about sexual and/or violent images.