A fatal text error in Bayonetta 2 is fixed after going unnoticed for eight years

Nintendo has released the version 1.2.0 update for the Nintendo Switch version of Bayonetta 2. According to the company’s customer support website,  “Errors in the text of an event scene at the start of the game were corrected across all languages” in the update. Hideki Kamiya of PlatinumGames, the game’s developer, discussed this text error in detail on Twitter, calling it a “fatal mistake.”

Tweet Translation:
That’s right… It may be difficult for native Japanese speakers to notice because they are reading the subtitles, but even though these two Japanese lines differ between Bayonetta 1 and 2, the English translation did not reflect this. The English text that is displayed in both 1 and 2 is the exact same line.

Bayonetta 2 is an action game that was developed by PlatinumGames and published by Nintendo. It was first released for the Wii U in 2014, and then later for the Nintendo Switch in 2018.

In the original versions of Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2, both games start with English text that says, “In a universe of light and dark, where perception is reality…” However, in the Japanese subtitles for Bayonetta 2, the line is different and means: “In a universe of light and dark, where time reflects infinity…” In other words, there was a discrepancy between the English text displayed on screen and the Japanese subtitles.

Kamiya, who directed the first Bayonetta and has been involved with the scenario for the whole series, said that right before the newest entry in the series, Bayonetta 3, was about to go gold, a coworker pointed the error out, saying, “Kamiya, the English text displayed in 1 and 2 is the same.” Bayonetta 3 also features a slightly different version of that same English text at the beginning, and it appears that they realized the error while discussing the topic.

Although Kamiya said that he was sure he created the correct English text for each game, the differences were somehow not incorporated into the final product. He frantically tried to confirm the error, and upon seeing the English lines were the same, he says he “went pale… and crumpled into a heap.” He said, “For me, the one who conceived the Bayonetta universe, it was a fatal mistake.”

You might think that because the error is just one short line that they would be able to fix it immediately. However, according to Kamiya, actually making such a correction requires a surprising amount of time and money, as they must reconstruct the development environment, perform checks after the fix, and more. So it actually becomes a problem of whether such an issue is worth the cost involved in fixing it. In the end, Kamiya swore together with Bayonetta 3 producer Yuji Nakao that if they ever get the chance to port the games to next generation hardware, then they would fix the error.

However, later on, Nakao quietly looked into whether the fix was possible for himself. Then by some miracle, the fix became a possibility, and the new update was created. After the update, the English text now reads: “In a universe of light and dark, where time reflects infinity…” an accurate translation of the Japanese subtitles. Kamiya commented that “I was overcome with emotion by the fact that we were able to apply the fix, but more than that, by Nakao’s efforts.”

Interestingly, the demo version of Bayonetta 2 for Wii U released outside of Japan actually included the correct English text, but it remains unclear why retail version of the game ended up with the same line from the first Bayonetta. The new update has been met with puzzlement by many on social media and Reddit who were confused as to why the line need to be changed, as they were unaware of the background of the error, as well as those who were shocked that it has gone unfixed for such a long period of time.

The variation of the line included in Bayonetta 3: “In universes of light, dark, and chaos, intertwining in untold layers…” is also slightly different to the lines in 1 and 2, but this line was correct from the beginning. This is why to players in English regions, it seemed as though the developers decided to suddenly change the line for the third game. Nevertheless, eight years after the Bayonetta 2 was first released, the incorrect English line has now been fixed.

Written by. Marco Farinaccia based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-11-28 16:05 JST)