The 'Bayonetta' Timeline Has Always Been Confusing — Let's Explain It as Best We Can

Need the confusing 'Bayonetta' timeline explained? The character action game series follows the titular Umbran Witch as she fights angels and demons.

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Mar. 16 2023, Published 6:36 p.m. ET

Spoiler alert! This article contains plot details for the Bayonetta franchise.

We've reached an interesting point within the Bayonetta franchise. Going from an eight-year gap between the second and third games to a five-month wait between the third and a new prequel story. Following the success and controversy of Bayonetta 3, the series expands with Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon. The new game follows Cereza's days as a witch-in-training before she becomes the powerful present-day witch we all know and love.

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However, the inclusion of Origins into the series does bring up interesting questions about the timeline of the game. Time travel and paradoxes in the Bayonetta games have always been a point of contention among fans and can come off as downright nonsensical to even the most seasoned players.

Bayonetta as a franchise has always been comprised of games that are driven more by their innovative combat than for their stories, but we're here to try and explain the Bayonetta timeline as best we can.

'Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon'
Source: Nintendo
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The 'Bayonetta' timeline, explained.

Bayonetta Origins represents a new starting point for the timeline as a whole. It depicts a young Cereza as she is just learning how to control her powers as an Umbran Witch. She inadvertently makes a contract with her first demon and attempts to control it as she traverses the mysterious and dangerous Avalon Forest in search of a way to help her mother.

For all intents and purposes, this game will eventually kick off into the events of the three mainline Bayonetta games.

Interestingly enough, however, the proceeding chronology of the games can get a bit confusing. A fan places the new prequel story firmly at the start of the timeline in a spoiler thread for Bayonetta Origins on Reddit. However, the events leading up to the first Bayonetta game create two alternate timelines.

In case you've forgotten the first game, Bayonetta encounters a younger version of herself (Cereza) who wanders from the past to the present. As they interact, time begins to shift.

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Source: Platinum Games

Originally, Cereza as an adult was caught up in the Witch Hunts that would eventually wipe out nearly all of the Umbra Witches in existence. She tries to hold off an army of angels, but her status as one of the "Eyes of the World" made her a target. If she fell into the wrong hands, it could mean the end of the universe.

Knowing this, Cereza's friend Jeanne, stabs her and seals her away in a crystal for 500 years in an effort to protect her. This leads to the events of Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2.

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However, as Bayonetta and little Cereza become close in the first game, their interaction alters the flow of time. At one point, Bayonetta tells Cereza to keep the things that are important to her close to her heart. The young witch remembers this well as she ultimately decides to keep a large brooch gifted to her by present-day Bayonetta on her chest at all times.

Because of this alteration, however, adult Cereza is able to prevent herself from being stabbed by Jeanne during the Witch Hunts as Jeanne's dagger is deflected by Cereza's brooch. Instead of being sealed away, Cereza remains at Jeanne's side to fight the angels. This supposedly results in an alternate timeline where Bayonetta 3 takes place.

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'Bayonetta 3'
Source: Nintendo

There's plenty of evidence to support this chain of events too. Bayonetta's hairstyle in the third game greatly resembles that of Cereza as a little girl. The arrival of the Bayonettas from the first two games to aid the new one (in vain though it may be) also supports their status as visitors from alternate dimensions and timelines.

The timeline for Bayonetta has always been baffling, but some people have attempted to make sense of this multiverse of madness. Of course, as one Redditor commented, plenty of these paradoxes and time loops "can be chalked up to bad writing."

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon arrives on Nintendo Switch on March 17.

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