Bayonetta 3 Ending Explained

Here's an explanation of the Bayonetta 3 ending, which concludes like no other title in the series. With countless events taking place at once, numerous timelines and time travelling jumps, it was inevitably going to confuse many fans, both returning and new to the franchise.

Bayonetta 3 Ending Explained

An enchanting trilogy concluded recently with its third entry, Bayonetta 3, featuring an ending like no other and many unexplained occurrences, fans were left scrambling for answers. However, after playing all three games and having a deep look into the third one’s bonuses, I propose an explanation that will hopefully let our souls rest.

It’s important to keep an open mind here, too. While there is no ‘official’ written answer to it all, there are many discreet implications allowing us to analyse it. So, take the following with a pinch of salt. Feel free to offer your own explanation in the comments below, too.

Disclaimer: there are huge spoilers ahead for the entire Bayonetta series.

Bayonetta 1 & Bayonetta 2

So, let’s jump directly to quite possibly the most confusing yet overwhelming moment of the game. I’m talking about the part in which Bayonetta 1, sporting her Scarborough Fair guns and Bayonetta 2, sporting her Love is Blue guns arrive to aid our protagonist. This threw many for a loop. Why on Earth are we seeing Bayonetta’s old outfits as individual characters?

One truth we need to come to terms with is that these two witches are separate characters. That’s right, this moment confirms that both previous entries in the game are separate timelines rather than a direct continuation of one another. A hard pill to swallow for many, including myself, but it’s true.

Our three Bayonettas stand as one

Our three Bayonettas stand as one

Couldn’t they be from separate timelines that are just very similar to the ones we experienced, though? While this is plausible, it’s definitely not what’s going on here. Not only does the character sheet clearly state that Bayonetta 1 & 2 are separate characters, but their descriptions match their in-game abilities and the events that they’ve been through. After all, why wouldn’t anyone want our past two playable witches to return rather than random ones that we’ve never even met before?

If you look closely, you’ll even notice that Bayonetta 1 only has one red ribbon in her hair. This is important, as she gave one to young Cereza in the first game. The protagonist of the movie Bayonetta: Bloody Fate didn’t even do this, nor did the Whittingham Fair version (Viola’s mother) from the start of the game. No doubt, she is our protagonist from the first instalment, and therefore, the other is also the one from the second.

Brave Cereza

If each instalment in the series is a different timeline, then what relevance does the third serve? Which Bayonetta are we playing as and why? This has been a popular theory since the beginning, and the events of this narrative confirm our speculations. We play as Brave Cereza, the little girl from the original title. The one who we protected, empowered and, as previously mentioned, gave a red ribbon to is the playable character. She actually sports her ribbon-and-watch combo in her teenage version of herself, shown during specific moments of the gameplay.

Brave Cereza, now all grown up

Brave Cereza, now all grown up

Her mannerisms, style, extreme power and some hints towards the end of the game prove this. Bayonetta 1 even recognises her in an instant, flicking her gun against Cereza’s forehead and playfully asking “You didn’t cry while I was gone, did you?” before strutting off. This entire scene isn’t merely a nod, but a full-circle moment. It was truly magical, especially as a lover of the original game, to see these characters interact once more. Our little Cerezita has come so far.

Bayonetta’s Ending

Now this one is a hard-hitter. Quite possibly the most controversial way to end a series; kill off a beloved protagonist. Cereza’s magical power and durability have passed their limits, and she loses her umbra watch, essentially becoming fully human. This leaves Gomorrah, previously under the effects of Demon Slave enraged and he mercilessly attacks Bayonetta. This sweeping attack separates the witch’s body from her soul.

In Cereza’s last moments, Luka comforts her and allows himself to be dragged down to inferno alongside her. Bayonetta is dead. No journey to inferno could bring her back, as her heart (the umbra watch) has been shattered. A tragic ending. What went unexplained though, was which Bayonettas are deceased. The truth is, possibly only one. Brave Cereza.

Cereza and Luka

Cereza and Luka

If you look closely, you’ll see that Bayonetta 1 & 2 fade into purple particles and leave that realm after the battle. This is the exact same effect that happens when one travels to or from the Ginnungagap. This means that they did not perish, but returned to their own timelines. Hopefully, they’ll remain alive and well.

What about all the others that were killed by Singularity? Well, during the post-credits scene, New York looks completely untouched. Enzo’s children are alive and well. The effects of Singularity’s destruction seem to have reversed themselves. This means that the other Bayonettas should be revived, too, possibly including Jeanne from the Brave Cereza timeline (the main timeline of Bayonetta 3).

A New Generation

As implied by the ending text, this series will be continuing with Viola taking on the “family name” as Rodin put it. In a new generation, we’ll be seeing more from this universe… or universes. Personally, I’d like to see a true sequel to the original game’s timeline or to the one from the second entry. 

Viola, as the new Bayonetta

Viola, as the new Bayonetta

While all of the above is a lot to digest, it provides a new, hopeful lens on the story at large. Had the protagonist been the same throughout all three games, it would’ve definitely been more difficult to accept this conclusion. Now, however, it’s clear that this is merely the fate of one of many. Unfortunately, it’s our little Cerezita. Only with the help of Bayonetta 1 and the time-looping events that Bayonetta 2 endured could Cereza have the power to sacrifice herself for the universes.

What do you think of the Bayonetta 3 ending? I hope this explained all those lingering questions, and shed some light on the bittersweet closing to the trilogy. Regardless of the events, these characters will live on in the hearts of players.

Bayonetta 3 is now available exclusively on Nintendo Switch.

Bayonetta 3 - Accolades Trailer

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