Jennifer Hale Being Confirmed As Bayonetta Is More Exciting Than Any Trailer

Ever since the first trailer for Bayonetta 3, fans have suspected Jennifer Hale's involvement. The actor, perhaps best known for her role as FemShep in Mass Effect, has a highly distinct voice, although like any good voice actor she's capable of a huge range of vocal performances. Rivet in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Krem in Dragon Age are both wildly different from each other and from FemShep, and both are superb performances from Hale. However, FemShep is quite close to her regular speaking voice, and those wry tones seemed to be present in Bayonetta 3’s reveal trailer. Recently, Hale's involvement in the project (as Bayonetta herself, no less) was confirmed, and that only makes me more excited for Nintendo's action-blockbuster.

I wrote a similar piece when Hale was confirmed as Rivet, and I think it's all too rare that we see performances in games get their due, so I'm double dipping. Hale is extremely well-known in the world of video games and appreciated by hardcore fans, but considering how many major successes she has been part of, it still feels like she hasn't fully got her due. Bayonetta 3 isn't a lock to get her there (for many people, Hale will forever be FemShep), but it's still worth sounding the drums about.

Hellena Taylor was Bayonetta in the first two games, and is not returning here because of "overlapping circumstances". Most of the top voice actors are highly prolific, juggling multiple projects at once, so it's a line of work where scheduling conflicts are unfortunately inevitable. Taylor has done great work with Bayonetta and her absence is undoubtedly a loss, but Hale is the perfect replacement.

Director Yusuke Miyata said that “Jennifer’s performance was way beyond what we could have imagined,” and like, sure, they all say that. Nobody comes out ahead of launch and says "this thing in our game? It's okay". Everything is always the biggest, the best, the boldest. He wasn't going to say "I wish Hellena Taylor was still available because Jennifer Hale sucks," but he also didn't need to go as far in his praise as he did. As I alluded to earlier, the voice artists are rarely the selling point of the game. That Miyata takes time to focus on Hale, plus the goodwill Hale has earned through her excellent career, has seen my anticipation for the game ratchet (or rivet) up.

Bayonetta 3 feels a bit like a tripwire. It's one of the games I'm most looking forward to as we head into a mammoth end to the year that sees no less than 20 triple-A games launching before Christmas. But after being in development for so long, I'm naturally cautious that it might not be all that. I have similar reservations with other games I'm looking forward to – is Midnight Suns too long, High on Life too contrived, Gotham Knights too generic? I've been burned by big games a lot recently. We all have. Excitement is harder to come by. Jennifer Hale's involvement tips the scales a little though, and even if it doesn't help get me over my fear that Bayonetta has been in the oven a bit too long, it at least makes it easier to see the positives. Bayonetta is going to have action sequences that blow the doors off, and Jennifer Hale is going to be right in the thick of it.

Hale is an icon of modern gaming and in Bayonetta she's voicing another female lead on the level of FemShep. I'm convinced we'll see an equally rounded and successful performance here. Bayonetta could be the surprise package of 2022, and Jennifer Hale is the neat little ribbon on top.

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