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The Entire Bayonetta Timeline Explained

When you first delve into the "Bayonetta" series, it may seem like an exercise in style over substance. And don't get it twisted, these games are stylish as hell. The hero is a woman whose shoes are guns and clothes can turn into demons. But once you get past the fashionable characters and ridiculous action, there's a mind-blowing story unfolding beneath the surface.

Though there have only been two "Bayonetta" games so far, the franchise has already spun a surprisingly complex and tangled timeline. It's a plot that involves amnesia, evil twins, alternate realities, and time travel, and the entries move so quickly it's challenging, if not impossible, to wrap your head around it all after just one playthrough.

Here's a look at the entire "Bayonetta" timeline (or timelines, rather — yes, there are two). By the time you're finished, hopefully you'll see that, just like its protagonist, "Bayonetta" is an IP with brains and not just beauty.

The first Armageddon

Much of the early history of "Bayonetta" is still shrouded in mystery. At some point in the ancient past, there existed a single reality. However, in this world, there was an imbalance between light and dark. This somehow led to an event known as the First Armageddon, in which reality itself split into three separate universes: the realm of light, ruled by the angel Jubileus, the realm of darkness, ruled by the demon Queen Sheba, and the realm of chaos, ruled by a being called Aesir.

For a time within the realm of chaos, Aesir was all-powerful. Whatever he envisioned became reality, as if reality and his mind were one and the same. One of the things Aesir created out of the chaos was the Earth. In the early days, Aesir ruled the Earth as a god, but eventually, he began to feel sorry for humans, who were so weak compared to him that they had virtually no control over their destinies. He decided to surrender his power to the humans in the form of two treasures: the Right Eye of Light and the Left Eye of Darkness, known collectively as "The Eyes of the World."

Those who received the Right Eye become an order of angel worshippers known as the Lumen Sages, and those who received the Left Eye formed a coven of demon summoning mystics known as the Umbra Witches. Although the two groups disliked each other, they enjoyed an uneasy peace for centuries. But this peace did not hold forever.

The birth of Bayonetta

The downfall of the Lumen Sages and the Umbra Witches was set in motion approximately half a century before the events of the games when a Lumen Sage named Balder and an Umbra Witch named Rosa fell in love. The intermixing of bloodlines was forbidden by both clans through a law that stated, "The intersection of light and dark would bring calamity to this earth." The two had a child, and although she eventually came to be known as Bayonetta, Cereza was the name she was given at birth.

When Cereza's existence was discovered, Balder was banished from the Lumen Sages and Rosa was imprisoned by the Umbra Witches. The witches decided that Cereza would be permitted to live, as long as she never studied magic. Because of her difficult childhood, Cereza grew up to be rather shy and timid. She did, however, make one good friend, a young Umbra Witch named Jeanne. As Cereza matured, she displayed enormous natural magical talent, and eventually the Umbra Witches decided to allow her to be trained as a witch. Perhaps this was because they knew that war with the Lumen Sages was inevitable, and they'd need all the help they could get. Regardless, by the time Cereza reached adulthood, the conflict that had been brewing since her birth finally boiled over, and the two clans found themselves in an all-out war.

500 years of slumber

Over the course of the war, both clans fought to the point of near extinction. Then, during the final battle, an assault on the Umbra Witches' stronghold, Cereza's mother Rosa was killed, causing Cereza to lose the will to fight. At that point, only Cereza and Jeanne remained as the last two Umbra Witches.

Since Cereza was unable to fight, Jeanne made a difficult decision. To prevent Cereza's immense power from falling into the wrong hands, Jeanne cast a spell to put Cereza to sleep inside a coffin, and she hid that coffin at the bottom of a lake. She rested there until the coffin was opened, and since Umbra Witch magic prevents them from aging, this ended up being a very long time. Jeanne also survived the battle, wiping out the last Lumen Sages. However, the Sages' angel masters remained, hunting Jeanne — and searching for Cereza — for the next five centuries.

One Lumen Sage also lived: the exiled Balder. Over 500 years, an evil force inside Balder's mind slowly corrupted him and he changed from a kind and righteous man into a power hungry zealot. Balder became obsessed with bringing about a prophecy to end the world, summoning the ruler of all angels, Jubileus, to destroy the three realities and create a single, perfect reality, just as it was before the First Armageddon. To that end, Balder became the dictator of the European city-state Vigrid, and used his immense power to search the world for his lost daughter, who he believed was the key to bringing about this apocalypse.

Bayonetta awakens

After centuries of searching, Balder finally managed to locate Cereza by hiring a journalist named Antonio Redgrave. Bringing along his young son, Luka, Redgrave discovered Cereza's coffin at the bottom of the lake where Jeanne had hidden it. When he opened the coffin, Cereza awakened, though she lacked all memories of her previous life.

In response to the appearance of the powerful witch, countless angels descended from the sky to destroy her. However, neither Antonio or Luka were able to see these angels, as they are invisible to normal humans. Cereza defeated them, but not before the angels tore apart Redgrave. Luka, who had hidden nearby, ran off upon seeing his father die. Unable to comprehend what killed him, he assumed that the strange woman was responsible. The young boy swore revenge against the mysterious witch, determined to one day make her pay for his father's death.

Unable to recall her own name, Cereza chose a new moniker for herself: Bayonetta. Hunted by angels and endowed with powers she did not understand, Bayonetta spent the next twenty years fighting for her life as she searched for clues about her identity and origins.

Bayonetta goes to Vigrid - Bayonettta 1

In the first "Bayonetta" game, Bayonetta learns of a pair of much sought-after magical artifacts called "The Eyes of the World." Realizing that she has a red gemstone in her possession, Bayonetta concludes that the stone might be one of the artifacts, specifically the Left Eye of Darkness, and that this could be why the angels are hunting her. She also learns that the other artifact, the Right Eye of Light, is somewhere in the city-state of Vigrid, the ancient home of the Lumen Sages and Umbra Witches.

Bayonetta ventures to Vigrid to see what she can learn about her past. During this time, she has a series of encounters with a mysterious witch in red. Bayonetta doesn't remember her, but she apparently remembers Bayonetta, as she attacks the hero on sight. This woman is Jeanne, Bayonetta's old friend, who has been brainwashed by Balder into servitude. In order for Balder's plans to come to fruition, Bayonetta's powers need to awaken to their fullest potential, which will also requires her to regain her memories. Balder believes that seeing Jeanne might help make that happen. Although Bayonetta feels a tinge of recognition upon crossing paths with Jeanne, her memories do not fully return — at least not right away.

Bayonetta meets her would-be nemesis and adopts a kid - Bayonetta 1

When Bayonetta arrives in Vigrid, it's not just the usual hordes of bloodthirsty angels that await her. There's also a new enemy on the witch's tail by the name of Luka Redgrave. The son of journalist Antonio Redgrave has grown up and become a journalist himself, determined to expose the existence of Bayonetta to the world. However, being just an ordinary human, Luka doesn't present much of a threat to Bayonetta, instead serving as a recurring annoyance.

While travelling through Vigrid, Bayonetta also comes across a lost little girl. Her name is Cereza, and she looks a lot like a young Bayonetta, complete with dark hair and glasses. Bayonetta reluctantly takes Cereza along with her, and protects her from bloodthirsty angels as she continues to search for the Right Eye. Cereza is scared of everything they encounter, but Bayonetta does her best to encourage the girl to be brave.

At one point during their journey, Cereza falls into the hands of Luka, who takes it upon himself to look after the child, believing that Bayonetta has kidnapped her. Later, Luka and Cereza are attacked by angels, who Luka is still unable to see, but apparently the young Cereza can. As Bayonetta arrives to save them, Cereza uses her magical abilities to temporarily grant Luka the ability to see their invisible attackers. Upon finally seeing Bayonetta defending the two of them from the angels, Luka realizes that the witch might not the villain he believed her to be.

Bayonetta confronts Jeanne and Balder - Bayonetta 1

Bayonetta eventually arrives at Balder's headquarters where she is once again attacked by Jeanne. After Bayonetta defeats Jeanne, she also manages to cure her friend of Balder's brainwashing. However, before the two have a chance to have a big heart to heart, Balder's forces attack them and the pair is once again separated.

Bayonetta goes to confront the ruler of Vigrid, whom she discovers is none other than Balder, her own father. Balder then reveals that Cereza is, in fact, Bayonetta from the past. Because nothing he tried seemed to awaken the latent powers within her, Balder brought a young Cereza forward in time in an attempt to jog the hero's memories. What are these latent powers? Why, the powers of the Left Eye of Darkness, which it turns out isn't the stone that Bayonetta is carrying but Bayonetta herself.

It seems that the Left Eye of Darkness is actually a force that resides in whichever Umbra Sage is the most power at any given time. Similarly, the Right Eye of Light resides in the most powerful Lumen Sage. So, being the last Lumen Sage, Balder himself is the current holder of the Right Eye of Light. Once the two eyes are joined together, the combined power of the Eyes of the World can be unleashed, which will allow their wielder to remake reality as they choose. All that remains is for the Left Eye of Darkness to awaken, but since that still has yet to happen, Balder attacks Bayonetta with the hope that this might stir the Eye. In the end, Bayonetta wins the battle, shooting Balder in the face.

Bayonetta returns Cereza to the past - Bayonetta 1

Following the battle, Bayonetta discovers a shimmering portal in Balder's lair. Taking the young Cereza in her arms, Bayonetta steps through the portal and finds that she has travelled back in time to Cereza's bedside. Bayonetta lays the girl in her bed and when Cereza begins to cry, Bayonetta encourages her by saying, "You're a strong little girl. There is nothing you cannot overcome." Bayonetta then walks back through the portal to discover things have changed. The Bayonetta that returns to the present is not the same Bayonetta players have seen before.

After spending so much time encouraging her younger self to be brave, the new version of Cereza that Bayonetta sent back in time grew up to be far more confident than she was in the original timeline. Because of this, "New Cereza" did not give up the fight after her mother's death. She and Jeanne defeated the Lumen Sages together, and so Jeanne didn't put New Cereza to sleep for 500 years, the way she had with Old Cereza. It's somewhat ambiguous, but it seems as though the version of Bayonetta that returns from the past has memories from both of these timelines. Even more importantly, this new Bayonetta awakens to her fullest potential, opening the Left Eye of Darkness.

The timeline splits - Bayonetta 1

Though Bayonetta changes, nothing else about the present she returns to seems to be affected by her trip into the past. For instance, you'd imagine that if Bayonetta had actually altered history and she'd never been imprisoned in that coffin, she and Luka would have never met. But when Bayonetta comes back, Luka is still there, just as he was before she left. He even still calls her Bayonetta, a name that she only gave herself because she lost her memories after sleeping for 500 years. If that never happened, shouldn't everyone call her Cereza?

This is perhaps the most confusing aspect of "Bayonetta" lore. The series has never taken the time to explain its time travel rules explicitly, but the evidence points towards it working as follows: when someone goes back in time and changes the past, they don't change their own timeline. Instead, they create an alternate timeline, a new parallel reality. For a useful reference point, this is also how time travel is handled in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The only difference is that, in the world of "Bayonetta," there may also be certain individuals who have the ability to share memories with versions of themselves from alternate timelines.

Somewhere out there in the "Bayonetta" multiverse, there is indeed a version of Cereza who was never put to sleep, never lost her memories, and presumably never renamed herself Bayonetta, but that is not the character whose story the first two games follow. One streamer even theorized on Twitter that the protagonist of the upcoming "Bayonetta 3" might be this alternate version of Cereza, in part because she wears her hair in pigtails with red ribbons, just like the young Cereza did.

The death of Balder - Bayonetta 1

After returning to the present, Bayonetta discovers, to her chagrin, that Balder is seemingly not dead. It's a bit unclear how this happened, but regardless, Balder is definitely still alive, and he is up to no good. Now that the Left Eye of Darkness has awoken within Bayonetta and Balder himself wields the power of the Right Eye, he is finally able to call upon the powers of both Eyes of the World and kickstart his beloved apocalypse. He summons forth the spirit of Jubileus, the ruler of all angels, whose spirit inhabits an enormous stone statue. Balder and Bayonetta are then pulled into the eyes of this statue, becoming magical batteries that give Jubileus the power of a god.

Before the angel has a chance to start dismantling reality, someone arrives to spoil Balder's fun. It's Jeanne, now cured of Balder's brainwashing. She reaches into the statue's left eye and pulls out Bayonetta, denying Jubileus the combined power of the two Eyes. Now free, Bayonetta and Jeanne fight against Jubileus and win, summoning Queen Sheba, the ruler of all demons, who knocks the spirit of Jubileus out of the statue and into the sun.

After the statue crumbles apart, Balder falls out of it and collapses, now dying from his injuries. In the moments before he passes away, a strange blue spirit emerges from his body, attempting to flee. Balder, however, prevents the entity from leaving, and dies with the spirit still attached to him.

Jeanne's soul is taken - Bayonetta 2

"Bayonetta 2" opens with Bayonetta and Jeanne doing a bit of Christmas shopping. However, this outing is cut short when the pair are attacked by angels. Bayonetta attempts to fight off the angels by summoning a demonic dragon named Gomorrah, but the dragon breaks free of Bayonetta's control and attacks her. At the last moment, Jeanne steps in, taking the brunt of Gomorroh's assault to protect her friend. Jeanne's soul is then knocked free from her body and pulled down by demons into the Inferno.

Bayonetta is devastated by this development, but learns that she still may have a chance to save Jeanne. She discovers that if she can find a way to enter the Inferno and locate Jeanne's soul within 24 hours, she can return it to her body. However, if she fails to do so, Jeanne will be trapped in hell forever. Bayonetta then uncovers that the only way to get into hell from Earth is by travelling to the holy mountain Fimbulventr. This mountain lies at the intersection of all three realms: Paradiso, Inferno, and the realm of chaos, which includes Earth.

Journey to Fimbulventr - Bayonetta 2

As Bayonetta approaches Fimbulventr, she comes across a young boy in a hoodie being attacked by angels. She steps in and defeats the angels, and afterwards the boy introduces himself as Loki. He has no memories and possesses strange magical abilities that he does not understand. All he knows is that he feels compelled, for some reason, to come to Fimbulventr. Bayonetta, a former amnesiac with mysterious magic powers herself, takes pity on the kid and agrees to help him on his quest.

As Bayonetta and Loki journey onward, they are repeatedly attacked by a mysterious masked assailant. Based on the way he is dressed and the powers he wields, the man appears to be a Lumen Sage, one equal in power even to Bayonetta herself. This masked Sage seems to have some sort of grudge against Loki based on something that the kid did in the past, but given his memory loss, Loki has no idea what this could be.

During one of these battles, the Sage's mask is cracked, and although Bayonetta is unable to see his entire face, she can see a blue glow within his right eye. This indicates that he is the current wielder of the Right Eye of Light, which explains why he is such a match for Bayonetta in terms of magical prowess.

Bayonetta goes to hell - Bayonetta 2

At Fimbulventr, in front of the gates to Inferno, Bayonetta and Loki meet the Masked Lumen alongside his master, a celestial being known as the Prophet. The Prophet shows Bayonetta a vision of the past, the moment when Bayonetta's mother, Rosa, was killed. During the final battle with the Lumen Sages, a small hooded assassin who looks like Loki committed the dead. Finding himself in a bad situation, Loki opens the gate and all assembled are pulled down into hell.

Given that her time to find Jeanne has almost run out, Bayonetta decides to worry about Loki later and instead search for her friend. Eventually, Bayonetta finds her and sets her free. Jeanne's soul rises into the sky, returning to her body.

Bayonetta then sees Loki fighting the Masked Lumen. She steps in to protect Loki, and the man finally removes his mask, revealing the face of Balder, Bayonetta's father, but as a young man. This version of Balder is actually from 500 years ago, shortly after Rosa's death. The Prophet appeared before him and told the Sage that his wife's killer, Loki, had time traveled into the future. However, if Balder wished, the Prophet could send him into the future so that he could have his revenge. Balder agreed.

Another trip back in time - Bayonetta 2

Suddenly, all of Loki's powers and memories begin to return to him and he unwilling unleashes an enormous blast of magical energy. Once it subsides, Bayonetta and Balder find that they have been sent back in time 500 years to the war of the Lumen Sages and Umbra Witches. The pair witness the death of Rosa for themselves, and they discover that the person who killed Rosa was actually Loki's twin brother, Loptr. Soon after, these two magical kids are revealed to be two halves of Aesir, the God of Chaos. Apparently, after Aesir gave the bulk of his powers to humanity in the form of the Eyes of the World, what was left of him split into two beings.

It seems that Loptr had been hunting Loki for some time, hoping to re-absorb his twin's powers and become Aesir once again. By the war between the Lumen Sages and the Umbra Witches, Loki had used his magic to jump forward in time as a way of evading Loptr. Loptr then killed Balder's wife and framed Loki for it so that Balder would help him hunt his twin, and so he, Loptr, would control the Right Eye of Light. Although Loki and Balder both travelled forward in time, Loptr didn't. He grew up over the ensuing half a century, eventually becoming the Prophet.

The final battle with Aesir - Bayonetta 2

After returning to the present, Balder and Bayonetta team up with a revived Jeanne and confront the Prophet, a.k.a Loptr, who has Loki in captivity. During the battle, Loptr absorbs Loki's power to control the Eyes of the World and becomes Aesir once more. He then extracts the Left Eye of Darkness from Bayonetta and the Right Eye of Light from Balder. However, it seems that Loptr hasn't taken away all of Loki's powers, such as his ability to unmake things. Loki calls upon this power to permanently unmake the Eyes of the World, instantly taking away most of the reborn Aesir's powers. By working together, Bayonetta and Balder knock Loptr's soul out of his body, and Jeanne summons Gomorrah to devour it.

Loptr's soul attempts to flee through a time portal. To prevent this, Balder steps in, binding the spirit of Loptr to himself. Balder tells Bayonetta that he fears the evil spirit may one day take control of him, and if that happens, Bayonetta needs to put him down. Stepping through the portal, Balder returns to the past. This indicates that the villain of the first "Bayonetta" game was not actually Balder per se, but rather the spirit of Loptr which had taken possession of him while Bayonetta was sleeping.

Mortally injured after having his energy drained, Loki dies, disappearing into blue smoke, but not before implying that he may be reborn someday. Bayonetta is crushed by this revelation about her father and the death of Loki, but cheers up by going shopping with Jeanne. What's next for the hero? You're just going to have to wait for "Bayonetta 3" to find out.