The Bayonetta 2 Nintendo Direct has come and gone and while it was largely what everyone expected, there was one little gem that had to delight any Nintendo fan. Platinum Games showed us that Bayonetta is into cosplay. Which certainly, can be seen as a relatively minor addition to a game people have no doubt been anticipating for a myriad of reasons, yet it's important, all the same.
We like seeing characters dress up as other characters in our games. There's a strange delight in going through a typical adventure, then suddenly being surprised with the unexpected. Sony's no doubt made a lot of money on that notion in LittleBigPlanet alone, given the plethora of DLC enabling Sackboy to dress up as iconic video game and comic characters.
There's no one reason for it. The delight from seeing one iconic character appearing as another varies in every instance. Take Tekken Tag Tournament 2 for the Wii U, as one example. In this situation, the cosplay is appreciated for the humor it injects into an otherwise serious fighting game. Seeing iconic characters like Heihachi and Jin clamoring for mushrooms, then tripling in size as a result, is hilarious. This is intensified by seeing people like Marshall Law or Nina cosplaying as Mario and Peach. It's so unexpected and over the top that it can't help but elicit a positive response.
Another is how an unexpected costume can shift the narrative. LittleBigPlanet is an obvious one, since players will actually design custom levels based on certain costume packs to recreate select games. What I'm really thinking about, though, is the Link attire in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. A player using that outfit and weapon set can go through the game with an entirely new mindset. Perhaps Link is on a journey outside of Hyrule, honing his skills as a warrior by fighting various monsters, so he can become a more invaluable protector of the kingdom. It's a minor alteration, but it can completely change a player's perspective.
But sometimes, the in-game cosplay isn't about injecting some levity into a more serious genre or allowing people to pretend they're playing a different game. Sometimes, it's just a good, old-fashioned easter egg. The cosplay is a reward for putting in a little extra effort while you play. My favorite example of this is in the Dead Rising games. In the original Dead Rising, completing certain goals or visiting certain places can result in Frank collecting a complete Mega Man outfit, with Mega Buster. Other installments have continued the tradition, with the most recent giving Nick a Mega Man X costume.
But, perhaps the best reason of all to get excited about in-game cosplay is because it's just fun. It's entertaining to see the characters we like dressed up as other characters we love. Perhaps, it even makes them seem a little more human. Because if Bayonetta is "willing" to step into Samus' armor, maybe she's just as big of a video game geek as the rest of us.