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Nier: Automata

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Nier:Automata
Nier Automata cover art.jpg
Developer(s)PlatinumGames[a]
Publisher(s)Square Enix
Director(s)Yoko Taro
Producer(s)
  • Eijiro Nishimura
  • Yosuke Saito
Designer(s)
  • Takahisa Taura
  • Isao Negishi
Programmer(s)Ryo Onishi
Artist(s)
Writer(s)
  • Yoko Taro
  • Hana Kikuchi
  • Yoshiho Akabane
Composer(s)
SeriesDrakengard
Platform(s)
ReleasePlayStation 4
  • JP: February 23, 2017
  • NA: March 7, 2017
  • PAL: March 10, 2017
Microsoft Windows
  • WW: March 17, 2017
Xbox One
  • WW: June 26, 2018
Nintendo Switch
  • WW: October 6, 2022
Genre(s)Action role-playing
Mode(s)Single-player

Nier:Automata[b] is a 2017 action role-playing game developed by PlatinumGames and published by Square Enix. It is a sequel to Nier (2010), itself a spin-off and sequel of the Drakengard series. The game originally released for PlayStation 4 and Windows via Steam, with an Xbox One port being published the following year with the subtitle Become as Gods Edition. A Nintendo Switch port was released in 2022, subtitled The End of YoRHa Edition.

Set during a proxy war between alien-created machines and human-crafted androids, the story follows the trials of combat android 2B, scanner android 9S, and rogue prototype A2. The story requires multiple playthroughs, each unlocking additional story elements. Gameplay combines role-playing elements with action-based hack and slash combat, and features switching between video game genres similar to that of Nier with elements ranging from shoot 'em up to text adventure.

Production began in 2014, with series creator Yoko Taro, producer Yosuke Saito, and lead composer Keiichi Okabe returning to their respective roles, and artist Akihiko Yoshida taking charge of character design. The goal was to make a Nier game true to the spirit of the original, while simultaneously crafting a better combat system. As a project entirely new to PlatinumGames, its staff faced multiple challenges when developing the gameplay and open world environment. The story, written by Yoko, references several philosophies and explores themes of finding value in life and the reasons people kill.

Announced at E3 2015, Nier: Automata received media expansions to its world and narrative, and both downloadable content and crossovers with other games post-release. The localization was handled by 8-4, translators of the first Nier. The game was praised for its story and themes, gameplay, and music. Criticism was leveled at some visual and technical problems. The PC release saw a mixed response due to technical issues that were not officially addressed immediately after release. An official patch released in 2021 addressed a portion of these issues. Sales surpassed expectations, and as of November 2022 the game has shipped seven million copies worldwide.

Discover more about Nier: Automata related topics

Action role-playing game

Action role-playing game

An action role-playing game is a subgenre of video games that combines core elements from both the action game and role-playing genre.

Nier

Nier

Nier is an action role-playing video game developed by Cavia and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in April 2010. In Japan, the game was released as Nier Replicant for the PlayStation 3 with a younger main character, while an alternative version titled Nier Gestalt with an older main character was released for the Xbox 360; Gestalt was released outside of Japan as Nier for both platforms. A remaster of the game, Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139... was released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows on April 23, 2021.

Drakengard

Drakengard

Drakengard, known in Japan as Drag-On Dragoon, is a series of action role-playing video games created by Yoko Taro. The eponymous first game in the series was released in 2003 on the PlayStation 2, and has since been followed by a sequel, a prequel and several spin-offs. A spin-off series titled Nier, taking place in an alternative timeline set after a different ending to the first Drakengard than the one 2005's Drakengard 2 followed, was started in 2010 with the eponymous game. Yoko directed every game in both series, with the exception of Drakengard 2 on which he only had minor involvement.

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid video game console developed by Nintendo and released worldwide in most regions on March 3, 2017. The console itself is a tablet that can either be docked for use as a home console or used as a portable device, making it a hybrid console. Its wireless Joy-Con controllers, with standard buttons and directional analog sticks for user input, motion sensing, and tactile feedback, can attach to both sides of the console to support handheld-style play. They can also connect to a grip accessory to provide a traditional home console gamepad form, or be used individually in the hand like the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, supporting local multiplayer modes. The Nintendo Switch's software supports online gaming through Internet connectivity, as well as local wireless ad hoc connectivity with other consoles. Nintendo Switch games and software are available on both physical flash-based ROM cartridges and digital distribution via Nintendo eShop; the system has no region lockout. A handheld-focused revision of the system, called the Nintendo Switch Lite, was released on September 20, 2019. A revised higher-end version of the original system, featuring an OLED screen, was released on October 8, 2021.

2B (Nier: Automata)

2B (Nier: Automata)

2B is the main protagonist of Act 1 of the 2017 video game Nier: Automata. A humanoid combat android created as part of the YoRHa squadron, her mission is to liberate Earth from hostile machine lifeforms created by an unnamed alien race. Her Type B designation indicates that she specializes in front-line combat, and she is able to wield two weapons and use a large variety of combat styles. Her personality is cold, collected, and quick-thinking in dire situations, a trait of her model line that was inherited from her predecessor A2, whom she resembles perfectly. She disdains open displays of emotion, believing them to be unnecessary, although she hides emotional trauma and anger over the missions she is forced to complete.

Hack and slash

Hack and slash

Hack and slash, also known as hack and slay or slash 'em up, refers to a type of gameplay that emphasizes combat with melee-based weapons. They may also feature projectile-based weapons as well as secondary weapons. It is a sub-genre of beat 'em up games, which focuses on melee combat usually with swords. Hack-and-slash action games are sometimes known as character action games.

Keiichi Okabe

Keiichi Okabe

Keiichi Okabe is a Japanese composer and arranger, best known for composing music for the Tekken and Drakengard series. He started his career at Namco in 1994, where he primarily composed for arcade games. Outside of video games, he has composed for anime series such as Working!! and Yuki Yuna is a Hero, along with arranging tracks for J-pop artists. He established the music production studio Monaca in 2004, which composes for various types of media.

Akihiko Yoshida

Akihiko Yoshida

Akihiko Yoshida is a Japanese video game artist. Yoshida was born in 1967 and joined Square in 1995, before the company merged with Enix. He then left Square Enix in September 2013 and became freelance. In October 2014, he became the company director of CyDesignation, a subsidiary of Cygames. He is well known for his work on the Final Fantasy series. He is a frequent collaborator of game designer Yasumi Matsuno.

Open world

Open world

In video games, an open world is a virtual world in which the player can approach objectives freely, as opposed to a world with more linear and structured gameplay. While games have used open-world designs since the 1980s, the implementation in Grand Theft Auto III (2001) set a standard for the concept which has been used since.

E3 2015

E3 2015

The Electronic Entertainment Expo 2015 was the 21st E3 held. The event took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California. It took place from June 16 to June 18, 2015, with 52,200 total attendees.

Downloadable content

Downloadable content

Downloadable content (DLC) is additional content created for an already released video game, distributed through the Internet by the game's publisher. It can either be added for no extra cost or it can be a form of video game monetization, enabling the publisher to gain additional revenue from a title after it has been purchased, often using some type of microtransaction system.

8-4

8-4

8-4, Ltd. is a Japanese video game localization company based in Shibuya, Tokyo. The company was founded in 2005 by Hiroko Minamoto and former Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) editor John Ricciardi. They were joined by Ricciardi's EGM colleague Mark MacDonald in 2008, who departed in 2016 to work as VP, Production of Business and Development at Enhance Games. It performs Japanese-to-English and English-to-Japanese translation and localization on a contract basis with credits including Monster Hunter, Nier, Dragon Quest, Fire Emblem, Tales, Undertale and more. The company is named after the final level of Super Mario Bros.

Gameplay

An in-game screenshot of Nier: Automata, showing one of the main characters, 2B, in combat.
An in-game screenshot of Nier: Automata, showing one of the main characters, 2B, in combat.

Nier: Automata is an action role-playing game (ARPG) in which players take the role of combat androids from the YoRHa units across an open world. In addition to standard navigation on foot, using a special item allows the player to summon a wild animal to ride, and in some scenarios pilot a flying mech to fight enemies.[1][2] As with Nier (2010), during navigation in some environments, the camera shifts from its standard third-person perspective to an overhead or side-scrolling view.[3] Some areas also include platforming elements, requiring the player to navigate by jumping between platforms or over obstacles. The player can complete side quests for non-playable characters (NPCs) found throughout the world. Shops available in hub locations allow the player to purchase items, including consumables that recover health.[2] Automata features 26 different endings; five main endings lettered A to E, and 21 additional endings lettered F through Z. These additional endings act as game over events triggered by performing certain actions, not progressing the narrative, or losing certain battles.[4]

Combat is hack and slash action-based, with the player fighting enemies in real-time in a variety of in-game environments. During battle, the player can use light attacks—which are fast but weak—and heavy attacks—slow and more powerful. The player can evade enemy attacks and, with successfully timed button presses, can gain temporary invulnerability and launch a counterattack that deals heavy damage. The player is also assisted by a Pod, a flying robot assistant that can launch customizable ranged attacks varying from simple gunfire to heavy-hitting hammer attacks. Pods can also shield the player from harm in various ways.[1][3] At different points, the gameplay changes to reflect different video game genres, ranging from shoot 'em up to text adventure segments.[5][6]

The player is able to bring two melee weapons in combat. While attacking, the player can alternate between both weapons and attacks to create combination attacks. There are four different classes of weapons available: short swords, long swords, bracers, and spears. Attacks with different weapon types can also be charged and launched for increased damage.[1][3] Weapon Stories, a recurring element in both Nier and the Drakengard series, where weapons found throughout the world have unique stories attached to them, are also featured.[7] Each character has a different style; initial lead 2B is an attacker with two weapons available, second protagonist 9S has only one weapon and specialises in hacking into enemies to deal high damage, and later character A2 plays similarly to 2B with an added ability to briefly boost attack power by sacrificing health.[8]

As characters progress, they gain experience levels, increasing their health, defence, and attack power.[1] Character customization is handled through Chips, items installed into the player characters that adjust some of their attributes; these chips can do thing such as alter the HUD to show enemy health and damage and grant status buffs to the player characters. The number of Chips that can be installed at any one time are limited by how many slots a character has. Chips can either be purchased at shops or picked up from defeated enemies.[2][9] If the player character dies, they respawn at their previous save point. The player character can then find their original body and either retrieve items and experience left with it to gain a bonus, or attempt to repair it. If successful, the body is resurrected as a temporary ally, but if unsuccessful, it becomes an enemy the player can defeat for an extra bonus.[1] With online features enabled, the bodies of other players can also be retrieved or revived at the location where they died.[6][10]

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Action role-playing game

Action role-playing game

An action role-playing game is a subgenre of video games that combines core elements from both the action game and role-playing genre.

Open world

Open world

In video games, an open world is a virtual world in which the player can approach objectives freely, as opposed to a world with more linear and structured gameplay. While games have used open-world designs since the 1980s, the implementation in Grand Theft Auto III (2001) set a standard for the concept which has been used since.

Mecha

Mecha

The term mecha may refer to both scientific ideas and science-fiction genres that center on giant robots or machines (mechs) controlled by people. Mechas are typically depicted as humanoid walking vehicles. The term was first used in Japanese: 'mecha', after shortening the English loanword 'mechanism' or 'mechanical' , but the meaning in Japanese is more inclusive, and 'robot' or 'giant robot' is the narrower term.

Nier

Nier

Nier is an action role-playing video game developed by Cavia and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in April 2010. In Japan, the game was released as Nier Replicant for the PlayStation 3 with a younger main character, while an alternative version titled Nier Gestalt with an older main character was released for the Xbox 360; Gestalt was released outside of Japan as Nier for both platforms. A remaster of the game, Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139... was released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows on April 23, 2021.

Platform game

Platform game

A platform game is a sub-genre of action video games in which the core objective is to move the player character between points in an environment. Platform games are characterized by levels that consist of uneven terrain and suspended platforms of varying height that require jumping and climbing to traverse. Other acrobatic maneuvers may factor into the gameplay, such as swinging from vines or grappling hooks, jumping off walls, air dashing, gliding through the air, being shot from cannons, or bouncing from springboards or trampolines. Games where jumping is automated completely, such as 3D games in The Legend of Zelda series, fall outside of the genre.

Game over

Game over

"Game over" is a message in video games which signals to the player that the game and an attempt of playing the level has ended. It is usually received negatively in a situation where continued play is disallowed, such as losing all of one's lives or failing a critical objective. However, it sometimes also appears after the successful completion of a game, usually ones designed for arcades. The phrase has since been turned into quasi-slang, usually describing an event that will cause significant harm, injury, bad luck, or even death to a person.

Hack and slash

Hack and slash

Hack and slash, also known as hack and slay or slash 'em up, refers to a type of gameplay that emphasizes combat with melee-based weapons. They may also feature projectile-based weapons as well as secondary weapons. It is a sub-genre of beat 'em up games, which focuses on melee combat usually with swords. Hack-and-slash action games are sometimes known as character action games.

Counterattack

Counterattack

A counterattack is a tactic employed in response to an attack, with the term originating in "war games". The general objective is to negate or thwart the advantage gained by the enemy during attack, while the specific objectives typically seek to regain lost ground or destroy the attacking enemy.

Shoot 'em up

Shoot 'em up

Shoot 'em ups are a sub-genre of action games. There is no consensus as to which design elements compose a shoot 'em up; some restrict the definition to games featuring spacecraft and certain types of character movement, while others allow a broader definition including characters on foot and a variety of perspectives. The Electric Underground, a YouTube channel dedicated to the genre, identifies the three following design elements as core to the genre: 1) Free 8-way character movement, without the restriction of gravity; 2) Auto-scrolling or automatically sequenced levels; 3) Combat focused on avoiding projectiles.

Longsword

Longsword

A longsword is a type of European sword characterized as having a cruciform hilt with a grip for primarily two-handed use, a straight double-edged blade of around 85 to 110 cm, and weighing approximately 1 to 1.5 kg.

Bracer

Bracer

A bracer is a strap or sheath, commonly made of leather, stone or plastic, that covers the ventral (inside) surface of an archer's bow-holding arm. It protects the archer's forearm against injury by accidental whipping from the bowstring or the fletching of the arrow while shooting, and also prevents the loose sleeve from catching the bowstring. They normally only cover part of the forearm, but full-length bracers extending to the upper arm are also available, and other areas have been covered by some archers. In addition, chest guards are sometimes worn, usually by female archers, to protect the breast. With some combinations of non-baggy clothing and bows with a larger distance between the bow and the string, the archer may not need to wear any bracer.

Drakengard

Drakengard

Drakengard, known in Japan as Drag-On Dragoon, is a series of action role-playing video games created by Yoko Taro. The eponymous first game in the series was released in 2003 on the PlayStation 2, and has since been followed by a sequel, a prequel and several spin-offs. A spin-off series titled Nier, taking place in an alternative timeline set after a different ending to the first Drakengard than the one 2005's Drakengard 2 followed, was started in 2010 with the eponymous game. Yoko directed every game in both series, with the exception of Drakengard 2 on which he only had minor involvement.

Synopsis

Setting and characters

Nier: Automata shares the post-apocalyptic setting of Nier, taking place thousands of years after the original game's events.[11][12] The universe of Nier takes place in an alternate timeline within the Drakengard series.[11] While carrying over the Drakengard tradition of a dark atmosphere and branching storylines, no direct narrative connection is shared between Nier: Automata and the rest of the series.[11][13][14] Set in the year 11945 AD, the story revolves around a proxy war between the human-made androids and the machine army of invaders from another world.[15][16] Lacking both emotions and true names, androids have particular attitudes that distinguish them from their fellows.[15][16][17] The "YoRHa" android forces are commanded from the Bunker, a reconnaissance base in orbit above Earth. They fight alongside the pre-YoRHa androids on Earth (known as the Resistance) to drive back the Machines.[18]

The initial protagonist is 2B (short for "YoRHa No. 2 Type B"), a YoRHa combat android whose main traits are her calm and composure.[15][16][17] 2B is accompanied by 9S (short for YoRHa No.9 Type S), a male "scanner" android who displays more emotion than the other YoRHa units. Eventually another playable character is introduced: "A2", an obsolete attack android with a taciturn personality who often chooses to act alone.[17] The androids are supported by Pod 042 and Pod 153, floating box-like robots that act as ranged weapons.[12][18] The primary antagonists of the game are Adam and Eve, twin controllers of the Machine Network; and the Red Girls, a construct within the Machine Network. Other characters include the YoRHa's top officer, "Commander"; the resistance leader, Anemone; Pascal, a machine who dislikes conflict and wishes for peace; Devola and Popola, androids who aid the resistance and are of the same model as a similar pair from Nier; and the original Nier character Emil, who has lost his memories in the intervening years after the original game.[9][12][18]

Plot

The first and second playthroughs follow the respective views of 2B and 9S during an initial invasion. After opening a route for future missions, they are sent to clear out machine threats for the Resistance, led by Anemone, who provides the two with support. During their missions, 2B and 9S discover that the machines are exploring human societies and concepts. The two work with a pacifist machine group led by Pascal; battle Adam and Eve, physical manifestations of the machine network who reveal that their creators were destroyed centuries ago;[q 1] and encounter A2, a rogue android on the run from YoRHa. Adam is killed by 2B after he captures 9S. During his recuperation, 9S discovers a glitch in YoRHa's servers when syncing himself and 2B, and learns that humanity was extinct long before the alien invasion. Their last remnant is a Moon-based server holding humanity's incomplete genome remains. YoRHa perpetuates the myth of their survival to maintain morale and give androids a "god" to fight for.[q 2] With Adam dead, Eve goes mad with grief and drives the machines under his command into a frenzy. 2B and 9S kill Eve to end the rampage, but 9S becomes infected with Eve's logic virus, forcing 2B to kill him. However, 9S's consciousness survives within the local machine network.

The third playthrough begins as YoRHa launches a full-scale invasion. A logic virus attack—enabled by the "glitch" that 9S previously discovered—corrupts every YoRHa unit including those in the Bunker, except for 2B and the restored 9S.[q 3] 2B and 9S are separated in the aftermath, and 2B is infected with the logic virus. Discovered by A2, 2B uploads her memories into her sword and asks her to look after 9S. An ignorant 9S witnesses A2 mercifully killing 2B and furiously swears revenge on her. Simultaneously, a tower created by the machines rises from the land, separating the two before they can fight. The perspective splits between A2 and 9S a fortnight after these events. A2—the survivor of a test run for YoRHa—finds herself empathising with the machines; she witnesses Pascal's village being destroyed, then its "children" committing suicide out of fear when attacked. Pascal begs A2 to either wipe his memory or kill him; A2 can perform either task or leave him. An increasingly-unbalanced 9S investigates the tower's resource-gathering platforms, fighting machine remnants and learning the tower is designed to launch a missile at the Moon server. Both eventually enter the tower, with Devola and Popola sacrificing themselves to open it.

During these events, it is revealed that YoRHa was always designed to lose and to perpetuate the myth of humanity, with the Red Girls in the Machine Network using them to further their evolution; each side trapped the other in an eternal cycle of war.[q 4] It is also revealed that 2B's real designation was "2E", an "executioner" unit assigned to repeatedly kill 9S whenever he discovered the truth about humanity, and that 9S was aware of this.[q 5] Separate arcs play out for returning characters Emil, and Devola and Popola. Emil lost his memories due to copying himself to fight the aliens. A group of those copies, gone mad after losing their sense of self, act as a secret boss battle. After the current character wins the fight, Emil dies after remembering his reason for fighting.[q 6] Devola and Popola were ostracized and programmed to feel endless guilt after their model series caused humanity's extinction in Nier. They stay at the Resistance camp doing the riskier jobs, and aid the YoRHa androids until helping 9S at the tower.

At the top of the tower, the two androids confront each other; 9S, now insane and infected with the logic virus, challenges A2 to a fight, prompting the player to choose a character.[q 7] If A2 is picked, she saves 9S and sacrifices herself to destroy the tower. If 9S is chosen, the two androids kill each other; in his final moments, the Machine Network offers him the chance to join them, as the tower has changed its function to fire an ark containing the Machine memories to find a new world.[q 8] Once both of these endings are unlocked, Pods 042 and 153 defy their orders to delete YoRHa's data, prompting the player to destroy the credits in a shoot 'em up section. Despite the possibility that the restored 2B, 9S and A2 would repeat everything, the Pods hold faith that they will forge a new future for themselves.[q 9] The player is then given the option to sacrifice their save data to help other players.[19]

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Proxy war

Proxy war

A proxy war is an armed conflict between two states or non-state actors, one or both of which act at the instigation or on behalf of other parties that are not directly involved in the hostilities. In order for a conflict to be considered a proxy war, there must be a direct, long-term relationship between external actors and the belligerents involved. The aforementioned relationship usually takes the form of funding, military training, arms, or other forms of material assistance which assist a belligerent party in sustaining its war effort.

Android (robot)

Android (robot)

An android is a humanoid robot or other artificial being often made from a flesh-like material. Historically, androids were completely within the domain of science fiction and frequently seen in film and television, but advances in robot technology now allow the design of functional and realistic humanoid robots.

Resistance movement

Resistance movement

A resistance movement is an organized effort by some portion of the civil population of a country to withstand the legally established government or an occupying power and to disrupt civil order and stability. It may seek to achieve its objectives through either the use of nonviolent resistance, or the use of force, whether armed or unarmed. In many cases, as for example in the United States during the American Revolution, or in Norway in the Second World War, a resistance movement may employ both violent and non-violent methods, usually operating under different organizations and acting in different phases or geographical areas within a country.

2B (Nier: Automata)

2B (Nier: Automata)

2B is the main protagonist of Act 1 of the 2017 video game Nier: Automata. A humanoid combat android created as part of the YoRHa squadron, her mission is to liberate Earth from hostile machine lifeforms created by an unnamed alien race. Her Type B designation indicates that she specializes in front-line combat, and she is able to wield two weapons and use a large variety of combat styles. Her personality is cold, collected, and quick-thinking in dire situations, a trait of her model line that was inherited from her predecessor A2, whom she resembles perfectly. She disdains open displays of emotion, believing them to be unnecessary, although she hides emotional trauma and anger over the missions she is forced to complete.

Reconnaissance

Reconnaissance

In military operations, reconnaissance or scouting is the exploration of an area by military forces to obtain information about enemy forces, terrain, and other activities.

Shoot 'em up

Shoot 'em up

Shoot 'em ups are a sub-genre of action games. There is no consensus as to which design elements compose a shoot 'em up; some restrict the definition to games featuring spacecraft and certain types of character movement, while others allow a broader definition including characters on foot and a variety of perspectives. The Electric Underground, a YouTube channel dedicated to the genre, identifies the three following design elements as core to the genre: 1) Free 8-way character movement, without the restriction of gravity; 2) Auto-scrolling or automatically sequenced levels; 3) Combat focused on avoiding projectiles.

Development

After the release of Nier, both director Yoko Taro and Square Enix producer Yosuke Saito wanted to create a sequel. When Saito spoke to assistant producer Yuki Yokoyama, he was unwilling due to the original game's low sales.[20] After the positive fan reception of the original Nier, however, both Square Enix and the lead staff who worked on the original game were willing to continue the Nier IP, but also wanted to create a better, more action-oriented gameplay experience. As a result, they contacted PlatinumGames, which had developed a reputation for high-quality action games such as Bayonetta (2009) and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (2013).[13][21] The collaboration was agreed upon on two conditions: that Yoko become director, and that he be present to help with production. The latter condition necessitated a move by Yoko from Tokyo to Osaka where PlatinumGames was located.[20] Although Taro was initially uneasy about the collaboration, the staff at PlatinumGames had been wanting to work on a Nier game since its release, and their enthusiasm and wish to remain faithful to the original assuaged his doubts.[14] Designer Takahisa Taura also wished to create a sequel to Nier prior to Square Enix approaching the company.[22] PlatinumGames handled primary development of the game, while Square Enix supervised and gathered many staff members and worked on the sound environment.[23]

The original plan was to make the game for mobile platforms or PlayStation Vita—Yoko claims that they intended for it to be similar to the farming simulator Farmville (2009)—but it was soon decided to develop the game for PlayStation 4 instead.[11][24] The game was co-produced by Saito and Eijiro Nishimura.[25] Production began in 2014, including six months of pre-production. It included many of the staff from the original Nier.[11][21][26] The early relationship between Yoko and PlatinumGames staff was fraught, mainly due to differing daily schedules due to Yoko's freelancer status. A system of "free time" was developed where Yoko could come in when possible without clashes, smoothing out the difficulties.[27] During production, the team took into account both fan and critic feedback on Nier and later opinions on the game. The points they felt needed addressing ranged from character designs to gameplay to graphics. While improving on these points, they also carried over aspects that were well-received, such as the complexity of story and the game's music.[28] The majority of development was handled by PlatinumGames at its offices in Osaka and Tokyo, while outside staff such as Yoko were also brought in.[22]

Scenario and themes

The narrative of Nier: Automata references numerous famous philosophers and names some Machine characters after them; cited examples are Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.[29]
The narrative of Nier: Automata references numerous famous philosophers and names some Machine characters after them; cited examples are Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.[29]

Yoko was the primary writer of the game's scenario,[28] and ended up working much more on the script than his previous games, and delivered it four to five months late. After delivery, the overall narrative remained the same with only small-scale adjustments taking place during development.[30] Two subwriters were Hana Kikuchi, who worked on the scenarios of Nier and Drakengard 3 (2013),[25][31] and Yoshiho Akabane of external company Highestar.[25] When creating the story, Yoko was hesitant about adding Devola and Popola to the story due to their integral role in the original game, but eventually decided to feature them.[32] According to Yoko, while the scenario of Nier was "wet" in its emotional content, for Nier: Automata he aimed for a "dry" narrative concerning the world's inherent unfairness and the prejudices the characters are forced to confront.[33] He also wanted to balance how he portrayed the protagonists and antagonists, feeling he had gone too far when humanising the antagonists of Nier, and leave the player more room to interpret the story as they chose.[27][34] According to Saito, a lot of time and effort went into creating the story and character interactions so they would match up to the original Nier.[35] As with the original Nier, multiple endings were created, but the conditions for reaching them were not as stringent as the first game.[35] Yoko's desire was to make the game's conclusion happy, which prompted scepticism from other staff members when reviewing his story.[13]

The happy ending from Yoko's perspective was the fifth and final ending. According to Yoko, the fifth ending did not come to him for some time as he was focusing on other aspects of the story. He felt that the characters he was developing were naturally leading him towards that ending rather than him designing it for them. The final ending featured a shooting sequence where the player fought their way through the closing credits; this was symbolic of the player and characters breaking out of a known system to find the hope of a new future. Yoko said this was representative of the story's focus on the future and systematic elements.[19] The ability for players to aid each other through the closing credits segment was inspired by a publicity stunt by Coca-Cola, where two machines in India and Pakistan—countries with a long history of mutual conflict—were connected via livestreaming in special drink dispensers. Yoko was deeply impressed by this, but pulled away from his initial concept of having messages appear only from countries at war with the home of each player.[36] The team also included the option for players to delete their save data, a mechanic used in the original Nier. This feature, where players sacrificed their save data to aid other random players in finishing the bullet hell sequence at the end of closing credits, was implemented midway through development.[19]

The team defined the game's central theme as "agaku", a Japanese word meaning to struggle out of a bad situation.[37] Another theme Saito pointed out was love, which he stated was unusual given that all the central cast were robots, which were not normally associated with emotions.[35] Yoko also used the androids' and Machines' reverence for the long-extinct humanity to show how people's sense of self and worth is necessarily founded on belief in something else. The negative influence of human history on the factions also reflected his views on how people continue to fight and create boundaries between themselves despite their advancement.[38] A recurring element from Yoko's earlier work was his examination of why people kill, and the impact of killing on others—this stems from his observation of people coming to enjoy killing enemies encountered in games, which suggested to him that something was wrong or missing inside them.[39] The darkness of the narrative was explained by Yoko as reflecting the inherent darkness of reality.[23] The narrative makes reference to numerous influential philosophers and thinkers, with some Machine characters being named after them such as supporting character Pascal (Blaise Pascal), boss character Simone (Simone de Beauvoir), and NPC Jean-Paul (Jean-Paul Sartre).[29][40] Yoko used books by Will Buckingham and Nigel Benson, which respectively explained philosophy and psychology in understandable language, as a reference for the narrative.[29]

Art and game design

As Nier: Automata was an RPG as opposed to Taura's previous pure action games, the development presented new challenges for him.[14][22] While Taura handled the action combat system, designer Isao Negishi created the RPG elements.[41] According to Negishi and programmer Ryo Onishi, a major difficulty was creating a title faithful to Nier, which required a shift away from the style of their earlier titles.[41] While designing the game's RPG elements, the staff at PlatinumGames were partially inspired by The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015) in the design of their sidequests, which they felt they would never be able to match.[24] The sections where the camera shifted to a side-scrolling perspective were inspired by the Castlevania series, of which Taura was a fan. For the final boss where the player chooses between 9S and A2, each was supposed to lose important elements (weapons and items for A2, experience points for 9S), but this was dropped.[27]

For the combat system, the team took the systems used in Nier and infused elements from other titles by PlatinumGames. Taura's main concept was that the combat system improve on the original and weave into the story.[14][22] An additional consideration was the inclusion of mechanics that would allow both casual and hardcore action gamers to enjoy playing.[42] It was also the studio's first attempt at an open world game: while its previous titles had used a story-driven linear structure, Nier: Automata boasted large environments linked by seamless transitions. A particular element noted by Negishi was the lower concentration of enemies in the world compared to that usually found in PlatinumGame titles, a necessity due to the game's open nature. This was part of their efforts to fulfill Yoko's creative vision: by including fewer enemies, the team gave players the opportunity to "enjoy the still beauty of the game's desolate world". Required inclusions were the shooting elements, compared by staff to bullet hell titles, and combat that switched camera perspectives.[41][42] The plug-in chips were an updated version of the Words used in Nier, only themed around the premise of androids. Cooperative and player-versus-player multiplayer modes were suggested, but never got beyond the concept phase.[27]

Using feedback about the original characters designs, Akihiko Yoshida was brought on as main character designer.[11] Saito originally wanted to invite D.K, character designer for Nier, to return. However D.K had broken his elbow and was unable to draw, so referred the team to Yoshida.[23] While the team thought he would refuse due to his busy schedule, Yoshida was willing to join the project as a number of staff members at his company CyDesignation were fans of Nier. Yoshida joined a little later than usual in the process, so Taro gave him a general guideline of sleek designs with black as the dominant color.[11][13] As opposed to the original Nier, which was released in two versions with a different version of the main protagonist for western tastes, the team decided to have the game feature the same protagonist in all versions, focusing on creating a high-quality Japanese RPG rather than making adjustments for its western release.[14][28] This wish for a uniform international appearance was another reason why the team brought in Yoshida.[41] The Commander, Adam, and Eve were designed by Yuya Nagai.[43] Square Enix artist Toshiyuki Itahana handled the redesigns for Devola and Popola.[44] The enemy concept art was handled by Hisayoshi Kijima, while environmental artwork was done by Kazuma Koda, Yasuyuki Kaji, and Shohei Kameoka: environmental design was a collaborative effort with Yoko, and the team strove to make the environments appear like places players would visit in the real world. One of the challenges faced when creating the character models was making them seem alive despite their mechanical nature.[42][45]

Audio

Composer Keiichi Okabe, who worked on both Nier and Drakengard 3, returned as lead composer with his studio band Monaca, alongside fellow members Keigo Hoashi, Kuniyuki Takahashi, and Kakeru Ishihama.[28][46][47] The score was influenced by classical music, while recalling elements used for Nier such as the overall sense of melancholy. A change from the previous score was a shift to portraying a more mechanical and brutal theme and environment than Nier, which had focused on grasslands and villages. Another factor was the open world environment: rather than a single looping track, Okabe created multiple hard and soft tracks that transitioned into each other depending on situation and environment. Balancing of the music was carried out using the digital audio workstation (DAW) Pro Tools.[46] Another prominent return was Emi Evans, who provided vocals for the first game's soundtrack. Additional male vocals were provided by Shotaro Seo.[46][48] In addition, a theme song was created for the game, with versions sung by both Evans and new singer J'Nique Nicole. Nicole and Nami Nakagawa joined with Evans to form a three-part chorus for some of the musical work, including a boss theme featured in the game.[46] Several songs from the Nier soundtrack were arranged for Nier: Automata.[49]

The general sound design was handled by Masato Shindo, who was faced with a challenge new to the PlatinumGames staff: in their previous projects sound echoes had been handled by individual settings created by the team, but that would not work properly in an open world setting due to its scale. Instead, Shindo designed a realistic soundscape using a system to manage echoes in real time, determining how much reverberation to generate based on current surroundings.[45] Sound implementation was handled by Masami Ueda, and it was a greater amount of work than he had experienced on any previous project. One of the factors that helped with the smooth implementation was Ueda's previous encounters and good working relationship with Okabe.[42]

An official soundtrack album was released on March 29, 2017.[47] An additional sixteen-track album subtitled Hacking Tracks, containing musical variations for hacking segments, was bundled with first-print copies of the soundtrack.[50]

Discover more about Development related topics

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Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. There are many types of intellectual property, and some countries recognize more than others. The best-known types are patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. The modern concept of intellectual property developed in England in the 17th and 18th centuries. The term "intellectual property" began to be used in the 19th century, though it was not until the late 20th century that intellectual property became commonplace in the majority of the world's legal systems.

PlatinumGames

PlatinumGames

PlatinumGames Inc. is a Japanese video game developer that was founded in October 2007 as result of a merger between two companies, Seeds Inc. and Odd Inc. Shinji Mikami, Atsushi Inaba, and Hideki Kamiya founded Seeds Inc. after the closure of Capcom's Clover Studio, while Odd Inc. was founded by Tatsuya Minami. A year after the studio was founded, video game publisher Sega announced that it would be publishing four intellectual properties developed by the company: MadWorld, Infinite Space, Bayonetta, and Vanquish. Their partnership later extended to include Anarchy Reigns. Most of these games were met with positive reception. Over the years, PlatinumGames had developed an expertise in action games and one of their key philosophies was that the team would not follow conventional game design concepts.

Bayonetta (video game)

Bayonetta (video game)

Bayonetta is a 2009 action-adventure game developed by PlatinumGames and published by Sega. It was released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in Japan in October 2009, and in North America and Europe in January 2010. It was released on Wii U in September 2014, Windows in April 2017, Nintendo Switch in February 2018, and PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in February 2020.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a 2013 action hack and slash game co-developed by PlatinumGames and Kojima Productions and published by Konami Digital Entertainment. Released for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nvidia Shield TV, and Microsoft Windows, it is a spin-off in the Metal Gear series, and is set four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. In the game, players control Raiden, a cyborg who confronts the private military company Desperado Enforcement, with the gameplay focusing on fighting enemies using a sword and other weapons to perform combos and counterattacks. Through the use of Blade Mode, Raiden can cut cyborgs in slow motion and steal parts stored in their bodies. The series' usual stealth elements are also optional to reduce combat.

FarmVille

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FarmVille is a series of agriculture-simulation social network game developed and published by Zynga in 2009. It is similar to Happy Farm and Farm Town. Its gameplay involves various aspects of farmland management, such as plowing land, planting, growing, and harvesting crops, harvesting trees and raising livestock. The sequels FarmVille 2 and FarmVille 3 were released in September 2012 and November 2021.

PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4

The PlayStation 4 (PS4) is a home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Announced as the successor to the PlayStation 3 in February 2013, it was launched on November 15, 2013, in North America, November 29, 2013 in Europe, South America and Australia, and on February 22, 2014 in Japan. A console of the eighth generation, it competes with the Microsoft's Xbox One and the Nintendo's Wii U and Switch.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre was one of the key figures in the philosophy of existentialism, a French playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic, as well as a leading figure in 20th-century French philosophy and Marxism. His work has influenced sociology, critical theory, post-colonial theory, and literary studies, and continues to do so. He was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature despite attempting to refuse it, saying that he always declined official honors and that "a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution."

Drakengard 3

Drakengard 3

Drakengard 3, known in Japan as Drag-On Dragoon 3, is an action role-playing video game developed by Access Games and published by Square Enix exclusively for PlayStation 3. It is the third and final main game in the Drakengard series and a prequel to the original game. The game, like the rest of the series, features a mixture of ground-based hack-and-slash combat and aerial battles. The story focuses on Zero, a woman who can manipulate magic through song. Partnering with a dragon named Mikhail, Zero set out to kill her five sisters, who rule the world's regions. As she travels, the player discovers the true reason behind Zero's rampage.

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola, or Coke, is a carbonated soft drink manufactured by the Coca-Cola Company. Originally marketed as a temperance drink and intended as a patent medicine, it was invented in the late 19th century by John Stith Pemberton in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1888, Pemberton sold Coca-Cola's ownership rights to Asa Griggs Candler, a businessman, whose marketing tactics led Coca-Cola to its dominance of the global soft-drink market throughout the 20th and 21st century. The drink's name refers to two of its original ingredients: coca leaves and kola nuts. The current formula of Coca-Cola remains a closely guarded trade secret; however, a variety of reported recipes and experimental recreations have been published. The secrecy around the formula has been used by Coca-Cola in its marketing as only a handful of anonymous employees know the formula. The drink has inspired imitators and created a whole classification of soft drink: colas.

India

India

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Pakistan

Pakistan

Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a country in South Asia. It is the world's fifth-most populous country, with a population of almost 243 million people, and has the world's second-largest Muslim population just behind Indonesia. Pakistan is the 33rd-largest country in the world by area and 2nd largest in South Asia, spanning 881,913 square kilometres. It has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south, and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China to the northeast. It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the north, and also shares a maritime border with Oman. Islamabad is the nation's capital, while Karachi is its largest city and financial centre.

Blaise Pascal

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Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, and Catholic writer.

Release

In January 2014, after the release of Drakengard 3, Yoko expressed an interest in making a second spin-off from the Drakengard series, but did not specify whether it would be related to Nier.[51] He later confirmed in December of that year that he was working on a new game, but did not reveal any more details.[52] Nier: Automata was first announced at Square Enix's press conference at E3 2015 under the provisional title Nier New Project.[21] Its official title was kept secret at the time as it would have spoiled aspects of the game's plot.[13] An official title was also undecided at this point. Yoko originally wanted to call it Nier: Android, but Square Enix rejected that title due to a possible trademark conflict with Google's Android operating system.[53]

At the time it was announced, the game was 10% complete.[7] Its official title, along with a gameplay trailer and prospective year of release, were revealed at the 2015 Paris Games Week trade show.[15] A2's playable role was not intended as a surprise reveal. The team did use her long-haired design for footage from a late-game boss fight where in-game she had short hair, making her change in appearance less obvious.[34] Initially planned for release in November 2016, Square Enix delayed release as there were concerns about its commercial performance against other prominent titles: it was decided that a Q4 or Q1 release would give Nier: Automata more of a chance for commercial success. The delay gave the developers additional time to improve the quality and gameplay balance.[54] The delay was appreciated by Yoko as it gave the team more time for polishing.[34]

Localization

Localization for the English version was handled by 8-4, the same company which had localized of the original Nier.[55] According to Yoko, 8-4 changed elements of the script for each region, as some of the concepts in the Japanese script were difficult to understand if translated directly. The aim was to create a script that would appeal to players around the world.[56] As 8-4 had worked with Yoko before on Nier and Drakengard 3, they were familiar with his writing style and found it easy to ask clarifying questions during translation.[57] 8-4's biggest issue was writing the android characters; while ostensibly emotionless, they had distinctive personalities and much of the relationship between 2B and 9S revolved around emotion. While 9S was already written to be more emotive in Japanese, 2B had to be rewritten so she came off as "droll" rather than emotionless in English.[55]

The team had notes about how to write each character; for example 9S, would speak about things at length, while 2B would be more crisp. The team also needed to make decisions about the voice acting, ranging from potential regional accents to altering voice types. A cited example was changing a character with a high-pitched child's voice to a more mature one so as not to grate on players. They also needed to do research on the various philosophical themes so as not to make a mistake in their writing.[55] One problem that emerged was the naming of the character Jean-Paul, who in Japanese was named Sartre. As the estate of Jean-Paul Sartre would not have allowed the philosopher's name to be used in this context outside Japan, Yoko reluctantly allowed the name change at Square Enix's request.[29] English dubbing was handled by Cup of Tea Productions, which had previously worked on both Nier and Drakengard 3.[58]

Versions and additional content

The game released in Japan on February 23, 2017.[59] A limited Black Box Collector's Edition was created, featuring the game, a figurine of 2B, a special release of the Nier: Automata live concert, an artbook, a download code for a special item, and a prequel novella.[60] The novella, which retells the events of Nier from the perspectives of characters Devola and Popola, was written by Jun Eishima, a regular collaborator for supplementary material related to the Drakengard series, in collaboration with Yoko.[61] In addition, Square Enix collaborated with Japanese rock band Amazarashi to produce a new single, "Inochi ni Fusawashii", inspired by the game's world. Amazarashi's lead singer Hiromu Akita was a fan of Nier, facilitating the promotion. The music video for "Inochi ni Fusawashii" was supervised by Yoko.[62]

In the West, the PS4 version released in North America on March 7, and in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand on March 10.[63][64] In addition to the standard version, there was a Day One edition that featured reversible cover art featuring artwork by Yoshida, and a version of the Black Box Collector's Edition featuring the Day One edition with added accessory content, the 2B figurine, an artbook, and a 13-track soundtrack including tracks from both Nier and the earlier Drakengard games.[65]

The game was announced for a digital release on Windows platforms through Steam.[66] A concern for both Square Enix and PlatinumGames with the PC version was potential piracy, which was expected to delay its release. When handling this problem, the teams considered using Denuvo digital rights management.[67] The PC version was released on March 17, 2017.[68] A fan patch fixed two major problems of the PC version that were not addressed by Square Enix; an error in the resolution setting and general performance problems even with beyond requirements hardware.[69][70] The game was review bombed in April 2017 by Chinese players demanding a translation of the game to Chinese.[71]

In November 2016, Saito stated that an Xbox One version was up for consideration, and announced that the game would support the enhanced PlayStation 4 Pro model.[72] Saito later confirmed that an Xbox One version was not being developed due to low sales of the console in Japan, in addition to focusing on a single console so as not to compromise the game's quality.[73] An Xbox One version was eventually announced, and released subtitled as Become as Gods Edition. It released worldwide on June 26, 2018.[74][75] The Become as Gods edition was also ported by QLOC for Windows through the Microsoft Store and Xbox Game Pass on March 18, 2021. This release featured improvements unavailable in the Steam version, including HDR content and AMD's FidelityFX suite.[76] Those features were patched into the Steam version on July 15 of that year.[77]

A Nintendo Switch port, handled by Virtuos, was released on October 6, 2022. The port included new in-game items and costumes, and reversible cover art featuring a new illustration by Kazuma.[78] For the Switch port, Virtuos wanted to preserve the game as much as possible, but capped the frame rate at 30 fps and adjusted a racing-based side quest to be less difficult. Sound compression was a challenge, with the team optimizing both the sound and graphics engine to allow for the highest quality transfer onto the Switch's weaker hardware. The team did scene-by-scene comparisons during their work to ensure the final product was as close as possible to the other console versions.[79]

A downloadable content (DLC) pack titled 3C3C1D119440927, was released on May 2, 2017, and features additional costumes and accessories based on the original Nier, aesthetic hair customisation options, new battle colosseums, and boss fights with Square Enix and PlatinumGames presidents Yosuke Matsuda and Kenichi Sato.[80] It is unlocked in-game from the chapter selection screen, and requires save data from a completed playthrough.[81] The DLC was included in the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch releases,[74][78] and in the Game of the YoRHa Edition released for PlayStation 4 and Windows on February 26, 2019.[70][82]

Discover more about Release related topics

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Google

Google

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Android (operating system)

Android (operating system)

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Paris Games Week

Paris Games Week

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8-4

8-4

8-4, Ltd. is a Japanese video game localization company based in Shibuya, Tokyo. The company was founded in 2005 by Hiroko Minamoto and former Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) editor John Ricciardi. They were joined by Ricciardi's EGM colleague Mark MacDonald in 2008, who departed in 2016 to work as VP, Production of Business and Development at Enhance Games. It performs Japanese-to-English and English-to-Japanese translation and localization on a contract basis with credits including Monster Hunter, Nier, Dragon Quest, Fire Emblem, Tales, Undertale and more. The company is named after the final level of Super Mario Bros.

Amazarashi

Amazarashi

Amazarashi is a Japanese rock band from Aomori, currently signed to Sony Music Japan. Formed in 2007, its members are Hiromu Akita and Manami Toyokawa (keyboard). They have released six singles which have all reached the top 20 of the Oricon charts.

Steam (service)

Steam (service)

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Denuvo

Denuvo

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Digital rights management

Digital rights management

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Chinese language

Chinese language

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Microsoft Store

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Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid video game console developed by Nintendo and released worldwide in most regions on March 3, 2017. The console itself is a tablet that can either be docked for use as a home console or used as a portable device, making it a hybrid console. Its wireless Joy-Con controllers, with standard buttons and directional analog sticks for user input, motion sensing, and tactile feedback, can attach to both sides of the console to support handheld-style play. They can also connect to a grip accessory to provide a traditional home console gamepad form, or be used individually in the hand like the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, supporting local multiplayer modes. The Nintendo Switch's software supports online gaming through Internet connectivity, as well as local wireless ad hoc connectivity with other consoles. Nintendo Switch games and software are available on both physical flash-based ROM cartridges and digital distribution via Nintendo eShop; the system has no region lockout. A handheld-focused revision of the system, called the Nintendo Switch Lite, was released on September 20, 2019. A revised higher-end version of the original system, featuring an OLED screen, was released on October 8, 2021.

Reception

The original PS4 release of Nier: Automata received "generally favorable reviews" on review aggregator Metacritic, based on 101 critic reviews.[83] The PC version also received favorable reviews, based on 12 reviews.[84] The Xbox One version received "universal acclaim", earning a score of 90 from 30 reviews.[85] The Switch port saw favourable reviews, earning a score of 89 based on 34 reviews.[86]

Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu gave it a near-perfect score, lauding most aspects of it despite one reviewer finding customisation cumbersome.[96] Miguel Concepcion of GameSpot praised every aspect of the game apart from its side quests, referring to its gameplay as "the closest thing there is to a spiritual successor to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance".[90] Eurogamer's Jeffrey Matulef called the game "the most captivating game I've played in ages" despite rough edges.[87] Mollie Patterson, writing for Electronic Gaming Monthly, praised it as a highly enjoyable experience as both a player and reviewer.[8] Destructoid's Chris Carter lauded the title as a competent blend of action game and RPG.[6] Game Informer reviewer Joe Juba wrote that a lot of enjoyable elements within the game's narrative and gameplay were obscured by confusing or obtuse mechanics.[89]

GamesRadar+'s Sam Prell was enthusiastic about the narrative, blend of gameplay genres, and overall quality.[91] Meghan Sullivan of IGN called Nier: Automata "a crazy, beautiful, and highly entertaining journey full of nutty ideas and awesome gameplay".[5] PC Gamer's Andy Kelly was positive about the game, but felt the PC port was lacking due to its graphical and technical issues.[94] Janine Hawkins of Polygon lauded the game's sense of scale and willingness to make players feel small in the face of its content.[95] Thomas Whitehead, writing for Nintendo Life, was positive about its presentation and design, but noted some gameplay elements that did not work as expected or lacked depth.[92] Nintendo World Report's Matthew Zawodniak, giving the game a perfect score, described it as one of the best games ever made due to its narrative and gameplay design.[93]

The story and narrative themes met with general acclaim,[87][89][90][94][96] though some found its pacing or presentation lacking.[5][8][91] Both Sullivan and Matulef found the android protagonists hard to identify with.[5][87] The gameplay was enjoyed overall, but several found a lack of depth in combat compared to previous PlatinumGames titles.[5][6][90][91][94][95] The game's visuals were generally praised,[5][87][90][96] despite comments regarding occasional low environment quality or visual spectacle.[89][94] Recurring complaints arose from technical issues such as graphical pop-in, frame rate drops, and long loading times.[5][87][96] By contrast, the music received unanimous acclaim.[5][6][89][90][91][95][96] Reviews of the Switch port highlighted it as one of the best ports to the system, despite noting some expected performance issues and downgraded graphics.[90][92][93]

Sales

The game sold 198,542 copies during its first week of release in Japan, topping the charts and significantly exceeding the sales of the original Nier in 2010.[97][98] In April 2017, the game was reported to have sold over 500,000 copies in Japan and Asia, including both physical shipments and digital downloads.[99] According to the NPD Group report for March 2017, reached ninth place in overall sales, and sixth in the PS4 chart.[100] In the United Kingdom, the game debuted at sixth place in the general software charts.[101] By May 2017, the game's physical and digital versions across PS4 and PC had reached 1.5 million copies. The majority of sales during that period came from overseas, and was seen as a surprising success compared to the low sales of the first Nier.[102] By May 2019, the game had reached worldwide shipments of four million copies,[103] with an additional 500,000 units selling by March 2020; the latter was attributed to steady sales of the "Game of the YoRHa" edition.[104] The game greatly exceeded Square Enix's sales expectations, and made them consider Nier as a possible franchise.[105] The strong sales, in addition to the positive critical reception, was cited by PlatinumGames as saving the company and revitalising general interest in their products after several disappointing game releases.[106][107] As of November 2022, all versions of the game have shipped over seven million copies worldwide.[108]

Accolades

Nier: Automata was nominated for and awarded several different industry awards across 2017 and 2018, including awards of acclaim from CEDEC and the Game Developers Conference. It was also awarded or nominated in several "Best of" lists for 2017 by gaming websites.[109]

Year Award Category Result Ref
2017 35th Annual Golden Joystick Awards Best Storytelling Nominated [109]
PlayStation Game of the Year Nominated
The Game Awards 2017 Best Score/Music Won [109]
Best Narrative Nominated
Best Role Playing Game Nominated
NAVGTR Camera Direction in a Game Engine Won [110]
Original Dramatic Score, Franchise Won
Game of the Year Nominated
Game Design, Franchise Nominated
Character Design Nominated
Writing in a Drama Nominated
Japan Game Awards Games of the Year Division - Award for Excellence Won [109]
2018
British Academy Games Awards Game Design Nominated [111]
Game Innovation Nominated
D.I.C.E. Awards Role Playing Game of the Year Won [109]
SXSW Gaming Awards Excellence in Technical Achievement Won [112]
Excellence in Musical Score Won
Game Developers Choice Awards Game of the Year Nominated [109]
Audience Award Won
Best Audio Nominated
Best Design Nominated
36th Annual Golden Joystick Awards Games of the Year Division - Award for Excellence Nominated [113]

Discover more about Reception related topics

Metacritic

Metacritic

Metacritic is a website that aggregates reviews of films, TV shows, music albums, video games and formerly, books. For each product, the scores from each review are averaged. Metacritic was created by Jason Dietz, Marc Doyle, and Julie Doyle Roberts in 1999. The site provides an excerpt from each review and hyperlinks to its source. A color of green, yellow or red summarizes the critics' recommendations. It is regarded as the foremost online review aggregation site for the video game industry.

Destructoid

Destructoid

Destructoid is a website that was founded as a video game-focused blog in March 2006 by Yanier Gonzalez, a Cuban-American cartoonist and author. Enthusiast Gaming acquired the website in 2017, and sold it to Gamurs Group in 2022.

Electronic Gaming Monthly

Electronic Gaming Monthly

Electronic Gaming Monthly is a monthly American video game magazine. It offers video game news, coverage of industry events, interviews with gaming figures, editorial content and product reviews.

Eurogamer

Eurogamer

Eurogamer is a British video game journalism website launched in 1999 and owned by alongside formed company Gamer Network. Its editor-in-chief is Martin Robinson.

Famitsu

Famitsu

Famitsu, formerly Famicom Tsūshin, is a line of Japanese video game magazines published by Kadokawa Game Linkage, a subsidiary of Kadokawa. Famitsu is published in both weekly and monthly formats as well as in the form of special topical issues devoted to only one console, video game company, or other theme. Shūkan Famitsū, the original Famitsu publication, is considered the most widely read and respected video game news magazine in Japan. From October 28, 2011, the company began releasing the digital version of the magazine exclusively on BookWalker weekly.

Game Informer

Game Informer

Game Informer is an American monthly video game magazine featuring articles, news, strategy, and reviews of video games and associated consoles. It debuted in August 1991 when video game retailer FuncoLand started publishing an in-house newsletter. The publication is now owned and published by GameStop, who bought FuncoLand in 2000. Due to this, a large amount of promotion is done in-store, which has contributed to the success of the magazine. As of June 2017, it is the 5th most popular magazine by copies circulated.

GameSpot

GameSpot

GameSpot is an American video gaming website that provides news, reviews, previews, downloads, and other information on video games. The site was launched on May 1, 1996, created by Pete Deemer, Vince Broady and Jon Epstein. In addition to the information produced by GameSpot staff, the site also allows users to write their own reviews, blogs, and post on the site's forums. It has been owned by Fandom, Inc. since October 2022.

GamesRadar+

GamesRadar+

GamesRadar+ is an entertainment website for video game-related news, previews, and reviews. It is owned by Future plc. In late 2014, Future Publishing-owned sites Total Film, SFX, Edge and Computer and Video Games were merged into GamesRadar, with the resulting, expanded website being renamed GamesRadar+ in November that year.

IGN

IGN

IGN is an American video game and entertainment media website operated by IGN Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Ziff Davis, Inc. The company's headquarters is located in San Francisco's SoMa district and is headed by its former editor-in-chief, Peer Schneider. The IGN website was the brainchild of media entrepreneur Chris Anderson and launched on September 29, 1996. It focuses on games, films, television, comics, technology, and other media. Originally a network of desktop websites, IGN is now also distributed on mobile platforms, console programs on the Xbox and PlayStation, FireTV, Roku, and via YouTube, Twitch, Hulu, and Snapchat.

PC Gamer

PC Gamer

PC Gamer is a magazine and website founded in the United Kingdom in 1993 devoted to PC gaming and published monthly by Future plc. The magazine has several regional editions, with the UK and US editions becoming the best selling PC games magazines in their respective countries. The magazine features news on developments in the video game industry, previews of new games, and reviews of the latest popular PC games, along with other features relating to hardware, mods, "classic" games and various other topics.

Polygon (website)

Polygon (website)

Polygon is an American entertainment website that publishes blogs, reviews, guides, videos, and news primarily covering video games, as well as movies, comics, television and books. At its October 2012 launch as Vox Media's third property, Polygon sought to distinguish itself from competitors by focusing on the stories of the people behind the games instead of the games themselves. It also produced long-form magazine-style feature articles, invested in video content, and chose to let their review scores be updated as the game changed.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a 2013 action hack and slash game co-developed by PlatinumGames and Kojima Productions and published by Konami Digital Entertainment. Released for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nvidia Shield TV, and Microsoft Windows, it is a spin-off in the Metal Gear series, and is set four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. In the game, players control Raiden, a cyborg who confronts the private military company Desperado Enforcement, with the gameplay focusing on fighting enemies using a sword and other weapons to perform combos and counterattacks. Through the use of Blade Mode, Raiden can cut cyborgs in slow motion and steal parts stored in their bodies. The series' usual stealth elements are also optional to reduce combat.

Additional media

Prior to the release of Nier: Automata, Yoko scripted a musical stage play called YoRHa, which was performed in 2014.[114] Set in the same universe as Nier: Automata, it acts as a backstory for the characters A2 and Anemone.[115] The play was born during the game's six month pre-production period.[116] While the stage play predated the reveal of Nier: Automata, the play's writer Asakusa Kaoru stated that it would not exist without Yoko's vision for the world of Automata. Yoko created the basic scenario while the script was written by Kaoru. For later productions, Yoko made revisions to Asakusa's script to simplify the plot.[117] He described the stage play as a spin-off of the overall universe.[34] Later, new revisions to the original stage play, a spin-off, a musical version, and an all-male spin-off play were produced over the next few years.[118]

Multiple novels were also created based on the universe, written by Yoko and Eishima.[119] Long Story Short acts as a novelization of the game's main events with additional commentary from the characters through monologues.[119][120] Short Story Long is a compilation of previous short stories in the Nier continuity, along with new stories related to the characters of Automata.[119][121] These two novels were published in North America by Viz Media.[122] YoRHa Boys, based on the male spin-off stage play, was written by Eishima and supervised by Yoko; it follows a group of male YoRHa units put into an experiment to collect behavioural data.[123][124]

A manga adaptation of the YoRHa stage play, titled YoRHa Pearl Harbor Descent Record, began serialization on Square Enix's Manga UP! online manga service. Megumu Soramichi illustrated the manga with Yoko supervising the story.[125] Square Enix will publish the manga in North America in volumes from December 2022.[126] During the fifth anniversary livestream of Nier: Automata, an anime television series based on the game was announced. It will be produced by Square Enix and Aniplex, and animated by A-1 Pictures.[127] The series, the title of which was later revealed as Nier: Automata Ver1.1a, is set to premiere in January 2023.[128] A figurine based on 2B, 9S and A2 was released.[129]

Collaborations

In October 2018, 2B was announced as a playable guest character in Bandai Namco's fighting game Soulcalibur VI. Released on December 19, the DLC features a scenario around the character, themed moves and weapons, and an alternate white variation dubbed "2P".[130][131] Given the inverted colour scheme of 2B when playing as a second player, the name "2P" was adopted as a play on being player two, and it sounding similar to 2B. Yoko Taro jokingly suggested the P stands for Panasonic.[132] Characters from Nier: Automata were incorporated into a content patch in Shadowbringers, the third major expansion for Final Fantasy XIV.[133] Titled YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse, the scenario was outlined by Yoko, then given to other writers.[134] The three episodes of YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse are "The Copied Factory", released in the first narrative patch Vows of Virtue, Deeds of Cruelty; "The Puppets' Bunker", released alongside the game's third major patch Reflections in Crystal; and "The Tower at Paradigm’s Breach" with the first part of its penultimate update Death Unto Dawn.[135][136][137] A crossover event with Square Enix's SINoALICE mobile game was announced in April 2017. The event consisted of a game level in SINoAlice titled "Nier: Automata: Memory of Dolls", whose story was written by Yoko Taro, and ran for a limited time.[138] DLC costumes and promotional appearances based on the characters of Nier: Automata have also featured in Gravity Rush 2 (2017), Star Ocean: Anamnesis (2018), Phantasy Star Online 2 (2020), and Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout (2020).[139][140][141][142]

Discover more about Additional media related topics

Manga

Manga

Manga are comics or graphic novels originating from Japan. Most manga conform to a style developed in Japan in the late 19th century, and the form has a long prehistory in earlier Japanese art. The term manga is used in Japan to refer to both comics and cartooning. Outside of Japan, the word is typically used to refer to comics originally published in the country.

Anime

Anime

Anime is hand-drawn and computer-generated animation originating from Japan. Outside of Japan and in English, anime refers specifically to animation produced in Japan. However, in Japan and in Japanese, anime describes all animated works, regardless of style or origin. Animation produced outside of Japan with similar style to Japanese animation is commonly referred to as anime-influenced animation.

Aniplex

Aniplex

Aniplex Inc. is a Japanese anime, music production and anime licensee company owned by Sony Music Entertainment Japan. Established in September 1995, Aniplex has been involved in the production and distribution of several anime series, such as both Fullmetal Alchemist anime television series, Bleach, Sword Art Online, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Fate, the Monogatari series, Angel Beats!, The Promised Neverland, Rurouni Kenshin, and more. Additionally, Aniplex produces and distributes music and soundtrack records, including the original soundtracks for all of Sony Interactive Entertainment's computer and video games. Since the 2010s, Aniplex is also involved in the production and publishing of video games.

A-1 Pictures

A-1 Pictures

A-1 Pictures Inc. is a Japanese animation studio founded by ex-Sunrise producer Mikihiro Iwata and it is a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment Japan's anime production firm Aniplex.

Nier: Automata Ver1.1a

Nier: Automata Ver1.1a

Nier: Automata Ver1.1a is an upcoming anime television series based on the action role-playing game Nier: Automata developed by PlatinumGames and published by Square Enix. The series is produced by A-1 Pictures and is scheduled to be aired in January 2023.

Soulcalibur VI

Soulcalibur VI

Soulcalibur VI is a fighting game developed by Bandai Namco Studios and Dimps and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows in 2018. It is the seventh main installment in the Soulcalibur series.

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers is the third expansion pack to Final Fantasy XIV, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed and published by Square Enix for Microsoft Windows, macOS, and PlayStation 4. It released on July 2, 2019, two years after Stormblood. As before, Naoki Yoshida served as director and producer and Masayoshi Soken composed the soundtrack. It released as a standalone product for current players; for new players, the "Complete Edition," originally launched with Heavensward, was updated to include all available expansions.

SINoALICE

SINoALICE

SINoALICE is a role-playing video game developed by Pokelabo for Android and iOS. The game is directed by Yoko Taro, better known for his work in the NieR and Drakengard series. The game was released in Japan by Square Enix in June 2017, and worldwide by Pokelabo in July 2020.

Fighting game

Fighting game

A fighting game, also known as a versus fighting game, is a genre of video game that involves combat between two or more players. Fighting game combat often features mechanics such as blocking, grappling, counter-attacking, and chaining attacks together into "combos". Characters generally engage in battle using hand-to-hand combat—often some form of martial arts. The fighting game genre is related to, but distinct from, the beat 'em up genre, which pits large numbers of computer-controlled enemies against one or more player characters.

Panasonic

Panasonic

Panasonic Holdings Corporation, formerly Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. between 1935 and 2008 and the first incarnation of Panasonic Corporation between 2008 and 2022, is a major Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation, headquartered in Kadoma, Osaka. It was founded by Kōnosuke Matsushita in 1918 as a lightbulb socket manufacturer. In addition to consumer electronics, of which it was the world's largest maker in the late 20th century, Panasonic offers a wide range of products and services, including rechargeable batteries, automotive and avionic systems, industrial systems, as well as home renovation and construction.

Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed and published by Square Enix. Directed and produced by Naoki Yoshida, it was released worldwide for Windows and PlayStation 3 in August 2013, as a replacement for the failed 2010 version of the game, with support for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and macOS releasing later. Final Fantasy XIV takes place in the fictional land of Eorzea, five years after the events of the original 2010 release. At the conclusion of the original game, the primal dragon Bahamut escapes from its lunar prison to initiate the Seventh Umbral Calamity, an apocalyptic event which destroys much of Eorzea. Through the gods' blessing, the player character escapes the devastation by time traveling five years into the future. As Eorzea recovers and rebuilds, the player must deal with the impending threat of invasion by the Garlean Empire from the north.

Gravity Rush 2

Gravity Rush 2

Gravity Rush 2, known in Japan as Gravity Daze 2, is an action-adventure video game. The sequel to Gravity Rush, it is developed by Japan Studio's Team Gravity division, and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 4. Directed by Keiichiro Toyama, the core mechanic of the game is the player's ability to manipulate gravity, allowing unique movements and navigation. The game follows Kat, a gravity-shifting teenage girl and super-heroine, after she is drawn from her home of Hekseville into another universe and must liberate the citizens of Jirga Para Lhao from its evil rulers.

Explanatory notes

  1. ^ Additional production support and supervision by Square Enix. Become as Gods Edition ported to Microsoft Store by QLOC. The End of YoRHa Edition ported by Virtuos.
  2. ^ Stylized as NieR:Automata (Japanese: ニーア オートマタ, Hepburn: Nīa Ōtomata)

Discover more about Explanatory notes related topics

Square Enix

Square Enix

Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational holding company, production enterprise and entertainment conglomerate, best known for its Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Star Ocean and Kingdom Hearts role-playing video game franchises, among numerous others. Outside of video game publishing and development, it is also in the business of merchandise, arcade facilities, and manga publication under its Gangan Comics brand.

Virtuos

Virtuos

Virtuos is a global video game development company headquartered in Singapore with studios across Asia, Europe, and North America. Virtuos specializes in game development and art production for AAA consoles, PC, and mobile titles – working as an external developer for other companies.

Japanese language

Japanese language

Japanese is spoken natively by about 128 million people, primarily by Japanese people and primarily in Japan, the only country where it is the national language. Japanese belongs to the Japonic or Japanese-Ryukyuan language family. There have been many attempts to group the Japonic languages with other families such as the Ainu, Austroasiatic, Koreanic, and the now-discredited Altaic, but none of these proposals has gained widespread acceptance.

Hepburn romanization

Hepburn romanization

Hepburn romanization is the most widely used system of romanization for the Japanese language. Originally published in 1867 by American missionary James Curtis Hepburn as the standard in the first edition of his Japanese–English dictionary, the system is distinct from other romanization methods in its use of English orthography to phonetically transcribe sounds: for example, the syllable [ɕi] is written as shi and [tɕa] is written as cha, reflecting their spellings in English.

Source: "Nier: Automata", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 27th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nier:_Automata.

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References

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Game quotes

PlatinumGames (March 7, 2017). Nier: Automata (PlayStation 4). Square Enix.

  1. ^ Adam: The aliens you seek are no longer here. They were wiped out centuries ago. ...By us. The machines. (Route A, Chapter 03: Adam and Eve)
  2. ^ Commander: In truth, humans never went to the moon at all. Any transmissions received from the moon are just dummy signals set up in advance. The only thing there is a small bit of data relating to the human genome. / 9S: But why would you— / Commander: Humans were already extinct when the aliens attacked. [...] No one fights without a reason. And we need a god worth dying for. (Route B, Chapter 9: Deranged Religion)
  3. ^ Commander: But tell me—why weren't you infected? / 2B: I don't know! / 9S: It's probably because I deferred our data sync. I noticed some weird noise in the Bunker's server data, so I paused the upload. (Route C, Chapter 11: Full-scale Attack)
  4. ^ So then! To sum up: For hundreds of years, we've been fighting a network of machines with the ghost of humanity at its core. We've been living in a stupid *****ing world where we fight an endless war that we COULDN'T POSSIBLY LOSE, all for the sake of some Council of Humanity on the moon that doesn't even exist. (Intel - Archives - Machine Research Report)
  5. ^ A2: The 9S Type is a high-end model. They knew you'd discover the truth eventually. But the model designation "2B" was just a cover. The official designation...is "2E". Number 2, Type E. They were a special class of members designed to execute YoHRa units. But you knew that... Right, 9S? (Route C, Chapter 17: The Tower)
  6. ^ These colossal Emils were the sad final state of Emil's copies. Attacking without warning, they possessed the ability to unleash fierce attacks using magical weapons from the old world. At the end of this pitched battle, the true Emil stopped his dopplegangers [sic] with heartfelt words before annihilating them with a final strike. He then passed away with an expression of great relief, as if he had finally met the person he'd longed to see. (Intel - Unit Data - Emil Clones)
  7. ^ Pod 153: Proposal: Cease combat. Fighting her at this point would be irrational and— / 9S: Pod 153! I order you to halt all logical thought and speech! This order shall remain in effect until you have confirmed the deaths of either myself or unit A2! (Route C, Chapter 17: The Tower)
  8. ^ 9S: This tower is a colossal canon built to destroy the human server. Destroy it...and rob the androids of their very foundation. That was the plan devised by those girls. But they changed their minds. [...] This tower doesn't fire artillery. It fires an ark. An ark containing memories of the foolish machine lifeforms. An ark that sends those memories to a new world. (Route C, Chapter 17: The Tower, Ending D)
  9. ^ Pod 153: Question, Pod 042. Did the data salvage restore all of their past memories? / Pod 042: Yes. / Pod 153: And are those recovered parts of the same design as previous ones? / Pod 042: Yes. / Pod 153: Then...won't that simply lead us to the same conclusion as before? / Pod 042: I cannot deny the possibility. However, the possibility of another future also exists. (Route C, Ending E)
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