Nier: Automata first launched more than five years ago, and as of October 2022, it has finally made the jump to Nintendo Switch. To mark the occasion, GameSpot had the chance to ask key members of the development team–writer-director Yoko Taro, producer Yosuke Saito, and composer Keiiche Okabe–about Nier: Automata’s creation and the lasting impact the game has had.
I’ve made no secret that I’m an enormous Nier: Automata fan, and it continues to hold a special place in my heart as not just my favorite video game of all time, but also the game that most justifies its existence as a game rather than some other form of media. The interactivity and sudden genre shifts in Nier: Automata (and its predecessor) are its defining characteristic. I’m not sure what it means that I’ve also read the novelization and am eagerly anticipating the anime adaptation, but you can chalk it up to a mostly healthy obsession.
Below, you’ll find the full Q&A session I had with Taro, Saito, and Okabe. Their responses were translated by a Square Enix representative from Japanese to English.
Nier: Automata is available on PS4, PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. A retooled and remastered version of its predecessor, Nier Replicant, was released for PS4, Xbox One, and PC in 2021.
GameSpot: One thing I’ve seen some people say after playing Nier: Automata is that they felt “depressed.” However, I felt the complete opposite, and actually wrote a piece on how its optimism can feel like overcoming depression despite feeling hopeless. Was this intentional? Your work, especially with character arcs, is often very dark and macabre, but rarely for no reason.
Even now, from time to time, I still receive DMs along the lines of “my depression was cured,” but this was not intentional at all. “Then, why do I receive such DMs?” I wondered, and I think that’s because NieR is a game much like a mirror that reflects the player.
Nier does not depict “justice as intended by the crea tor,” but instead is structured so that it poses the question to the player. Light and dark, life and death–these dualities may have served as a catalyst to push the boundaries of freedom of thought.
I tried my best to incorporate intelligent-sounding words here. Do you think I succeeded in presenting myself as a smart creator?
Did you know from the beginning that you wanted this to be a Nier game? It functions largely as a standalone game, despite taking place after the original Nier and sharing a few characters.
The games that I create are typically an extension of the real-life world. So, from that perspective, it’s only natural that the history may be shared.
At the same time, I do need to make it so that players who start on later installments, that have not played the previous titles, can still understand the story. This doesn’t necessarily mean adding a brief synopsis of the previous title at the beginning, but instead leads to designing something that would more naturally let the player experience a completely different story.
The original Nier wasn’t exactly a best-seller. Despite this, years after the game was released, Square Enix greenlit a big sequel. What was that conversation like? Was the company on board from the beginning?
I threatened to leave the company if I couldn’t develop Nier: Automata and pushed through internal approvals that way, honestly. They thought it would only sell 300,000 units globally…
PlatinumGames played a big role in making Automata a success. How important is that partnership, and how big a role does stylish, weighty combat play in the series going forward?
I wanted to find the best developers to create an action-RPG, and so I went to seek PlatinumGames’ help. Among them, Takahisa Taura’s team was exceptional, and so I do believe our partnership with them is quite important for the future of our series.
There is a certain quality to your work that makes it instantly recognizable. I realized I was listening to your work right away when I first saw the Voice of Cards trailer, for instance. What do you think is your most “signature” element? The background vocals?
Perhaps vocal songs may be recognizable since the vocalists I like and choose have their own defining characteristics.
The melody, chord progression, the way sounds in the backing tracks are layered, etc., may not necessarily stand out individually, but I think the way these subtle characteristics are layered or combined makes them recognizable to listeners
What was the process like for creating the “End of Yorha” version of Weight of the World? Was this a collaborative decision with Yoko Taro to include the roaring group of voices as you move further into the credits?
Fundamentally speaking, Yoko Taro’s requests are at the forefront, and with that in place, I feel it is my role to shape the image of the specific sounds that go in, making suggestions like “how about taking it in this direction?”
Web Source: GameSpot – Game News