Eccentric mask-wearing Nier director Yoko Taro may have put the final nail in the coffin for developer Cavia as Nier sales were too poor to keep the company at bay, but that didn't stop Taro from somehow getting a bigger budget sequel greenlit through Square Enix with PlatinumGames (Bayonetta, Vanquish) on developing duties. Amazingly, this offbeat sequel to a game few played was so successful that it saved the acclaimed action game studio.
Why Square Enix revived a cult classic, and what to expect from the sequel.
13th February 2017
22nd September 2016
23rd June 2016
29th October 2015
23rd April 2010
22nd April 2010
15th April 2010
26th March 2010
9th March 2010
25th January 2010
1st June 2009
[Note: This piece contains many spoilers for Nier: Automata's structure and mechanics, though plot spoilers are kept to a minimum. There are still some though, so if you're already a Nier convert and know you're going to play Automata beyond the credits, you may want to avert your eyes.]
Nier: Automata director Yoko Taro has released a bananas video encouraging people to pre-order Platinum Games' upcoming sci-fi adventure.
29 minutes of new Nier: Automata gameplay have been revealed ahead of its 7th March release date.
As shown by PlayStation Underground, we can get a better sense of the scope of Nier: Automata's overworld, not immediately obvious from the linear dungeon demo on PSN. There are towns, shops, platforming, exploration and fishing, just as one would expect from playing the original Nier.
One new mechanic in Nier: Automata takes a page from Dark Souls in which players can retrieve the gear of their past self, should they make it to the spot where they last fell. Since you play as an android, dying merely transfers your memory and data into another body. Find your previously fallen vessel and you can retrieve it for a bonus. Or you can try to repair it. Successfully doing so means it can help you in battle, but an unsuccessful repair will corrupt it, making your previous body turn hostile towards you. Defeat your former self and gain a bonus.
Platinum Games' Nier spin-off Nier: Automata received some new gameplay videos via a TGS stream over the weekend.
As you can see below, the developer shows off how this sequel will retain the original Nier's penchant for camera gymnastics transforming the typical third-person hack-and-slash combat into side-on or top-down arcade affairs.
It also looks about a dozen times faster than the original Nier with your character constantly blasting a string of bullets into wayward robots while otherwise dashing and slicing the mechanical monstrosities.
NieR: Automata, Platinum Games' sequel to Cavia's cult classic action-RPG Nier, will be coming to Steam along with PS4 upon its release early next year, Square Enix has announced.
UPDATE 23/06/2015 2.30am: We have unearthed an additional 15 minutes of gameplay footage from NieR: Automata.
Captured on a stream by YouTuber Arnots HD Gaming, series director Taro Yoko walks us through a little of how the combat and game design works. It's confirmed that players can only control one character at a time, though there will be certain sections of the game where you take control of other characters. It depends on what's going on with the story.
Furthermore, we're told that nearly every enemy will have the same spherical head resembling Emil's iconic grinning skull. However, their head won't always be above their shoulders. In one case demonstrated toward the end of this video, an enemy robot has a head tucked away in their crotch. (Look around the 10:06 mark.)
It was, in its own way, the biggest surprise of this year's E3. In a year when we got the announcements of Shenmue 3, the remake of Final Fantasy 7 and the return of The Last Guardian, that's not bad going. No-one outside of Square Enix could have predicted that, five years after the original's middling reception played a part in the closure of developer Cavia, Nier was to get a sequel.
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. Nier was always great at wrong footing people.
"The first game, it wasn't necessarily a massive success," admits Square Enix producer Yosuke Saito, a member of the original team who's returning for the sequel. "But we really did want to make a sequel right from the start, we'd always have liked to have done that. Unless we could get together a team and it makes sense business wise anyway then we really couldn't do it anyway."
A lot of classics follow the same story: a brilliant artist creates a piece of work, critics don't think much of it, it's a commercial failure, then, many years later, it takes on a cult following. This was the case with Moby Dick. It was the case with Blade Runner. It was the case with Abbey Road. But we don't see this so often in games. If something comes out and gets mediocre reviews then sells poorly, it all but disappears and is relegated to clearance bins, destined to quickly fade from memory. Nier is an exception.
Square Enix's bats**** insane 2010 fantasy RPG Nier is getting a sequel (or prequel, or spin-off) co-developed by Platinum Games (Bayonetta, Vanquish).
Nier downloadable add-on The World of Recycled Vessel will be released today on Xbox 360 and tomorrow on PS3.
Wii game Monster Hunter Tri has debuted fifth in the UK all-formats chart.
One of the ongoing stories of this current console generation is Japanese publishers attempting to tailor their games to the ever-expanding western market in search of the sales needed to stay profitable. In Japan, Nier comes in two varieties: the PS3's Replicant features a more youthful, slimline avatar, while the Xbox 360's Gestalt is identical to the single and suffix-free western version. This time, it seems we're looking at a rare case of role-reversal, with the pre-existing older protagonist deemed to be an inappropriate match for eastern tastes.
The game's intro gives a clue to what Square Enix thinks English-speaking players like, as a female character yells a charming request: "Pull your head out of your goddamn ass and start f**king helping us." Throw in a grizzled, gruffly-voiced hero with a physique chiselled from the same rock as Conan, the buckets of blood spilled with every slice of his sword, and couple that with the combat-heavy early trailers, and you could be forgiven for expecting a Japanese take on God of War or a more focus-tested Bayonetta. And you couldn't be further from the truth.
Nier opens in a frozen, post-apocalyptic world, as an unnamed, grey-haired dad picks up a piece of debris to fend off the bizarre creatures threatening his daughter Yonah. It plays like an ultra-simplistic hack and slash, with seemingly endless waves of foes coming into being as our hero levels up every few swipes, unleashing powerful magic attacks alongside regular melee blows.
There's something slightly incongruous about Nier.
Square Enix has announced a worldwide Nier release date of 23rd April, for both PS3 and Xbox 360.
Cavia and Square Enix's action adventure.
Square Enix's North American arm yesterday said it had slated Nier for a spring release. It's not confirmed if this also applies to Europe; we've contacted Square Enix to find out.
Square Enix may have grand plans for action game Nier, judging by evidence of a sequel or companion game.
Square Enix has unveiled action adventure game Nier for PS3 and Xbox 360.
Bullet Witch developer Cavia will do the honours and hopes to launch sometime next year, according to the Nier website.
Nier is also the name of the "unyielding" protagonist, who sets out to find a cure for his daughter. She's infected with the Black Scrawl lurgy, which has claimed most of the world, leaving once-proud cities in decay and ruin.