Nier: Automata is an action RPG developed by Platinum Games and released by Square Enix for the PlayStation 4 and for Microsoft Windows on March 7, 2017. Nier: Automata plays in the same universe as Nier, an offshoot of the Drakengard series.
Nier: Automata plays in the same post-apocalyptic setting as the original Nier after the fourth end of the game. While Drakengard’s serial tradition has been maintained, maintaining a dark atmosphere and constantly narrating the storyline, there is no direct link between Nier: Automata and the other parts of the series. The story in Nier: Automata occurs in the year 11945, ie 8480 years after the events of the first Nier . According to the developer Yoko, no knowledge of the plot from previous parts is necessary to understand the story in Nier: Automata.
The protagonist is YorHa Model B No. 2, or “2B” for short, a female android female soldier of the YorHa (also “YoRHa”) whose main characters are calm and serenity. It is accompanied by “9S” (YorHa Model S No. 9), a reconnaissance droid that shows more emotions than other units. The two are observed by “A2” (YorHa Model A No. 2), an outdated B-line prototype droid with a silent personality who often decides to act alone. Other important (secondary) characters are the “commander,” an Android under the command of the bunker; “Adam” and “Eva”, twin brothers whose motives are unknown in advance; “Pascal”, a machine that hates conflicts and desires peace; “Devola” and “Popola”, androids who help the resistance and descend from similar beings already known from Nier ; the original protagonist of Nier “Emil”, who has lost his memories of the years before; the various “operator” androids who act as foremen for YorHa; and the “pod” droids that support units of YorHa in combat and serve as a connection to the bunker. Other characters from both Nier and Drakengard 3 are also mentioned.
In the year 11,945 begins the story of Nier: Automata. Strange beings attacked the earth with an army of machines, destroying all organic life ever since. The surviving part of humanity retreats to the moon and from there organizes the resistance. On the Moon is also the base of the “YorHa” androids, which were developed to fight in a proxy war for the people against the machines. It is strictly forbidden for the androids to have real names or to have real feelings, which fundamentally differentiates them from humans.
Nier: Automata launches the history of a YorHa Androidin with the ID “2B” and its companion “9S” during the 14th Machine War. Both droids are tasked with locating and destroying a Goliath class machine. For this purpose, the search starts in a former weapons factory of the people, which is used since the takeover by the machines of these as their own factory. 9S is severely wounded during the fight with the Goliath. With the help of the reconnaissance aircraft from 9S 2B succeeds then to defeat the Goliath. More emerging Goliaths force 2B and 9S to activate self-destruction, destroying all enemy units and themselves. 9S has previously been able to upload the data from 2B to the computer in the main headquarters on the moon. Thus, a new body with the identical memories of 2B can be constructed there.
To further support, both androids will be sent back to Earth. There they meet the two humanoid android Adam and Eve. In addition, they meet Pascal, who protects a colony of non-enemy machines. In an attack with machines of the Goliath class, the Androids win the battle, the city is thereby largely destroyed and an underground cave is revealed. In this cave, 2B and 9S discover the leaders of the alien invasion; which are all dead. It turns out that Adam and Eve killed her and that her next goal was the extermination of humanity. 2B and 9S succeed in defeating the two, but they manage to escape. Then they talk to Pascal and learn that there is another kingdom of machines which live in the forest. These machines have a degree of loyalty and protect the king in their castle. They are friendly. 2B and 9S find out that this king is just a baby machine. The android A2 will appear and kill the baby. The commander on the moon tells them that A2 is a wanted droid and needs to be destroyed; without mentioning what crime he should be extinguished.
The machines ask Pascal and 2B to negotiate possible peace conditions in the old, abandoned factory. There, they learn that the machines are destroying themselves for a reason unexplained to this point. After it becomes clear that no peace negotiations are possible, the two flee. 9S, whose damage has been repaired, supports the two out of the bunker. He hacks into the machine system and learns about the origins of the war and the reasons for creating the YorHa. After 2B and Pascal escape from the factory, they meet Eva. The android has infected all machines with a virus. To assist them in combat, 9S flies to Earth with its aircraft. In order to win the fight, 9S has to hack into the system of Eve. He is hurt himself and asks 2B to end his life. 9S succeeds shortly before copying his thoughts into a nearby machine.
Completely repaired, the two androids are sent back to Earth to provide support for other YorHa androids. These are attacked by the machines using an EMP weapon to pull the androids to the side of the machines. After an attack by the machines and other YorHa androids, 2B and 9S escape, but are tracked down by the machines. They decide to load their data back into the bunker and again trigger a self-destruction. 2B and 9S want to report to the Commander with new android bodies. At the headquarters, they learn that there have been no reports of the EMP weapon and the virus. It turns out that the androids are already infected with the virus. Then the three escape and arrive at the hangar. There it turns out that the Commander is already infected with the virus. 2B and 9S are forced to escape with the aircraft, while in the background the bunker explodes. Once again on Earth, they are separated, and 2B finds that the virus has already jumped over onto their bodies. She then decides to go to a secluded place. There she meets A2, who is fighting with the machines. 2B decides to give A2 her sword, in which all memories of 2B are stored. When A2 uses the sword to destroy 2B, 9S sees it from a distance. In an earthquake, he loses his balance and falls into the forest area in front of a large, white tower, which is a kind of rocket aimed directly at the moon. while in the background the bunker explodes. Once again on Earth, they are separated, and 2B finds that the virus has already jumped over onto their bodies. She then decides to go to a secluded place. There she meets A2, who is fighting with the machines. 2B decides to give A2 her sword, in which all memories of 2B are stored. When A2 uses the sword to destroy 2B, 9S sees it from a distance. In an earthquake, he loses his balance and falls into the forest area in front of a large, white tower, which is a kind of rocket aimed directly at the moon. while in the background the bunker explodes. Once again on Earth, they are separated, and 2B finds that the virus has already jumped over onto their bodies. She then decides to go to a secluded place. There she meets A2, who is fighting with the machines. 2B decides to give A2 her sword, in which all memories of 2B are stored. When A2 uses the sword to destroy 2B, 9S sees it from a distance. In an earthquake, he loses his balance and falls into the forest area in front of a large, white tower, which is a kind of rocket aimed directly at the moon. There she meets A2, who is fighting with the machines. 2B decides to give A2 her sword, in which all memories of 2B are stored. When A2 uses the sword to destroy 2B, 9S sees it from a distance. In an earthquake, he loses his balance and falls into the forest area in front of a large, white tower, which is a kind of rocket aimed directly at the moon. There she meets A2, who is fighting with the machines. 2B decides to give A2 her sword, in which all memories of 2B are stored. When A2 uses the sword to destroy 2B, 9S sees it from a distance. In an earthquake, he loses his balance and falls into the forest area in front of a large, white tower, which is a kind of rocket aimed directly at the moon.
At the top of the tower A2 states that 2B is actually the model “2E”. Their job was to kill 9S should he learn the truth about the humans and the YorHa. A2 offers 9S their help through the memories in 2B’s sword. 9S, who is already infected with the virus, then challenges A2 to fight. The player can then choose different characters, each with different endings. At the end of C, where the player selects A2, this 9S destroys, then heals him from the virus and sacrifices himself to destroy the White Tower. At the end of D, where the player selects 9S, both androids, A2 and 9S, kill each other. In the last moments of 9S, the tower’s function changes to a kind of spaceship with information about the machines and androids on their way to another planet. The player can decide if 9S joins them or not. Both scenes, end C and D, lead to a credit card in which the player is asked whether the intact data of A2, 2B and 9S should be destroyed or not. If the player chooses to retain the data, end E will be triggered, resulting in a redesign of the androids.
Nier: Automata is a Japanese RPG in an open world game environment. The player controls the multiple characters through the action with the ability to rotate the camera in 360 degrees at any time. New playable characters are unlocked with each completed section. While the game was initially announced as an action game, the developers changed the game to the extent that it retained the original Nier role-playing elements. The focus in the game setup is on short range weapons, with some firearms elements also included. Weapon Stories, a recurrent element in Drakengard and Nier bound to the found weapons, have also been added.
The action-oriented combat system enables the player to confront enemies in real time in a variety of environments in the game. During combat, the character can use light attacks that are fast and weak, and heavy attacks that are stronger but slower. During combat, the player character can evade enemy attacks and, if a button press is timed correctly, allow the character to gain provisional invulnerability and launch a counterattack that inflicts severe damage. The character has an additional companion, called “pod,” a flying robot who performs ranged attacks that can be adjusted. When attacking, the character can alternate between weapon types as well as between attacks,
The game character can also assign up to four different weapons in two different weapon sets. Each weapon set contains two weapons, one for long range and one for melee attacks. Each of these weapons can be used to put together attacking ability skills. In addition, the chip system offers the opportunity to make further improvements to the character. Display-changing chips add more information to the player interface , such as a health indicator . So-called “plug-in chips” change the skills depending on the style of play and improve either the attack damage or the defense strength. The number of usable chips is limited by a storage system of the character.
Traders can buy different equipment for resources and money collected in the area. These are used to reinforce weapons or abilities. The equipment also includes consumables such as energy batteries. Purchased bait can be used to tame and then ride on animals remaining on the planet for a short time. In this state, opponent groups can also be fought.
After the release of Nier, both director Taro Yoko and producer Yosuke Saito wanted to make a sequel. After the positive fan critique of the original Nier, both Square Enix and the team that had been working on the original game were ready to continue the Nier game series. In addition, the team also wanted to create a better, more action-oriented gameplay experience. As a result, they contacted Platinum Games, which has a reputation for high-quality action role-playing games such as Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising: Revengance . Originally the game should be for mobile platforms or the Playstation Vitabut it was decided early on to develop the game for the Playstation 4.
Production for the game started in 2014, including six months pre-production. The production team consisted of many developers of the original Nier. Yoko had written the script of the game. The team described the main theme of the game as “agaku,” a Japanese word meaning to fight out of a bad situation. When writing the story, Yoko hesitated about adding Devola and Popola to the script because of their roles in the original game, but eventually decided to include them as well. During production, the development team used both fan and critic feedback from Nier. Based on this feedback, they improved various aspects of the game, from character design to graphic design. Building on this, the team focused on the core aspects of action and music.
According to Negishi and programmer Ryo Onishi, developing a game in the same way as its predecessor was a major issue, which required a shift away from the style of their previous titles. For the combat system, the team took over the system from the first Nier part and connected it with elements from other titles from Platinum Games. The main concept of Taura was that the combat system surpasses the original and incorporates it into the story. A special feature during the development was the low concentration of enemy units in the game, as the nature of the game requires it, so Negishi. This was part of their efforts to fulfill Yoko’s creative vision: By incorporating fewer enemies, the team gives players the opportunity to “enjoy” the silent beauty of the devastated world of the game.
Compared to the original Nier, which was delivered in two versions with a modified main character for Western markets, the team for Nier: Automata showed the same main character in all versions, focusing on creating a high-quality Japanese role-playing game rather than adapting to his West issue. The concept-art of enemy units was designed by Hisayoshi Kijima, while the environment was designed by Kazuma Koda, Yasuyuki Kaji and Shohei Kameoka: the environment design was developed together with Yoko. The design team wanted to create places that players would visit in the real world as well. Another challenge came from designing the characters, who, despite their mechanical nature, should look as vibrant as possible.
Composer Keiichi Okabe, who had worked on both Nier and Drakengard 3 , was composing with his studio band Monaca alongside his colleague Keigo Hoashi for creating the music. The tracks were influenced by classical music and contained elements from the previous Nier, which provided for the certain degree of melancholy. The musical ambience has been changed to that of the previously created in the first part of Nier scenery on pastures and villages was deviated to a soundscape with mechanical and more brutal themes. Another factor was the open world environment: Instead of a single, meandering track, Okabe has created multiple hard and soft tracks that have shifted into each other depending on the situation and environment. Emi Evans was, as in the first part, engaged in singing. In addition, Shotaro Seo provided his male voice. Nicole and Nami Nakagawa joined Evans to contribute a three-part choir, which is used in a boss fight, among other things.
The overall sound design was developed by Masato Shindo, who faced a new challenge: in their previous projects, sound echoes had been created through individual, team-created settings, which would not work properly in an open world due to the size. Instead, Shindo has created a realistic soundscape in which he designed a system to define echoes in real time, which determines how much of a reverberation in the current environment must arise.
A concert in Tokyo, called ” NieR Music Concert & Talk Live “, was held on April 16, 2016 with various pieces of music by Nier and Nier: Automata at Ex Theater Roppongi. An official soundtrack album was announced for March 28, 2017.
Nier: Automata was first announced at the Square Enix press conference at E3 2015. At that time, the game was just 10% complete. The official title, along with a gameplay trailer and the date of release, was revealed at the “Paris Game Week 2015”. Initially, the publication in November 2016 was planned, but Square Enix delayed this because there have been concerns about the commercial success, as other prominent titles should also be published at this time. It was decided that a Q4 or Q1 release from Nier: Automatahave more chances for commercial success. The delay has given the developers extra time to improve the quality and gameplay balance. Nier: Automata was published on March 7, 2017 the Playstation 4 in Europe and North America. Later, a publication for the PC on the platform Steam was announced.
A limited Black Box Collector’s Edition includes the game, a character of 2B, a special edition of Nier: Automata -Konzerts, an art book, a download code for a specific item and a special prequel – amendment . In addition to the standard version, there is a day-one issue in Europe and North America, which reflects on the cover of the artwork by Yoshida. In addition to the game, the Day One edition includes a figure of 2B, an artbook and a soundtrack with 13 tracks.