Some Characters Returning in the New NieR Game, Three Playable Protagonists, and More

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We’ve learned a bit more about that exciting new project set within the NieR universe, which got announced yesterday morning.

First up, it’s the newest details from this week’s Famitsu (via Hachima Kikou), in which game director Taro Yoko revealed that while the setting is connected, the story isn’t necessarily connected. The game is set in the future, so you won’t need to play the previous game to enjoy it.

Yoko-san confirmed that this entirely new NieR game isn’t quite a sequel, so fans picking it up expecting that might be confused. However, he did confirm that characters from the first game will appear in the new game, although only in cameos. The “weapon story” system from Drakengard is in the game.

Bringing Platinum Games on board makes sense, as weapon-focused combat is going to be at the core of the game. There may be shooting portions reminiscent of the first game, as well. There’s some kind of rotating element, but it’s been switched up from the previous game.

Finally, we’ve learned there will be three playable characters in the game, via an interview with producer Yosuke Saito and GameSpot. Two of the characters have been seen already, the white-haired girl prominently featured in the trailer and the concept art, and the boy seen briefly atop a building’s roof.

“For this new NieR, we kept an action RPG mindset and thought, this time we want to hit out a great, high-level JRPG, so we’re going to stick to one character design,” producer Yosuke Saito said.

“Platinum is great at creating action games, and we’ve asked them to make things a little more simplified, slightly. At first I thought it was going to be a battle-heavy action game, but luckily for us, a lot of Platinum Games’ staff members really respect NieR and took it to heart, and understand the project.

“We’re really fortunate in that they essentially took the battle system and the game design of the original NieR and added Platinum Games-type elements on top of it to make this hybrid if you will. It’s not like it’s a completely new game, they really have respect for the previous game.”

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Both Taro and Saito reiterated (as they have above) that the focus is on creating an original story within the game world, and it won’t follow the same narrative of the original. While the original NieR had five different endings – with one that deleted your save file by your choosing, this may not happen again.

“We are going to maintain that multiple playthrough idea for the new project, but in terms of the save file deletion thing, we probably won’t do it, since we did it in the original one and want to do new things,” Taro said. “But we will have multiple playthroughs involved. But you know… we’re still in early phases of development. Maybe we will delete you save files.”

Fans that enjoyed the haphazard mashup of genres in the original NieR will probably be disappointed to hear the new game won’t have that same mashup. The game will, however, feature the same mature, dark approach to both dialogue and themes, including both sexual themes and violence.

Drakengard was my first game as director, and we were actually told a lot by our advisory board to do retakes and make changes and honestly, I said, screw this, I’m not making another one,” Taro said. “I thought, with NieR, I’m going to make a normal game. That’s what I tried to make, a normal game, though people think it’s very dark and somber. But for me, that’s normal.

“The way I look at original NieR is like your mom’s home cooking: it may not be the best, but it’s okay, you’re comfortable with it. Members of the media told me the original NieR is like a puppy someone threw out. It’s cute in a way, but there’s something wrong in a sense, and you can’t help but love it even though there’s something missing and you can’t put your finger on it.

“But now we’re working with Platinum Games, and with [Akihiko] Yoshida and [Keiichi] Okabe, and we feel we have these great ingredients now. Is it going to be too perfect? We have all these great chefs, if you will, working together, and now, is it going to be missing that thing that made it so endearing to our fans? But after thinking about it, we think, we’re just going to try it and see how it goes.”

A release date is still unconfirmed, but we now know the game will be coming in only one version, as the original had a Japan-only release with a younger protagonist that had a sister, while the western version had an older, father-figure protagonist that had a daughter.

Development on the new NieR game is 10% complete, and more details will be coming some time this fall.

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