So, when you get the chance to ask a few questions of Yoko Taro regarding NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…, there are certain expectations one has once the email returns. The man’s general demeanour – dubbed “Taro-poi”, as helpfully suggested by Wan, or je na sais quoi, for the less weeby – is nothing short of, well, legendary, to fans and onlookers alike.
As mentioned, these questions were focused on NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…and the relative NieR universe, with responses directly from our dear masked overlord delivered in the totally industry standard way. You know what to expect, so let’s get into it.
ON NIER REPLICANT VER.1.22474487139…
GamerBraves: Considering its popularity, a lot of people came to NieR Replicant ver.1.22 only after playing Automata. By comparison, Replicant’s opening is a lot less flashy and slower-paced. Do you worry that some players might have been bored considering the protagonist isn’t a pretty girl robot?
Yoko Taro: The question is quite long, and I’m not sure if I fully understand, but if what your questions is asking is “Do you want to be popular with girls?”, then the answer is “Yes”.
GB: With the exception of Automata and its joke endings, every NieR and even Drakengard game has 5 main endings—is there a specific reason why 5 is a constant number of endings in the series?
YT: There is no particular intention. To add a note, the first Replicant game has 4 endings. The 5th ending, what was added in the official guide book at the time of the original version’s release, has been added in the game for NieR Replicant ver.1.22.
GB: Both NieR titles have been universally praised for their music. How much did the development of the games’ music affect your work in creating the world and story?
YT: Music is very important, but it rarely influences the world or the story of the game during development. The composer, Okabe-san, is late in submitting his pieces, so if we wait for the music to arrive, the game release may be delayed.
GB: Despite reworking the combat in ver.1.22, NieR Replicant’s combat is still much less fluid than Automata‘s, thanks to the fact weapon switching is locked behind menus. Was there a reason for not making the combat too fast?
YT: The idea came from Ito-san, the Director of the game from Toylogic, so you can interview him about it. There’s a very deep reason for it. Probably.
GB: One thing that always makes me curious about NieR is how the whole franchise started based on one of the endings of Drakengard. What makes you decide to go with this idea as your next original series? Is it possible to see another new universe that you created based on NieR as well?
YT: The connection between the ending of Drakengard and NieR is just a mischievous joke. Whether or not a new universe will appear is up to Square Enix, so please contact Producer Saito.
ON WRITING FOR NIER
GB: The NieR series is known for being very melancholic, with a certain flavor of sadness that feels unique to the series. Could you talk a bit about writing characters that players connect to and feel empathy for?
YT: In order to create relatable characters that players can empathize to, we have copied the essence from many famous titles.
GB: Are there any cross-cultural experiences that helped inspire you for either of the NieR games?
YT: I am influenced by the very people in the real world, who are engaged in absurd, nonsensical disputes.
GB: Despite their reputation for being bleak and sad, the NieR games are ultimately hopeful in their message. Could you talk about keeping things ultimately optimistic when things are bad?
YT: What is perceived at the end of NieR is different for everyone. Some people may feel hope, some people may feel despair. I’m happy to have such a variety of answers.
ON FUTURE CONTENT FOR NIER REPLICANT
GB: Papa Nier was chosen to be the protagonist in the original NieR Gestalt, will it be possible to see more of him in the future, other than just as DLC for Replicant?
YT: I’m not sure, but I suppose if Saito.P from Square Enix won 10 billion yen in the lottery, there would be something.
GB: Replicant had a huge 1,300 year timeskip at the start after playing as the original NieR. Will fans ever get to experience the events prior to him becoming Shadowlord, either as DLC or even a new game?
YT: If you are a fan who feel that way, I’d love for you to join and Square Enix and create the game. Or rather, it would be a great help to me if you did…
GB: How likely will we ever see a Drakengard remake?
YT: How likely(/how much)… maybe about 3cm?GB: I think people really appreciate your more candid approach to interviews, do you know if it’s inspired any other game directors to change their interview approaches?
YT: I don’t know… Anyway so, goodbye!
And so ends the time afforded to us. We’re not sure how much more enlightened we are about NieR even with direct quotes from Yoko Taro, so perhaps you can decide which ones to add to your conspiracy theories board.