NieR: Automata managed to impress the gaming world last year, and a large part of that was due to its emotional narrative. Gaming journalist Julie Muncy had the chance to interview director Yoko Taro at GDC 2018, and she asked the director about the game’s ending. Specifically, she wondered why it was more hopeful than previous games he had directed. It turns out that there’s a good reason why.
Here’s how Muncy recapped Taro’s answer:
Taro said that when he started making games, he thought that characters like Caim who do all this killing don’t deserve happy endings. It wouldn’t be appropriate. But with 2B and 9S, he thought, they’ve been stuck in this cycle of killing and dying and being reborn for so long that they had been punished enough. He said they deserved to be forgiven, to be cleansed of their sins.
The amount of emotions that NieR‘s story was able to get out of me is particularly impressive when you consider that the entire cast is comprised of androids and robots. It’s strange to type this, but all of the characters are truly humanized by the time the game’s fifth main ending is seen (there’s 22 in total — although the majority are gag endings that are easily missed). It’s hard to speak about a lot of what this title does really well without spoiling it, but Automata fully embraces that it’s a video game. There are certain gameplay moments (including the incredible end credits) that are absolutely mind-blowing, and this isn’t because of a story twist, but rather due to how the game manages to connect players into the overall experience.
NieR: Automata isn’t without problems, but it’s also a truly groundbreaking game. It won’t push a single genre forward, but it has the potential to change the entire medium. It takes advantage of player interactivity in ways that I’ve never seen before in order to create an incredibly memorable experience that’s a joy from beginning to end. Anyone who’s interested in what gaming can do that books and movies cannot needs to experience Yoko Taro and PlatinumGames’ masterpiece.
NieR: Automata is available now for PlayStation 4 and PC.