With the release of Nier Automata on Xbox now we can all enjoy the soul crushing brilliance that is Yoko Taro’s mind.
Nier Automata is my pick for game of the year in 2017. Beyond that it is my list for top 10 games of all time, so though I might be rather biased recommending it this game deserves your time.
After all, what we received in the end is so far from the original concept, which creator Yoko Taro likens to a farming simulator for the PlayStation Vita and mobile devices, that by all accounts this game should not exist let alone be a rousing success. In addition to this, the developer Platinum games hadn’t had a truly excellent release for a while and this game was their last hope for revitalising the company. Especially since it was their first game released after the unanticipated cancellation of Scalebound. Yoko Taro himself had never had massive success in the video game industry. His previous titles, the Drakengard Series and Nier, were cult classics. Beloved for their bizarre storylines and characters but loathed for their clunky repetitive gameplay. Had this game not been the hit it was, it is extremely likely that both developer and creator would not have been given another chance. This game needed to be, at the very least, passable.
Nier Automata was making headlines long before its release however, thanks to the controversial (now known to be photoshopped) image of protagonist 2b that made its way around the web. Yoko responded to the buzz online with requests for more pictures of a similar vein, proving himself to be one of the more light-hearted and eclectic creators out there. Thankfully despite all this, the game was released to positive reviews from most and has spawned hundreds on video essays analysing the surprisingly philosophical nature of the game and the melancholy it inspires in its players. It is the perfect meld of action, philosophy, and just pure heart-warming chaos and that should automatically qualify it for a place on your ‘to play’ list. The soundtrack alone is remarkable, and even if you feel the game isn’t your cup of tea I urge you to listen to it on YouTube. Along with Persona 5 it is one of the best original soundtracks of 2017. As of June 2018, Nier Automata has sold over 3 million copies and since it has only just been released for Xbox we can expect that figure to continue to rise.
On a personal note, I hope this game does so remarkably well that it launches Yoko Taro into the mainstream consciousness the way auteur Hideo Kojima has been. Perhaps if we are very lucky we will see a collaboration between these two sometime in the future, a meld of two mad Japanese geniuses, I can only imagine how bizarre their joint game would be. Death Standing meets Nier Automata is a crossover we all deserve to witness.
These are creators who deserve our time and whose stories that stay with you so give them a chance and indulge in the madness that is Nier Automata.