Nier:Automata‘s uniqueness really set it apart even in a month which featured other critically acclaimed heavyweights like Horizon Zero Dawn and Persona 5. The franchise sequel pulled in fans and the curious alike.
Its success and overwhelmingly positive reception is well deserved, and to celebrate the game’s first anniversary, we’ve compiled a list of little known facts that might surprise you about the NieR:Automata’s universe. You might even have played through the game and missed some of them. Enjoy!
1. Nier’s universe actually started in another game
In fact, before the original Nier came out, the very last ending of PlayStation 2’s Drakengard was believed to be a joke ending, due to how utterly bizarre it was. In this segment, the game’s main protagonist and its final boss are both teleported from their own fantasy world to modern-day Tokyo for a famously intricate boss fight.
It was quite a surprise to find out that these events gave birth to the post-apocalyptic world of Nier and Nier:Automata, as Drakengard’s dimension-travelling protagonists brought to our world a fatal disease that threatened mankind’s extinction. You can read more about the unique lore in our lore guide.
2. The original game had two versions – Nier:Gestalt and Nier:Replicant
Another oddity about the first Nier was the fact it had two versions of its main protagonist when it was released in Japan. In the original PS3 release in Japan, Nier is Yonah’s brother and he is doing his best to help cure his sister’s illness. The game was titled Nier:Replicant.
When they discussed releasing the game in the west, the Western marketing team believed that the story of a wiser and older father figure would resonate better outside of Japan. Even though it was additional work for the development team, they stuck to creating two versions of the game and released Nier:Gestalt with a fully redesigned Nier that was now Yonah’s father.
3. You can get the Iron Pipe from the original Nier’s prologue
Even though Nier:Automata story is self-contained, a lot of little details and lore bits connect the game to the first Nier.
One of the most obvious Easter eggs is the appearance of the Iron Pipe weapon – the very first weapon that you get in Nier’s prologue – which you can collect when fishing in the waters of Nier:Automata’s world. Was it there all this time?
4. A lot of the characters you meet are named after philosophers
2B or not 2B? Nier:Automata’s main theme dives heavily into existentialism, so it is no surprise to find that there are a lot of references to philosophy scattered throughout the game.
Keep an eye on NPCs in particular, as you will find they’re often named after philosophy figures. World-famous names like Blaise Pascal, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and many others make an appearance…
5. You can buy Trophies with in-game currency
Once you’ve reached a certain point in the game, a secret shop will appear in the main hub and propose you “spend money to get certain things done”.
You guessed it, for in-game currency you can now unlock any of the game’s Trophies. No need to sweat this particular Trophy you’ve been trying to unlock, just spend a few thousand G and you can get it right now! Will you be as proud of yourself for getting that Platinum, though? That’s another story.
6. You can change the voices to sound like the Shades of the first Nier
In the first Nier, the enemies you go against are called the Shades and their speech is unintelligible and the sound very particular. As you go through Nier:Automata’s second route, you’ll unlock a voice changer that affect the ranges of 2B, 9S and A2.
The slider is in Settings > Other and will adjust how robotic your android protagonists voice will sound. Get the slider up to max and it’s going to be full modem! On the other hand, turning it all the way down will make 2B and 9S emit weird grunts just like the Shades from the first game.
7. The Death Rattle chip will have enemies emit death cries if defeated by hacking
Another voice changer is available in game, but this one for enemies. Equip the Death Rattle chip and hacking machines will make them emit weird noises when they’re defeated! It takes a slot and does nothing else but it’s quite worth it!
8. You can battle the CEOs of PlatinumGames Inc. and Square Enix in the DLC
Nier:Automata has its share of epic fights, but the one against the CEOs of PlatinumGames Inc. and Square Enix is just… something else. We’re not going to spoil you on the fight but let’s just say the music, visuals and attack patterns take the series signature ‘crazy-factor’ and crank it to the max!
9. You can fight a mecha-Godzilla (well, kind of)
This one easter egg was missed by a lot of players due to appearing only under certain circumstances, but gather the right conditions and this impressive mini-boss will be waiting for you in the forest.
The T-Rex machine looks just like Godzilla but it’s when its body starts shooting purple lasers, you’ll see the obvious visual reference to Hideaki Anno’s 2016 movie Shin Godzilla.