NieR: Automata Interview: Producer and Composer Talk Platforms, Music and More, Tease Future Reveals

on August 24, 2016 5:03 AM

At Gamescom 2016 in Cologne, Germany, DualShockers had the pleasure to interview NieR: Automata Producer Yosuke Saito and Composer Keiichi Okabe about the upcoming game, that will be released for PS4 and PC in early 2017.

The two developers talked about a variety of topics, including the game’s campaign and quests, platforms, music, and more. Saito-san also teased at least one other settlement that will be shown in the future, and over ten androids that will be revealed with a trailer at Tokyo Game Show.

You can read the full interview below.

Giuseppe Nelva: The soundtrack has always been very important in NieR, and in fact you even held a concert a few months ago in Tokyo: what kind of inspiration and philosophy you you had while composing the music for NieR: Automata?

Keiichi Okabe: When I was working on the previous title, the difference that I felt with other projects was that NieR uses a lot of vocals in its tracks, and I placed importance on the emotions that that conveys.

In most games, when you compose the tracks, you compose them for a place, or a moment, or a scene, but for NieR I composed for each character and their emotions at any given moment. A character may feel sad during a battle, and usually a battle sequence would have fierce music, but for NieR, if the character feels sad, I made sure to have that kind of feeling in that fierceness.

I think that kind of method that I used in composing the music created that unique, distinctive NieR atmosphere and that world that I think it’s very NieR-like.

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G: You just announced a PC release for NieR: Automata. Was it always planned, or it’s a recent decision?

Yosuke Saito: We were considering the Steam release from the start of the project. We did announce it at a later date, but we had it in mind from the starts. PlatinumGames will be developing that as well, so you don’t have to worry about the quality of the game.

G: What kind of enhancements we can expect for the PC version compared to the console version.

YS: Right now we’re thinking of trying not to have any differences between the two versions. Although of course we’ll have different options and things like the name cards for instance, that are very unique to Steam, but other than that we aren’t planning any other differences at this moment.

G: Okabe-sensei, if you had to describe a theme for each of the three androids that have been announced so far, what would they be like?

KO: In the previous title we did have theme songs for each character, but currently for this game we don’t have a track per character. Instead, I did create music per scene or per emotion, that can be used for any character at any moment. However if Director Yoko-san feels that a certain song fits a certain character more than others, then it might end up becoming a theme song for that character.

We always come up with the title of each song at the very end, so it might end up like that.

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G: When this game was announced, it was basically one of my favorite directors, with one of my favorite developers, with my favorite character designer, and one of my favorite composers, and I was like “wow!” So I wonder, how did the idea of this “dream collaboration” come to be?

YS: As you may know already, the previous title was not what you’d call a “huge success,” but it does have a big cult following. When we thought about creating a new title for the franchise, I thought that it needs to become a greater success. To do that, I wanted to have my favorite composer, my favorite director, my favorite artist and my favorite designer, so I asked everyone to join and to create a success that I think is necessary for this franchise. I’m very glad that you feel the same way.

G: Do you have an idea of how long will it take to complete the game?

YS: We have been asked this before during other interviews at Gamescom, and I have been telling everyone that it would be 25 hours, because that’s just how I felt. But when I told that to my Japanese staff yesterday night, they were like “no, it’ll probably take a lot longer than that.”

G: Will there be a lot of side quests? Will they be optional, if people just want to do the main story?

YS: You won’t need to do the side quests to reach the ending, but as with the previous title we’ll have multiple endings, so if you really want to find out the truth of the game, then you’ll probably have to do the side quests.

We do have shorter side quests that are stand-alone: you just go and find an item, or fetch one for a NPC, but then we have other side quests that are a story in itself, and will have multiple chapters, conveying a longer story.

G: Are there more villages or settlements on top of the resistance village we saw?

YS: We haven’t been able to announce it yet, but there is. We will be revealing more about it in the future.

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G: Since you announced the PC version, is there any plan to extend the game to Xbox as well, or maybe to Nintendo’s NX, since you have worked with them quite extensively.

YS: Right now we don’t have any plans to do so, however if NieR: Automata becomes accepted worldwide, we might. So the possibility is not zero.

G: Are there other Androids in the game besides the three that have been announced so far?

YS: In this world there are many androids, and many mechanical lifeforms as well, but we will be revealing more than ten of them in a trailer that we plan to release at Tokyo Game Show. Please look forward to that.

G: The character design of 2B is very peculiar and different. What was the initial concept like? Was there any particular request for the character designer?

YS: Yoko-san first requested her to wear black, because it matches the story. He also gave specifics about her silhouette, and I requested her to be easy to cosplay. Yoshida-san took those requests in, and created the character. It was a nice marriage between all those requests and ideas.

G: Do you expect many to cosplay as her at Tokyo Game Show?

YS: I’m not sure about TGS, but I would be happy if there were many and she proved popular.

G: How many copies does the game need to sell to convince you to sneak on Yoko Taro and take his mask off?

YS: He’ll probably take off his mask if you make him drink. He’s always drinking Coke through a straw while wearing his mask, but if we change it with Tequila, then he might actually take it off.

G: Would you mind rewording that in the form of a bet?

YS: (Laughs)

 /  Executive News Editor
Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.
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