At this very moment, two years after release, PlatiniumGames‘ Action-RPG, NieR Automata still manages to gain more traction online than huge AAA games that nearly passed the 10 million mark.
It shouldn’t be surprising, this is a perfect example of substance over appearance, the game sticks with its fans. People are passionate about it, to this day you still see hours long analysis videos, tons of cosplays, 2B cameos in multiple projects, mods for other games, thousands of download for its soundtrack, regular fan arts with over 50k likes on twitter or simply fans regularly praising the game at every chance they get.
NieR is something people care about, it managed to build a solid fanbase, to make a name for itself on the internet. This is truly a game of our generation because it wouldn’t have managed to prosper as it did without today’s communication tools. And this is why NieR Automata is still evolving in a way I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Usually, with big titles such as God Of War 2018, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey or Horizon Zero Dawn, you see millions hyping them up, playing and praising them simply because it’s the new big game out, it’s an event. But wait a few months and these same people are already on something else with that exact same energy. Not saying that these AAA games are completely forgotten, they do keep a loyal player base that regularly posts photo mode screenshots and edits of them but they don’t nearly get as much attention and traction as NieR Automata once the “hype factor” is gone. Where am I getting at? I’m not a fan of the “small niche game managing to defy all expectations” narrative but NieR Automata is a game that was sold as a sexy android maiden girl fighting R2D2 looking robots. And for a lot of people outside the NieR community, this game still is this and I find it absolutely amazing. In no way you’d expect this game to hit you so hard once you actually start playing it, it’s the video game equivalent of a sucker punch.
The fact that Automata performed so well when it did everything in its power to look unappealing (to masses), was almost canceled because Yoko Taro didn’t even want to wake up early (yes), was barely marketed at all and almost stealth released. All of these factors made a critically praised game that passed the 4 million mark, is considered by many as a modern-day classic and grew one of the most passionate player base on the internet that still manages to make this game feel relevant every day, to the point of reaching billionaire Elon Musk‘s attention (don’t worry I refuse to talk about this incident), it must certainly mean something. NieR is on fire now, and this fire keeps growing, the game keeps selling, it’s player base isn’t showing signs of calming down, it’s growing and Square Enix is absolutely doing nothing about this. It is clear that Square Enix initially didn’t put much faith in NieR as they barely even marketed it, which we can’t really blame them for, but the game already succeeded when multiple factors were against it and it is now one of Square’s biggest success this generation and managed to single-handedly save PlatiniumGames from going bankrupt and instead of doing something about it, they just seem to…wait, I guess ? Don’t get me wrong, I know you simply don’t make games overnight, it is something that requires time, money and energy but something could’ve easily been done within that two years drought and I’m not talking about that barely digital release on Xbox platform, I’m talking NieR Gestalt/Replicant or Drakengard remasters, or hell, ports if you need to. I wouldn’t even personally mind if they re-used Automata assets to improve on the gameplay and look a little, we’re not asking much, just something to reassure NieR fans. Because the logical thing to do as a company when you produce a hit success is to do everything in your power to surf on it.
To this day the beyond broken Steam version hasn’t been patched, not even the Game of the YoRHa re-release bothered to apply any sort of fix, you had to rely on the community, as always, with the now famous ‘FAR’ mod. Not a single word has been said about the game either since release, nothing else to look forward to, no old games for new fans to enjoy and discover where this series started, it might sound dramatic but it’s like Square doesn’t want NieR to be a success but it manages to be successful anyway. I was even shocked to see FFXIV Online, arguably Square’s biggest success this generation getting a NieR themed raid written by Yoko Taro and as expected, thousands of Automata fans jumped on the FFXIV bandwagon, including me to get ready for said raid. This is how thirsty we are for NieR content. And I know, this is something Square fans are used to, Final Fantasy fans waited 10 years for XV, Kingdom Hearts fans waited 10 years for KH3, but at least these fanbases had something to look forward to. They knew a new game was in the work, they got spin-offs and remasters in the meantime, hell I don’t even count the number of Kingdom Hearts re-releases before 3. This is where I’m essentially getting at. We need communication, we need to know that Square is aware of NieR’s impact. We need something period. I’m not trying to repeat myself but it is important to debrief all the facts here,
– Sold over 4 million copies with barely any marketing nor big fanbase prior to it.
– Saved PlatiniumGames from bankruptcy.
– Managed to build a big vocal fanbase.
– Is seen by many as a masterpiece.
– It is safe to consider 2B a video game icon at this point.
– Didn’t even need a huge budget to produce.
I think with all these factors in mind, Square should maybe pay more attention to NieR, I think it now fully deserves to be on Square’s usual rotation with Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Kingdom Hearts and now NieR.