appeared on stage in 2017, NieR: Automata It was a breakthrough moment for Yoko Taro. Although the director earned disgrace for this work Drakengard series – including the original NieR On PS3 and Xbox 360 – and his unusual interviewsAutomata is the game that really put him and his team on the main map.
Five years later, the game arrived in Switch form NieR:Automata YoRHa Edition End, an absolutely outstanding port of a true modern classic. But why not now, one, two, three years ago? Why is 2022 the time for Switch owners to switch to Automata, and what technical wizardry did Virtuos’ dream team Square Enix and PlatinumGames have to pull to make it work on Switch?
To celebrate the success of NieR:Automata, we spoke with Taro, along with producer Yosuke Saito, composer Keiichi Okabe, and Shi Qiang of Virtuos, lamenting the absence of 2B. Super Smash Bros., and find out what makes this game so popular. It turns out that even the team doesn’t really know…
Nintendo Life: It’s been over five years since NieR:Automata was first released. Why do you think the game has resonated so much over the years?
YOKO Taro, director and screenwriter: You may not all believe it, but the real reason why NieR:Automata was such a huge hit is… sheer luck!
Yosuke Saito, producer: It could be Mr. YOKO’s intriguing mysterious world, Yoshida Akihiko’s charismatic characters 2B and 9S, Mr. Okabe’s eccentric melodies, or the majestic action game feel of the masters at Platinum Games.
The real reason why NieR:Automata was such a huge hit is… sheer luck!
But I think the biggest reason was probably how Automata mixed all these different elements to create value.
Keiichi Okabe, composer: I think it’s probably what Mr. YOKO envisioned and PlatinumGames’ ability to execute and balance them that came together so well.
After that, it was probably the power of my music. (laughs)
Taro-san, you asked Saito-san For the Switch port at E3 2018 during NieR:Automata. How do you feel now that after four years it finally came to fruition?
OR: So disappointed that we didn’t make it in time to get into Smash Bros…
This marks the debut of the series on a Nintendo console, what made you finally make the switch to the Switch?
Saito: It came from wanting to do something for the 5th anniversary and seeing Astral Chain and thinking we could bring Automata to the Nintendo Switch as well. I think we’ve managed to finish the game with some pretty impressive levels of fidelity, so I’d love to see everyone play it!
Virtuos has a pretty strong track record with Switch ports, how did you find working with them to bring the game to the console?
it seems to me that there is no place left in the gaming industry to live anymore
Saito: I think they are a great company and have taken on a variety of challenging tasks on our behalf, so I would love to work with them again if we get the chance!
Given Automata’s fast-paced action-RPG combat, was it difficult to keep all of the different visual elements on screen for the Switch port?
Shi Qiang, CTO of Virtuos studio: Indeed, it was quite difficult in some places. That’s why we were preparing very seriously.
The team started by quickly identifying where all the hot spots were and then developed a versatile feature tracking tool for optimization. We have done general optimization on CPU, GPU and shaders for engine and code. We also performed a thorough optimization on the art, including all models, lighting, special effects, seals, and assets.
After the overall optimization process was completed, we performed functionality testing on complex scenes. For example, in boss fight scenes, we’ve made further optimizations on the level of detail of boss models, textures, and lighting, including extensive VFX rework to accommodate the Switch’s technical capabilities.
After bringing Voice of Cards to the Switch, did the success of that series influence your decision to bring the game to console?
Saito: Personally, I’d be happy to see it the other way around, with Switch players playing Automata and experiencing the world of YOKO Tarot through it, then going on to play Sound of Cards!
Has the success of NieR:Automata changed the way you approach game development?
OR: We had more skilled staff on this job, so I had less work to do. I mean, there’s no place for me to live in the gaming industry.
If there’s a good reason why you should play Automata on Switch because of XXX, could you please tell the Square Enix marketing team?
For those new to Automata, why should they choose the Switch version of the game?
OR: If there’s a good reason why you should play Automata on Switch because of XXX, could you please tell the Square Enix marketing team? I think they will be happy to know that. They can even buy you a beer. No, really…
Saito: I will answer this as a player, not as a producer. The incredibly engaging characters and worlds created by YOKO Taro, the beautiful music of Okabe Keiichi and the outstanding character design of Yoshida Akihiko, as well as developed by PlatinumGames, one of the best fighting game developers in the world. the game?
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Thanks to Yoko Taro, Yosuke Sait, Keiichi Okabe, and Shi Qiang for taking the time to talk to us about NieR:Automata The End of YoRHa Edition. You can buy the game right now on Switch.