When Square Enix unveiled a new Nier game at its E3 press conference it didn't have too many details to share. Here's what we knew at the time: Square Enix is collaborating with Platinum Games to create the new Nier, and a few well-known Japanese game designers, character designers and musicians are on board to develop the sequel.
Here's what we know now about the mysterious action role-playing game.
The new Nier is not titled Nier 2. Square Enix was cagey about the actual name of the game, but the game's producer says there are reasons for that.
"The problem is there's a word in the subtitle that plays a vital role, and would give away some of the game's [concept]," Square Enix's Yosuke Saito said in a translated interview with Polygon at E3. Saito said they'll announce the game's title this fall.
Platinum Games is bringing its brand of action game expertise to the new Nier, but with a respect for the original game's combat — and with a certain audience in mind.
"Platinum Games' titles, they're very action-oriented and fast-paced," Saito said. "A lot of people have this preconception that they're hard to get into. We had many female fans of the first Nier, and we wanted to make an action game, but something that our female fans would really enjoy."
"I think they are great at creating action games and we sort of asked them to make something a little more simplified, slightly," game director Yoko Taro said. "At first I thought it was going to be a big battle-action heavy game, but a lot of their staff really respect Nier ... and understand the project. They essentially took the original combat system and added some Platinum Games-type elements on top of it to make this hybrid.
"But it's not like a completely new system, they really have respect for the previous game."
The new Nier will feature three playable characters. Two are seen in the game's teaser trailer, the woman who appears at the end of the video and a young boy overlooking a desolated city.
Don't expect the new Nier to be direct continuation of the original, Taro said. It's a continuation of the game world, and although some characters from Nier will appear in the sequel, it's just fan service, he said. Expect new characters to inhabit the same universe.
Saito said that the team won't take the approach it took with the original Nier, when it created a version of the main character designed to appeal to Japanese players and a different version of the main character designed for Western players. The era of attempting to appeal to western and Japanese tastes in that way has passed, Saito said.
"My personal opinion is that I don't think a lot Square Enix fans really make that distinction anyway," Taro added.
The new Nier has been in development for about a year, including a six-month pre-production period, Saito said. The developer hopes to show more of the game in action this fall, but maybe not until after Tokyo Game Show.
Although the original Nier enjoyed only modest sales, a point raised by Taro multiple times during our interview, it became something of a cult hit. For the sequel, the developer tapped some well-known creators to garner more attention. Joining Taro and Saito are character designer Akihiko Yoshida (Tactics Ogre, Bravely Default), game designer Takahisa Taura (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance) and composer Keiichi Okabe (Nier, Tekken).
"The way I look at original Nier, it's like your mom's home cooking. It may not be great, but it's OK. You're comfortable with it," Taro said. In a less appetizing metaphor, he likened Nier to a puppy someone threw away. It's flawed, but people still love it.
"But now we're working with Platinum Games, and Yoshida and Okabe, and we feel we have these great ingredients now. Is it going to be too perfect? We have all these great chefs working together. Is it going to be missing that thing that made it so endearing to our fans? We think we're just going to try it and see how it goes."