NieR: Automata has been one of 2017’s surprise hits and the game’s eccentric director, Yoko Taro, has been consistently been at the center of conversation surrounding it. In a recent interview with Game Informer, Yoko Taro opened up a bit more about his reaction to the success of NieR: Automata as well as discussing his partnership with PlatinumGames moving forward.
To start, Yoko Taro spoke about how NieR: Automata came into reality after Cavia, the team that developed the original NieR, disbanded.
After we released Drakengard 3, I think everyone was well sick of all the games I made by then, and I really didn’t really want to work anymore. I was thinking I’d probably just go and hide in the mountains and live out the rest of my life as a hermit or something. It just so happens at that time Mr. Yosuke Saito, [who] was obviously a bit tired after his work on Dragon Quest and was not thinking straight, decided to give me another chance with something like NieR. That’s how you saw a new NieR; I’m still not sure how that happened.
Yoko Taro went on to talk about Automata’s success considering the seven year gap between it and its predecessor.
Certainly from my perspective and from the fan’s perspective, I think everyone thought NieR was a very dead IP at that point, so I was very surprised when they started talking about doing another one. I [thought] it would be very interesting when I heard that Platinum would be developing another one. I didn’t think it’d be a hit, though; I [thought] probably it’d be a very niche game. But no, there was certainly potential there. Looking back on it, I think the kind of games that Platinum makes are very much for those action-game maniacs, and it’s a very closed-off area, but it seemed like an excellent fit with the kind of really geeky worlds that Square Enix makes. I think overall, they became a great combination together.
PlatinumGames’ co-founder Hideki Kamiya commented a few months back about how NieR: Automata essentially “saved” Platinum and Yoko Taro gave his humble thoughts to what he thought about those comments by saying the following:
What I think of Platinum [is that] they are a very talented, very unique kind of studio in their own way. […] There’s a lot of really passionate, really skilled young staff directors. And obviously, they go off the line, they give their opinion about what they want to do and how they view games to the top, and then it’s those guys at the top who manage that. It’s a great company.
The other part of your question there about Mr. Kamiya’s announcement that NieR: Automata saved Platinum, I think in part, that’s just him being nice to us and talking us up. I think we’ve got a lot to thank them for as well — certainly all the young development staff I talked about. It really was a great opportunity for them to show what they’ve got and it brought them up two or three levels higher. And as a whole, I think that’s something [the whole NieR team], myself included, really have to thank them for. I think they did a really brilliant job on that.
In regards to whether or not he’d like to continue working with PlatinumGames in the future, Yoko Taro expressed interest despite nothing currently being in the works.
It’s not that we’ve got anything lined up immediately, but certainly. I discussed a lot with the young staff on the Platinum team and it would be really great to work with them again in the future. I spoke with our producer at Square Enix, Mr. [Yosuke] Saito as well about doing that in the future. Of course, the other thing is that if Square Enix provides the money, I’ll always make anything they ask for.
Yoko Taro goes on to talk more in the interview about his passion for drinking along with getting a bit philosophical by giving his thoughts on the purpose of life, a theme that is prevalent within NieR: Automata. While some only know of Yoko Taro because of the odd moon mask that he wears, his thoughts are much deeper and interesting that one one might expect.
For a more opinionated look at NieR: Automata, be sure to check out our review from earlier this year.