If there’s one man who always gives a good interview quote no matter the context or question, it’s Yoko Taro, famed director of Drakengard and NieR who vaulted into mainstream recognition with 2017’s NieR:Automata. It recently made it over to Switch with the End of YoRHa Edition, and so the folks over at Nintendo Life sat down with Yoko, producer Yosuke Saito, composer Keiichi Okabe, and porter Virtuous’ Shi Qiang to discuss the game and its particulars in trademark glibness. Here’s a rundown:
- When asked why they think Automata resonated with people, Yoko Taro stated plainly that “You might not believe this everyone, but the real reason why NieR:Automata was such a big hit is… complete chance!!” Producer Saito instead credits the blend of Yoko’s world, character designer Akihiko Yoshida’s appeal, Okabe’s score, and PlatinumGames’ action mastery. Okabe also credits the balance of Yoko’s vision and Platinum’s skill… “After that, it was probably the power of my music though. (laughs).”
- Yoko originally asked Saito for a Switch port at E3 2018, over four years ago. How does he feel now that it’s happened? “I am hugely disappointed that we did not make it in time to get into Smash Bros…”
- The port came about due to a combination of 5th anniversary festivities and seeing Astral Chain on Switch and thinking it might be possible to bring Automata over as well.
- Shi Qiang goes into detail on what the team did to make the port the best it could possibly be: using an “omnidirectional feature tracking tool” to optimize the CPU, GPU, shaders, models, lighting, special effects, and other assets. They then did functionality spot checks for complex scenes like boss fights (where they put extra detail into the boss models and effects).
- When asked if Yoko Taro’s Voice of Cards might have influenced the decision to port, Saito instead suggests the reverse, hoping that fans of Automata now check out VoC.
- When asked if Automata’s success has changed his approach to games, Yoko Taro replies that it’s left him high and dry. “We had more capable staff on this one, so there was less for me to do. I mean, it feels like there is nowhere in the games industry left for me to inhabit anymore.”
- He’s also flippant about reasons to pick up the Switch version of Automata: “If there is one convenient reason why “you should play Automata on Switch because of XXX” then please could you tell it to the Square Enix marketing team? I think they would be delighted to know that. They might even buy you a beer. No, really…” Saito, on the other hand, reiterates the fusion of brilliant elements that he cited earlier as a reason to play it.
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