Yoko Taro is the director behind the Drakengard and Nier franchises. He’s an extreme eccentric who only makes public appearance’s wearing a mask of one of his characters, Emil. The man is one of the most well-known developers in the business because of his loud personality. Taro’s games are action based, story-heavy games that really don’t pull any punches with the dark overtones. His games tend to have incredibly dark themes and characters that are deeply flawed. In fact, it’s a well-known fact that on multiple occasions Taro would have his team design a character based on a description of their personality. Then once the visual design was completed, Taro would use said design for a character with a complete opposite personality than what he described. All this is to say that Yoko Taro is a unique and immensely creative developer and thankfully the rest of the world has finally taken notice. Nier Automata was a financial savior of a game for both Yoko Taro and for Platinum Games. The game featured the unique storytelling of Taro, with the high intensity action of a Platinum game, honestly it was a match made in heaven. Regardless, the plot of this new title somehow involves androids, aliens, magic, sentient machines, and even an amusement park. It’s honestly just as much of an experience as it is a game. I can’t think of many other games I’d recommend more than Automata. But if you don’t believe me, here’s 25 Awesome Things Hidden in Nier: Automata That Show How Crazy It Is.
WARNING: This Article Includes HEAVY spoilers for the Drakengard, Nier, and Nier Automata games.
24 Nier Has 26 Endings — This Is The Weirdest
Nier games are meant to be replayed. The original Nier had 4 endings and Nier Automata decided to grab the full alphabet with 26 unique endings! Even if a lot of them are text-based, Yoko Taro really does things differently.
One such ending is Ending K, in which the protagonist and certified android 2B can’t suppress her curiosity/hunger any longer.
When given a live fish by an in game NPC if the player chooses to ingest the fish we're shown a black screen and the curtains are quickly drawn on 2B’s story. Then there's a text crawl describing just how delicious the fish is, and it was worth it. Turns out fish oil isn’t so great for machines.
23 Jean-Paul Created The Opera Boss
So one of the main locations at about the halfway point of Nier: Automata is Pascal’s village. It’s the village where the player usually starts to questions their actions in their fight against the robots. A village full of peaceful, completely individual machines who have disconnected themselves from the network/hive mind of the other machines.
One of the character's in the village is Jean-Paul, a top hat sporting robo who spends all his processing power philosophizing.
A side quest in the game features many of the “female” robot’s writing him love letters that he ignores and thanks to some sluethy fans we can actually find out that the Opera Boss from the amusement park who was driven to insanity, was pursuing Jean Paul.
22 Robot Inception Arena
Nier: Automata fans were lucky enough to also receive a bit of DLC not long after the game's launch, titled C3C1D119440927. Among other things, it adds three different Coliseums into the game. One of these coliseums is hidden in the Forest Kingdom and is a bit different from the others. In this one, players face a variety of enemies not as 2B or 9S.
Rather the player picks from a catalogue of enemy robot's and takes control of them to fight.
The extra work needed to make each enemy variant playable is nothing short of awe inspiring on Platinum Game's part. My personal favorite is the standard robot enemy who can only swing his arms in hopes that others run into them, Simpson's style.
21 Drifting Into Action With A Moose Or Boar
One of the most publicized details from the original Nier was its high speed boar drifting. If you completed a specific early game side quest in the prequel title, you could ride the boar in certain areas of the game. And because this game reuses a lot of area's and assets, you'll be running back and forth a lot. So obviously speeding up that back and forth was pretty convenient.
But, this boar apparently went to driving school because it doesn't control like a normal boar, instead it runs at Mach speed and drifts like it's in Fast and the Furious.
Turns out the Boar makes a return in Automata, although not quite as spectacularly. But now we can also ride a Moose! Woohoo!
20 Shin Godzilla Bossfight
So after an entire year, fan’s thought they had found every secret to be found in Nier Automata. They had combed every building and exhausted every dialogue.
But then Yoko Taro said in an interview that there was one last secret he couldn't believe hadn't been found yet.
Now I'm not 100% sure if it's ever been found, but in my research, one of the thing's players thought it could be, was the hidden boss fight with Godzilla. There's a hidden fight with a mechanized dinosaur in the game that is an obviously homage to Japan's goliath anti-hero. In the path to ending C we fight the creature and thanks to it's fire breath, we can tell it's a direct homage to 2016's Shin-Godzilla.
19 Pay To Win PSN Trophies
So Nier: Automata not only has controversial topics in its dialogue, costumes, and choices, but it also has controversial mechanics!
There's a secret shop in Automata where players can actually spend in game currency to unlock the Trophies on PS4.
Yoko Taro himself has stated that he's not a big fan of the whole "achievement" system introduced with the Xbox 360. And they made sure to also keep the feature in the Xbox One release, Become as God's Edition. Now, this shop isn't accessible until after you clear ending A, so at the very least, players obsessed with their Gamerscore don't have the option to rent Automata, buy all the achievements and return it immediately. Guess you'll just have to play the game, how awful.
18 Merchant From Resident Evil 4 An Android?!
One of the most recognizable characters from the Resident Evil Franchises, is a merchant. Of course, most people know Claire, Leon, Barry, and Chris. But fans of the franchise also fondly remember the merchant from Resident Evil 4. Mostly because we never get the full story on him and because of his weird way of speaking.
The phrase "Whaddya buyin" has become iconic in the video game industry and Yoko Taro agrees.
In the Forest Kingdom Colosseum, there's an NPC Merchant you can interact with that utters the RE Merchants prodigal phrase. When asked why they speak like that, the NPC says that they learned it from a fellow Merchant. This little secret doesn't do much for you gameplay wise, but it is totally awesome.
17 Automata And Drakengard Share A Language
So here we have our last little Drakengard secret. In both Nier and Drakengard, there is a variety of different "magic’s". In Nier, it’s most likely not magic but rather highly advanced technology.
But in Drakengard characters cast spells and create magic circles. In those circles we can make out specific characters of an unknown language.
And in the promotional material for Nier: Automata fans could see the abilities in-game shared those same letters. So it's confirmed Nier and Drakengard used the same ancient language, and super fans have now even decoded it! Most of the words are variations of the letters A C T and G. These are the letters of the nucleotide bases in DNA, which has some odd implications for Automata.
16 Timeline Hopping Drakengard Character Cameo
Alright, there's a lot of lore here, so long story short, Drakengard 3 takes place in a semi-medieval setting.
But somehow, near the end of the game, an android named Accord pops into the plot in order to check the “validity of the timeline”.
Players were obviously immensely confused by this and couldn’t have had more questions. But rest assured, none were answered and Drakengard 3 ends. Years later, Nier Automata comes out, a game full of androids! Fans of Taro couldn’t be quicker to ask “Where’s Accord”? Turns out she’s not physically IN the game, but there are mentions of her in a couple of locations. She's a weapons merchant now, and apparently, it's a booming business. Not what I expected, but alright.
15 Popola And Devola Got A Remaster
Before Nier: Automata there was the original Nier on the PS3. It was a title ultimately about a disease and the option of preserving humanity through the separation of body and soul.
Watching over the success of the project were a pair android of twins, Popola and Devola.
They served as the primary NPC’s and Nier and after a surprising twist ultimately ended up opposing our protags. Now, they’re back thousands of years later in Automata, and they’ve gotten a bit of an upgrade. Now, this is an obvious reference for any Taro fan, but for players starting with Nier Automata, this is an easily missable homage. But boy am I glad to have my favorite twins around again!
14 Bossfight With Alien Fighting Body Doubles
Before any of the events of Nier: Automata, Emil, as just a floating head, had to fight off aliens and machines bent on destroying Earth.
One benefit of Emil’s immortal body is that he cloned himself infinitely, in a variety of sizes to fight back.
But now, hundreds of years later, 2B and 9S can find Emil in-game and help him on a series of side quests. At the end of these tasks, Emil asks you to help him put his clones to rest, and you solemnly agree. What follows is one of the hardest and most heart wrenching boss fights in the game against goliath Emil clones. It's no easy fight, especially when you have to fight through the tears as well.
13 Emil's Got A Sweet New Ride
In the epilogue of the original Nier we can see Emil is still trucking, but he's lost his body. Again thousands of years later Emil return's in Automata, still just a floating head, powerful beyond compare.
After helping him out, you can actually find Emil putt-putt’ing around the destroyed city.
Emil somehow, again only just a head, managed to figure out how to drive, and he's a real speed demon! Not only that, Emil also apparently decided to try his hand at being a merchant and actually sells you the highest quality goods in the game. Of course, this was just an excuse for Yoko Taro to include a secret shop, but I’ll take any excuse to get more Emil in my life.
12 Hidden Lunar Tear Field
Again, this little hidden thing is another homage to the original Nier. In Nier, the quest that starts off the events of the story is rescuing Nier's daughter Yonah in her pursuit of a legendary flower, the Lunar Tear.
Legends say this flower can grant any wish and Yonah hoped to use her wish to cure her disease so her dad Nier would be at ease.
The Lunar tear makes an appearance everywhere in Yoko Taro's works even in the Drakengard games. And in Nier Automata as a reward for finishing part of Emi's questline players are able to access a hidden Lunar Tear field. It's a beautiful area and the emotional implications had true fans teary eyed.
11 Flashlight's Are Stress Inducing
Anyone who has played Devil May Cry or Bayonetta will be right at home with Automata. Players have exceedingly tight control of characters and the ability to do amazing combos. But one mechanic that isn't explained to players is taunting.
Taunting a machine in-game will cause them to get enraged, turn bright red and attack more frequently.
While enraged machines do more damage, but they take more damage as well. We thought taunting wasn't unlocked until later, but apparently not. The pod that players use to fire projectiles in the game also has a flashlight function, and if players flicker the flashlight in an enemy's face, they become enraged. Turns out robots have a real hatred for flashing lights, who knew?
10 Machine Named "Beepy" Gave Robot's Sentience
Get ready for some lore. In the Original Nier, there was a machine boss called P-33 who later we found was actually fighting to escape thanks to the wishes of his friend who named him “Beepy”.
After somehow surviving fighting our protagonist Beepy escaped from the Junk Heap, gained sentience and combined itself with other machines around him.
This new hive mind machine then launched into space. As it left Earth it saw the war between the machines and androids and decided to gift the machines with intelligence. So the actual mass network all the machines are connected to in Nier Automata is thanks to a minor boss in the original Nier. Yoko Taro is insane, but obviously love’s the Greek legend Prometheus.
9 Even The Long Jump Look's Amazing
Here we have another mechanical aspect of the game players kind of have to stumble upon or figure out. Most players figured out pretty early that if you hold the jump button while falling 2B would hold onto her pod and slowly glide down to Earth.
But, that same gentle pod actually can be used to long jump.
If a player again, while holding down jump, also taps the input for firing projectiles, they actually spin around the pod to build momentum and FLING themselves forward. It’s only applicable in a few instances to get into areas earlier or access hidden items but it’s amazing the amount of hidden mechanical features Platinum games included in Automata. Small details like this are crucial.
8 The Stage Play Has Huge Canonical Implications
Across all of the Drakengard and Nier games, there have been a variety of canonical stories told through different mediums. There have been Drakengard manga, Nier books/novellas, and now even Nier: Automata has had multiple stage plays!
These stage plays are only taking place in Japan, but thanks to one Mr.Clemps on YouTube (He's absolutely hilarious, but also definitely PG-13), we finally are able to understand how these plays add to Nier: Automata.
And honestly, it’s absurd how important they are, in fact, the background motivations between 9S and 2B are actually only made clear THANKS to the stage play. I think summarized versions are in "intel" in game. But if you really want to understand everything about Nier, Mr. Clemps analyses are the go-to.
7 There's a Literal Self Destruct Button
All of the androids in Automata are white haired models sporting very elegant black clothing. This is also accompanied by a black eye cover that would blind a normal human. It's a very fresh and interesting aesthetic. But, 2B also has a very prominent...behind, that can be seen in most of her animations, and got Automata some bad press originally.
This is made worse by the self-destruct feature in the game.
Once enabled in the options, 2B literally explodes and is left at critical health. She's also left...without pants. In any case, it's just another example of Taro being an eccentric and taking us all along for the ride. But, 9S can also self-destruct into his boxers as well, so at least its gender neutral.
6 You Can Uninstall Windows
One of the most unique features in Automata is its Plug in Chip System.
This is essentially the main way a player augments their stats and abilities.
To match the machine aesthetic, players can equip chips such as "Attack Damage" or "Drop Rate”. But just like a machine, there's only so much memory, and players have to micromanage their upgrades. The real interesting part is that HUD features also take up space. A player could remove their mini map, in exchange for a damage increase. Or, if you were to remove your OS chip, well, then that’s it. The credits role and you're taken back to the main menu. It's actually one of the 26 endings, and an amazing way to mess with the players.
5 Noctis Dropped His Weapon
Final Fantasy 15 apparently wants to get its hands into as many pies as possible. We already have Noctis in Tekken, A crossover with Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed franchise, and now Noctis' engine blade is in Nier Automata?
It's a crazy world we live in and apparently, thousands of years into the distant future, 2B finds the engine sword Noctis left behind.
It's a very cool little homage on Taro's part because they went the extra mile to include the same sort of animations as in FF15 as well as the changing the effect of 2B's dodge to the blue phasing effect Noctis has in game. Now if only 2B could road trip with the crew in FF15, my life would be complete.
4 A Familiar Library Returns
Oh look at what we have here, another Original Nier reference, what a surprise.
Yes that’s right, fans of the original title will recognize the image above as an all-white version the library in Nier.
In the original adventure most of your downtime takes place in a sweet little town managed by the twins Popola and Devola, Devola is constantly out by the fountain demo'ing some of the critically acclaimed soundtrack. While Popola spends the majority of her time managing things from inside the town library. The location is where you'll get most of your mainline quests, fight the Shadowlord for the first time, cry as you turn Kainé to stone, and get your mind blown as its lower exit leads to the futuristic abandoned city.
3 Fight Platinum & Square's CEO's
Another aspect of the C3C1D119440927 DLC is that it included some extra boss fights.
At the end of the all the Colosseum trials, you are able to go back to the Flooded City arena and choose to fight both the CEO of Platinum Games and Square Enix.
It's also worth noting that in order to start said fight, you have to talk to a specific NPC in the arena, and confirm 3 times that yes, and you want to fight you-know-who. After confirming, you are also told this fight can ruin the immersion of the game, in which you HAVE to respond "immersion schmmersion" in order to begin. Try to be at least level 85, these fights are by far the hardest in the game.
2 Antagonist Connected To Cult From Drakengard
It's up for debate who the true "antagonists" of Nier: Automata are. But we do know that after Adam and Eve enter the scene, they oppose our characters every step of the way. But, the designs for Adam and Eve were actually released well before the game came out.
And a few lore hyper-nerds noticed that the tattoo's Eve sports when angered share a striking resemblance with another Taro game.
In the Drakengard series, the penultimate big bads are called "The Watchers" and are literal interdimensional beings. Well, humans that worship these "Gods" are called the "Cult of the Watchers" and Eve's ink shares their symbol. Personally, I believe this is just Yoko Taro petting his own ego, but fans can't ignore the lore implications.
1 Unlockable Emil Projectile's
The cosmetics in Automata range from changing the color of your hair, to donning the outfits of characters from the original Nier, to even changing enemy projectiles.
There's honestly a lot more cosmetics that one would expect in a game like this.
You can see in the CEO DLC that the projectiles they shoot are hilariously tiny versions of their faces and this secret isn't much different. To get this item you have to beat the Rank S trial in the Flooded City arena, but once you do you can access the Emil Projectiles! Yes that's right, with this equipped, all the enemies in the game now fire little Emil heads instead of the normal projectiles. Fans really just can't get enough of Emil.