PS4's Nier Sequel Being Developed Almost Entirely by Bayonetta Studio Platinum
Designer talks about how and why he came up with the idea for a new Nier.
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When it was first announced at E3, the PS4 sequel to Nier sounded as if it was a project being co-developed by both Square Enix and Platinum Games. In fact, the game is essentially an in-house Platinum project that's being directed by Taro Yoko, the Square Enix staffer who also directed the original.
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"Yes, the development is mostly taking place here at Platinum [in Osaka], and in our Tokyo office," designer Yasuhisa Taura tells GameSpot. "But we are of course getting help from Square Enix, and the composer for the original game is back to make new music. Also, the character design is being done by Akihiko Yoshida who works on CyDesignation, so we are borrowing people from other companies. But the majority of development is being done here."
In a previous interview about the in-development game, Yoko remarked, "Platinum Games is a great company, so as far as I'm concerned, my job is sort of done as well."
Taura is the one who originally conceived the concept of a Nier sequel, which is an idea he had before Square Enix approached Platinum about the possibility of working on a game together.
"I was thinking of creating something new and I'm a really big fan of the original Nier," he says. "I was creating a video game proposal that was something along the lines of a sequel to Nier. Right around the time I was doing this, Square Enix actually came to us to ask if we wanted to do something with them, some kind of project. They didn't mention Nier specifically, but they said they wanted to do something with us. So we said, 'Okay, we have an idea for a Nier sequel, so let's do that.' And that's how it happened."
The original Nier is something of a cult classic despite not having received the warmest of critical receptions. It was developed by Cavia, the now-defunct studio also responsible for Drakengard, of which Nier was a spinoff. Considering the criticism and the fact that it was another developer's game, it seems like a curious idea for Taura to have had.
Asked why he wanted to make a sequel to Nier, Taura explains, "One of the big reasons is, I love action RPGs in general, and the first Nier game had such a wonderful blend of serious story with some really wacky parody elements of other video games. It's that juxtaposition of seriousness and wackiness, it's something that I really liked about that game. Above all else, the music and the script are what caught my attention the most."
When his seemingly unlikely game idea was given the green light, Taura says he was "very happy, but more than that I felt a lot of pressure. There's a pretty hardcore following here in Japan that really liked the original title, so there's going to be a lot of people with high expectations of our sequel."
Taura's history is with action games, which he says he is leveraging to "make a combat system that is more fun than the original game's and that also blends into the story." We also know it's still going to be weird.
Nier was not just an action game, but also a role-playing game, something that is presenting Taura with new challenges. "This is the first time I've gotten to work on an RPG, so it brings a lot of interesting new elements with it," he says. "I've had a lot of fun playing around with that kind of system design."