Nier: Automata‘s eccentric game director Yoko Taro discussed his plans to keep working with developer PlatinumGames in a recent and wide-ranging interview with Game Informer. Taro started off by discussing how he wound up making NieR: Automata after his prior studio Cavia folded in the wake of Drakengrad 3. And despite being there for every step of the production, Taro seems as baffled by the existence of NieR: Automata as we were when the game was first announced.
As he tells GI, “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.”
Nevertheless, in hindsight he was capable of recognizing just where NieR: Automata went right. “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.”
And indeed they did.
As for the future, Taro seemed enthusiastic about working with PlatinumGames as well as publisher Square Enix. He waxed pretty poetic about both, and it is always good to hear that the studios and publishers who make such oddball, but somehow universally loved games are staffed by good people.
What I think of Platinum [is that] they are a very talented, very unique kind of studio in their own way. People looking at Platinum from the outside often get the image that it’s just Mr. Kamiya and a number of the top-level veterans [running] everything in a very top-down way. If you look inside the company, it really isn’t like that at all. 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. It’s quite a rare thing to see something managed [as a] kind of bottom-up 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.
And while he didn’t mention any specific plans with PlatinumGames in the future, I think we can all be fairly certain that we’ll be seeing another game from Platinum and Yoko Taro in the near future.