The Final Secrets of NieR: Automata, Explained by Yoko Taro
On February 23rd, Square Enix held a special 5th anniversary stream for NieR: Automata, featuring a talk, show, musical quiz, several games with the audience as well as some big announcements from Yoko Taro, explaining why the game has a cheat code. Disclaimer: This will contain spoilers for the True Ending of NieR: Automata.
The first part of the stream, available on YouTube, was divided into several segments, most notably with a retrospective at the beginning, and an announcements segment at the end.
The second part of the anniversary stream was only available to those with a Niconico premium account, where Yoko Taro made a surprising reveal. The stream’s uptime was 3 hours and 32 minutes in total.
The first portion of the stream was a retrospective of all the CDs, stage plays, books and story-related merchandise released since NieR: Automata first launched on February 23, 2017. This was followed by a music quiz with the NieR: Automata OST. Viewers on Nico Nico Douga could give their answers via the site’s built-in poll feature. Lastly, the announcements, in which NieR: Automata would host a collab event with PUBG New State Mobile and Babylon’s Fall, as well as the announcement trailer of an anime dedicated to the title.
The second part of the stream, which was limited to those with a Niconico premium account, had another talk show and Q&A. A few more built-in Niconico games were included for both the staff and fans to play, games such as Rock-Paper-Scissors and Red Light/Green Light, which was called “Squid Game” several times by Yoko Taro.
Towards the end of the Stream, Takahisa Taura booted NieR: Automata and played the prologue, at one point, Yaura did the cheat code which was discovered by LanceMcDonald in January 2021. Taura did the code without even pausing the game, no less. The code senses you to the end of Ending E, right before you’re asked if you wish to delete your save data and send it to save another player.
Yosuke Saito thought it was the perfect moment to explain why they included this cheat code in NieR: Automata, so he asked Yoko Taro to explain what happened. A translation of the staff’s discussion can be found below:
Yoko Taro: “You can only clear the shoot ’em up section of the ending thanks to other players’ data, right? We realized in the final stages of development that the first person to reach the True Ending wouldn’t have anyone helping them. And no one would ever be able to finish the game.”
Yosuke Saito: “Yeah, since there would be no player data on the servers in the first place (laughs).”
Takahisa Taura: “We only realized that right at the end of the game’s development (laughs).”
Yoko Taro: “And we could only upload data by using the commercial version of the game. Because the development build version doesn’t connect to Sony’s servers. Taura and the other developers were discussing adding the dummy data we used during development to the final game.”
Takahisa Taura: “But Yoko Taro said that’s ******** and would completely ruin the ending.”
Yoko Taro: “Yeah, it wouldn’t be the same if it’s a not a real person saving you, so we didn’t include that dummy data in the final game.”
The first data was uploaded by PlatinumGames’ staff using the cheat code
Yosuke Saito: “So the very first person who got the True Ending was actually saved by data that PlatinumGames’ staff uploaded with that code. We might have used a cheat to get it there, but it’s still real people’s data.”
Takahisa Taura: “Right at midnight on release date, we all frantically started the game, played the prologue, entered the code, and uploaded our data (laughs).”
Yoko Taro: “Because those who got the game before release date couldn’t finish the True Ending either. So we had to save them. It was my first time seeing so many members of a development team gather together on a game’s release night.”
Yosuke Saito: “And there was a live stream planned the night after, for the game’s release. So things were pretty hectic. It definitely was a NieR-like situation.”
Yoko Taro: “It’s one of my best memories ever. But yeah that’s why we added that cheat code. Instead of revealing all this in an interview like normal developers, we ended up sharing this in a Niconico premium stream (laughs). “