Drakengard Series Director Has Seen Better Days

By Sato . January 5, 2014 . 5:00pm

Drakengard 3 was recently released in Japan, and according to sales, it has done reasonably decently; however, that doesn’t usually lead to a rock star life for most developers. Recently, Nier and Drakengard series director Yoko Taro spoke to 4Gamer about his thoughts going into 2014.


“I’d like to say thank you very much for the year 2013 to everyone,” says Yoko. “Living can be pretty tough. By the time this comment is published, I believe that Drakengard 3 will have been safely released.”


Continues Yoko, “Next year, I’ll be going back to unemployment, so I don’t have anything as far as a next title goes, but as I sit here and mope, I hope everyone has a great and fun 2014. That is all.”


Recently, Yoko also stated over Twitter that he hopes to develop Drakengard 4, but doesn’t have enough funding for development.

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  • Warren

    He will be back…he always comes back.

    • Ric Vazquez

      Amen brother

  • deadMastershiro

    I hope he finds the funds to make Drakengard 4. Also hope Yoko Taro finds a job to make life a little easier.

    • NTaiyokun

      This man deserves a kickstarter. He wouldn’t seem like the type of guy to abuse it.

      • Ladius

        Apparently, he isn’t confident he could organize a team and carefully assess his budget, which is an understandble attitude considering he never was a producer to begin with and is mainly concerned with the creative side of games.

  • Rayhan PromisedGallery

    Drakengard!!!!….. 4

    • Rayhan PromisedGallery

      Drakengard!!!…. anime!!!!

      • AnimusVox

        Wait…are these legit?!

        • Rayhan PromisedGallery

          nah, just a (fake) concept included in the 10th anniversary book.

          as expected from cavia guys

          • YuanMori

            One of my favorite ones is the [Angelegna] ‘dating sim’ they joked about in the DoD2 art book. Also the concept of a humanized Angel taking care of Caim.

            I wish the creators had the budget to make all the crazy spinoffs they want, but I’m just super grateful we’re getting DoD3 at all. I never expected it to happen and yet sometime this year I will be playing it.

      • Brimfyre

        If anything needs an anime adaption in Drakengard I and II. The games are pretty much unplayable by today’s standards, but the story still needs to be told and experienced by as many people as possible.

    • Scipio

      Damn, Zero has seen better days.

  • SirRichard

    I hope everyone goes well for him and that he’s back in work soon, it’s a crying shame that he’s being let go. Surely it can’t hurt Square all that much to let him knock out a Drakengard 4?

    Actually, going by their response to Tomb Raider’s sales, it probably can.

    • H_Floyd

      Well, he’s not being “let go”. He’s a freelance designer and does not work for Square (nor has he ever been a Square employee). So, technically, whenever a freelancer isn’t currently contracted to work on a game, s/he is “unemployed”.

      And I’m not sure why fans are worried. We’ll get a Drakengard 4 alright… …for iOS. ;.;

  • negineBIT

    Drakengard 3 is in my top 5 game wish-list this year.

    I hope you guys’ are too (๑•́ ₃ •̀๑)

    • tarbis

      It’s one of my must buy game. Too bad Nier Replicant is such a rare game. I regretted not getting that the first time I saw it.

    • MrTyrant

      It is on my top list actually.

    • Duo Maxwell

      Now if only SE just give me a retail version without having to visit their store…

      Worst case scenario, I would buy the digital one.

    • Ric Vazquez

      I agree, Drakengard 3, Bravely Default, FFX X-2 HD, FFXV and MGS Ground Zeroes are my top 5 for now.

    • pixxxelz

      I’ve preordered mine already ;) as a matter of a fact I did it the first day it was announced.

  • Kaitsu

    Well, I’ll definitely support him and enjoy this game when it comes out here.

  • lunier

    Well…that’s a pretty depressing thing to say…

    • But it came across so… comedic, I’m sorry, I kinda chuckled.

      I know, I’m evil.

    • almostautumn

      My thoughts too. This guy fits the “moody artist” type right down to the center.

      But oh well. Shame his art is one that requires multi-million financing and not just paper and a pen/color pencils. Nothing to be done about that though.

  • I pray that everything goes well for him, and he finds work soon. Drakengard 3 is a priority buy for me this year. Really looking forward to playing it. So if anything I want him to know that I support him 100% =^_^=


    I hope Taro gets a new job and namco or Segatlus.
    Fate! Please don’t make this guy go under compile hearts

    • Rayhan PromisedGallery

      i want to see Hyperdimension Neptunia made by him. Those “goddesses” will meet terrible fate lol


        as If CH would give him power to do this type of writing in HDN game. specially by seeing how otaku can get angry when the next installment is not like the previous one.

    • Leon_Tekashi

      Okay, I think that was a bit uncalled for. Also, CH can make good games, they just have a habit of being lazy sometimes. Taro deserves to be part of ANY company in my opinion. I’m sure he’ll make some magic whichever he joins.

    • Ladius

      Idea Factory and CH have actually provided lots of developers with a stable position to improve themselves without fearing unemployment after every game, and considering they’re picking up talented developers for their partnership Yoko could be a nice fit. It isn’t like Cavia or Access Games were stellar developer, it was his narrative style that made the Drakengard series and Nier what they are known for.

  • DesmaX

    Poor fella. Hope he can get a job somewhere, gotta put food on the table

  • Romancer Ecclesia

    It’s people like these who I can relate to, that really have my respect. They put 110% into their passions and work. Even though the risk of unemployment looms ahead, they still WANT to make games. Most of us would rather choose a conventional life with more financial security. I know I did =/

    • TheBlackRabbit

      if you dont mind me asking but why did you do that? You don’t sound too happy that you did….

      • Romancer Ecclesia

        Asian family upbringing. =/

        • Rolling Guy

          I feel you.

  • Lazulis

    This makes me want to get Drakengard 3 on day 1 even more now. Support the dude any way I can…

    Hope he gets picked up by another company. The stories he could do for Atlus…

    • AnimusVox

      I like the way you think *u*

  • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

    I hope that guy finds the company to appreciate him for the impressive creativity he has. It’s almost heart breaking to see somebody with his mind suffer unemployment. All my best wishes to him~.

  • AnimusVox

    Sounds like he needs a hug or two :(

  • Rob L.

    Sega? Hello? Hire this guy, put him with the ATLUS guys & gals, produce magic.

    • Ferrick

      sega? really? are you high ? Especially considering that sega has been giving the cold shoulder to ALOT of it’s IP especially in the west nowadays

      • Rob L.

        1) No, I’m not high, but I wish I was. Unfortunately there’s a huge blizzard in the midwest right now preventing me from getting any heroin. Sucks.

        2) When Sega bought the Index Corp stuff, they told ATLUS that they could have full access to any of their back catalog of IPs. Think of the possibilities here, crossover games, brand new entries in the franchises, Shin Megami Sonic, Etrian Odyssey 5 featuring Shining Force, etc. [PHANTASY STAR!]

        3) ATLUS has been doing so well in the West (deservedly, IMO) I don’t see how they could NOT get us anything they put out anymore. Maybe Japan first – that’s where the devs are and the games are made in that language, but eventually localized versions for us.

        • Ferrick

          1) go, go with honor! you know you want it

          2) i would like to see the source of this statement

          3) atlus has been bought for a while now, and i still see very little of Sega’s IP (outside Sanic, that IP can die for all i care) outside of Japan, hell we don’t even see PSO2 that was promised by Sega since 2012 ever appearing over here

          • Rob L.

            I literally just Googled “atlus sega back catalog” and came up with about 10 sources for my statement: here are the top 2:

            “Shin Megami Tensei studio given free reign with publisher’s back catalogue after $140m acquisition”

            “Sega “would love” Atlus to reboot “any of our dormant IPs””

          • Ferrick

            do you actually know the meaning of dormant ip ?

          • Rob L.

            OK, I’m done with this now. Waste of time. You obviously have something against Sega or Atlus games or both or whatever, I’m not getting into an internet argument about it. have a nice night.

          • Ferrick

            it’s not about having a thing against either of them (in which i have nothing against the latter), it’s just you giving information that you don’t know squat about (go search the dictionary for dormant next time)

          • Rob L.

            Look asshole, ‘dormant’ means having growth suspended (such as grass in the winter) for a PERIOD OF TIME. Then is STARTS GROWING AGAIN.It doesn’t mean what you think it means. Now quit being a dick if you’re not any good at it. Shut the fuck up about this. You don’t like Sega – good. It’s still a great thing that Atlus has access to their back catalog of IPs, games, characters, etc.

            Sega stops making the games, the IP becomes DORMANT, it STOPS GROWING. They buy Index, put ATLUS to work making new games in their franchises, and wa-fucking-la they START GROWING AGAIN AND ARE NO LONGER DORMANT! it’s god damn magic! you dick. You were probably thinking it meant ‘stagnant’

          • Ferrick

            now that you’ve searched the definition of dormant, tell me, where does it say in both of those articles, that atlus reviving dormant ips actually MEANS localization to the west for games like shining, phantasy, and yakuza, since they’re anything but dormant

  • Valtiel Ikari

    a shame to see creative people having a hard time, I hope he can get funds, should try a kickstarter, I would back the hell out of his preoject.

    • AokiShizuku

      Sadly money isn’t the only issue here. Unfortunately Square Enix is in control of the Drakengard and NieR IP and if they feel that they won’t gain profit, they won’t bother with it.


  • Ladius

    I wish Yoko could have a stable position in a smaller but effective developer like Falcom, Atlus, NIS or even Idea Factory, which is picking up talents such as NIS’ Yamamoto, Sting and Zerodiv for some of their games. It’s really sad to see him in this situation considering the unique flavor he can bring to jrpg stories.

    • The only companies that would actually be able to preserve his style are Atlus or Falcom, if you ask me. I don’t think NIS or Idea Factory are suited to his more mature style of developing games, since their market is a very, very different crowd. The only other developers in Japan that target the same age group as Nier/Drakengard are Atlus, Nintendo and Falcom.

      Sony do it on occasion as well, but I don’t see them being interested, and well, a large portion of their output in Japan these days is hunting games.

      • Ladius

        While NIS is mainly known for Disgaea, they also developed games like Soul Nomad, Phantom Brave and The Guided Fate Paradox that can be serious if not outright depressing (especially in PB’s case), even if they still have some humorous traits (something that can also be seen in Yoko’s games, the dragon song in D3 is hilarious).

        Even IFCH have developed their share of dramatic games in the past once you factor their Neverland and visual novel output, and their partnership with Sting ended up making Generation of Chaos 6 one of the bleakest game in their library, suited to Sting’s themes in other titles like Gungnir and Blaze Union.

        In the end, if someone ofher than SE will end up picking up Yoko they will likely do it because of his unique take on jrpg narrative. That said, don’t misunderstand me: a Megaten game could be a fantastic fit for Yoko if Atlus was ready to give the series a crazy spin.

        • DesmaX

          Just adding here, NIS did make the Demon Path in Soul Nomad (And Hundred Knight is their little Drakengard game too). I don’t think NIS would do a bad job with him.

          Certainly a lot better than Falcom. I don’t think he would fit there at all

          • Ladius

            Yeah, I love Falcom but they have never done anything in line with Yoko’s narrative themes, I mentioned them simply because they’re a mid sized, low budget developer that could work well with niche projects such as Yoko’s.

            Speaking of NIS, they also did horror visual novels like the Hayarigami games, even if jrpgs are what they’re known for. It’s a shame they can only rely on Disgaea for sales, considering some of their other games are just as good.

          • Gene Bowen

            I disagree. The Kiseki games have had some very dark themes, so much so that they had to be censored for the PSP.

          • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

            I’d never heard of that. Could you elaborate?

          • Gene Bowen

            Sora 3rd on PC went into gruesome detail on Renne’s backstory and it was very explicit. I can’t say too much without it being a massive spoiler.

        • I hope you aren’t suggesting that Guided Fate Paradox attracts the same audience as games like The Last Story or Drakengard or Xenoblade or SMT. It really doesn’t. NIS’ games have an aesthetic that they rarely move away from and I don’t believe we’ve seen any evidence of them having enough knowledge of the more grown-up audience to be able to market games to them.

          The same goes for Compile Heart, in my opinion. The vast majority of their output, if not all of it, is moe RPGs nowadays, so I don’t believe they would be capable of targeting an older userbase at this point, since they specialize in making games for a very different kind of audience.

          It would be nice to see Atlus give Yoko something to work on, or perhaps even Nintendo, provided they aren’t feeling too burned by their endeavors to give Sakaguchi new projects (neither of which hit a very high quality bar). Both are stable publishers with a solid understanding of the more mature RPG market, and more importantly, both are capable of marketing to western gamers as well.

          In recent years, between things like Xenoblade, Fire Emblem, Dragon Quest IX, Ni no Kuni, Bravely Default, Persona and SMTIV, people in the west have started to take JRPGs seriously again. I think Yoko could play an important role in that movement if one were to pair him up with the right publisher.

          • DesmaX

            Makes me wonder if people really are going to take Drakengard 3 seriously when it’s released here.

            Nier didn’t do so well over here, and even Square doesn’t seem to be putting that much hope in this one. (Judging by the game being only available in disc by their website. Probably just going to be a limited run)

            I fear that people will just dismiss it like some lesser RPG, which would be quite sad considering that this seems like a good game (Hopefully. The technical part seems quite wonky from what I’ve seen)

          • Makes me wonder if people really are going to take Drakengard 3 seriously when it’s released here.

            The fact that it very clearly looks like a low-budget games probably means that a lot of people are going to pass on it, sadly. Maybe Yoko should try his hand at a portable title next. He could probably do wonders with Drakengard’s budget on a portable game, and I don’t think his games would be any less on a portable either. The strength of his titles is in their writing and worldview.

          • DesmaX

            Can’t disagree with you. Seems like even Nier had a bigger budget.

          • Anime10121

            Thats because way back when Nier was conceptualized, it was being thought of as a new franchise with sequels and everything, but alas, its low sales kinda nerfed any chance it had at becoming a long term franchise :(

          • Ladius

            As sad as it is, this is an issue shared by lots of quality (or even simply quirky) niche jrpgs, whose low budget mean almost certain death outside of a niche of die-hard followers. Yoko’s games aren’t even among the worst in terms of budget, too, and being on home consoles they haven’t faced the kind of dismissal many good DSPSP3DSVita jrpgs have had to endure in the west.

          • Ladius

            I think you’re focusing a bit too much on the aesthetic side without considering the rest of the package, especially since you seem to credit Drakengard (or Nier, for that matter) with a mainstream appeal that it never had despite a more realistic art direction compared to some of the other series mentioned before. After all, even if the Drakengard games sell more than a new IP like TGFP (but less than the Disgaeas), Yoko’s signature crazy, twisted, narrative so far seems to have a niche, cult hit status, resonating only with a minority of jrpg fans. At the same time, I think dismissing NIS’ games because of their art styles doesn’t mean anything in regard to the “maturity” of their stories or their themes.

            Speaking of aesthetic, if you followed the recent debate about Bravely Default’s western censorshiplocalization changes you have probably seen how lots of people can be put off even by Yoshida’s rather tame chibi art style, and Fire Emblem Awakening with its revamped dating sim component is more in line with the moe audience than any FE game before it. Drakengard 3 itself has its share of fanservice, so making a clear cut distinction between some “good” jrpgs suited for a “mature” audience and “lesser” games intended for a less mature one can be tricky unless you consider those games as a whole.

            Of course those games doesn’t have to share the same audience, even if I feel the audience can and will overlap on multiple occasions (especially for those jrpg fans that give a chance to lesser known games and often end up being surprised by them).Since we were discussing which companies could be a fit for Yoko’s narrative, I simply felt that it was important to notice how NIS and IF (which, as we have discussed in the past, is far from being 100% moe despite having some well known moe series in their CH line) actually dabbled in darker narratives from time to time.

          • think you’re focusing a bit too much on the aesthetic side without considering the rest of the package, especially since you seem to credit Drakengard (or Nier, for that matter) with a mainstream appeal that it never had despite a more realistic art direction compared to some of the other series mentioned before.

            I’m not saying Drakengard or Nier were breakout hits, and neither am I saying that aesthetic is all that matters. What I’m saying is that aesthetic is the first barrier and writing is the second. What we’re talking about here is purely target demographics. Popularity is something that can’t often be calculated.

            Speaking of aesthetic, if you followed the recent debate about Bravely Default’s western censorship you have probably seen how lots of people can be put off even by Yoshida’s rather tame chibi art style, and Fire Emblem Awakening with its revamped dating sim component is more in line with the moe audience than any FE game before it.

            I don’t personally feel either of those are large enough obstacles to get in the way of those two games being successes in the west, and we even have sales numbers for Fire Emblem to prove it. People aren’t turned off by the anime aesthetic in general, just a very specific kind of anime aesthetic. I don’t think either Fire Emblem or Bravely Default falls under that kind of aesthetic.

            I do agree that, of the two, Bravely Default is closer to turning a few people away with its more chibi art style, but Square have been very smart about pushing it as a return to nostalgic Final Fantasy, and I believe that alone will help attract a large portion of the lapsed RPG audience to it.

            As far as NIS and CH having dabbled in darker narratives goes, some of their games might taken on slightly darker tones than their usual output, but to the average consumer, it means nothing if the aesthetic of those games remains the same. It’s a marketing mismatch. Your art style and aesthetic is the first thing that people associate with the tone of your game.

          • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

            It’s not just the art style, NIS’ output may have some dark, serious points here and there, but the overarching tone of each story is always pretty twee.

          • Ladius

            Not really, unless you’re only thinking about the Disgaeas, Makai Kingdom or ZHP. Phantom Brave’s scenario was downright bleak most of the time, Soul Nomad had Gig as a comic relief of sort (a bit like Weiss in Nier or apparently Zero’s dragon in D3, since Yoko often does exactly the same in his games) but in itself had a dark fantasy vibe that got even more powerful in the extra scenario and The Guided Fate Paradox’s playful overtones had little to do with the real nature of that game’s story and setting. The Hayarigami games are straight up horror, with a completely different art style from other NIS games, too.

          • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

            Phantom Brave was sad, but simultaneously cute and bittersweet while being so. Soul Nomad, demon path or no (which was a long and arduous task to unlock in the first place), was tongue-in-cheek a lot of the time.

            Haven’t played Hayarigami but I’ve read a lot about them. The games look really interesting, but I imagine they’re along similar lines as ChunSoft’s horror sound novels; spooky but aimed at a young adult demographic.

            Taro’s stuff is straight up unrelenting surreal horror. It’s not always effective, but it has an unmistakable tone to it. I can’t imagine him working with NIS, but at the same time I wouldn’t say no!

          • Ladius

            I think you are making Taro’s work seem more serious than it actually is. While it’s definitely dark and surreal (I wouldn’t agree that much on the horror part, unless we talk about specific events and twists), it also has its share of references and bizarre, grotesque humor, not to mention comic relief characters like the aforementioned Weiss and Zero’s dragon.

            This little sequence from Drakengard 3 is just the latest example of this trend, and apparently the game has lots of moments like this:


          • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

            I admit that Drakengard and Nier had just as much goofy humor as they did heartbreak and horror. Still, Taro’s world-vision is a lot different than NIS.

            That video is great!

  • Go2hell66

    thats so rough :(
    I just want to give this man a hug

  • Witphanzo

    Btw, the game has a lot of negative user scores on amazon jp.

  • GDI

    Hey I hear Yasumi Matsuno (Vagrant Story, Tactics Ogre, Crimson Shroud) left Level 5. I think Yoko Taro could do well to take his place in Level 5 as the new dark storyteller / designer.

  • landlock

    From Software should look him up. Games like Drakengard have a really similar tone to some of the stuff they put out.

    • Oooh, now that is an interesting thought. He would fit right in at From Software.

  • MaximDualBlade

    Long live Drakengard! I hope that this is like Nier 2 as Yoko Taro says Nier will always be his Drakengard 3 :)

  • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

    What, did he get let go already? Or was he freelancing?

  • Prithivi

    So sad to hear this. We need people like him in the current gaming world, people with passion who love their work and make games with personality. He has to find a new job and the best thing that could happen to us gamers is that his job is related to the gaming world.

    I can assure him that Drakengard 3 will sell at least one copy in Spain: mine; even if it is a digital one.

    • Another fan from spain who will buy it on day one. Too bad it’s so unpopular, here…

      • Prithivi

        Es que aquí si sacas a la gente del Pro, CoD o Counter Strike poco más hay que sea realmente popular xD

  • Personally, I liked Drakengard 1 and 2. Despite the graphics that looks like PS2 HD graphics, I’m looking forward to this one as well. I will continue to support them for the next title. Hopefully they’ll find the budget to make the game in some years.

  • Nitraion

    Hmm i just played nier and i enjoy it its so classic RPG…..
    even the graphic is not really good…
    i wonder how Drakengard 3 is

  • This is such a shame. This man is a genious and, given a better budget, I’m sure he could make greater things, and more appealing to a mainstream market despite keeping the dark side (ok, Drakengard is really weird, but something like NieR? It’s a quite normal game).

    Really looking forward for Drakengard 3, and hoping he can get a job next year so he can have a better life.

    • Rayhan PromisedGallery

      i don’t think a group of psycho father/brother, flying talking book, hermaphrodite who swears a lot, and a gay transexual flying skeleton can be called normal

      • boink

        I didn’t know Emil was gay. Or a transexual.
        Sounds like they left out A LOT in the western version.

        • Rayhan PromisedGallery

          Emil implied to have gay feeling for BROTHER Nier in japanese version on Facade’s wedding scene where he asks things like “hey NieR, do you want to marry someday. Maybe i could be your-”
          And the diary on Grimoire NieR databook also has him clearly being gay

          The transexual part is just because he fused with his sister, that’s all

          • boink

            Holyshit. I really need to finish reading Grimoire Nier.

          • Yeah, Grimoire NieR explains really weird things about everyone, and the Drama CD is even crazier (listen to Kainé’s track and you’ll be crushed) http://something-very-special.tumblr.com/post/46898452367/lust

            However, the game itself is quite normal. It has great comedy moments and great tragedy/depressing ones, but there aren’t these kind of things that make you go like “WHAT DID I JUST SEE?!” in the same vein of Drakengard 1, in which children are hated until the ends of time. These kind of things only happen in the book, not in the game. The game only makes you feel sad.

          • Nitraion

            You know with body like emil he couldn’t careless about gay or straight anymore XD

      • Lynx

        -flying talking book

        Fantasy 101.

        Especially when dealing with the dark side of magic.

  • boink

    Reasons to buy Drakengard 3:
    1) It’s a work of art (a pretty dark one though)
    2) You’ll help this wonderful man out.

  • Chiupon

    this is really upsetting
    he honestly deserves more than he’s getting, especially compared to other writers and designers who couldn’t weave together a competent piece of writing on their best days *cough*nomuraandnearlyallofSE*cough*

  • Yan Zhao

    The Japanese game industry is really rough :

  • Alexandra Cordes

    Nooooo. I thought that since he came back to make Drakengard 3, he would have a stable job again.
    Hello, return of sadness. ;_; I hope he can make many more amazing (and twisted) games in the future.

  • Crimson_Cloud

    Unemployment is a like a cancer, growing everywhere. People have it tough all over the world, not just him. He at least got a little chance to enjoy in a work, at least a little, while most of us are stuck doing totally different thing… not to mention a poor people who can’t find jobs at all…

  • Tristan Diaz

    I wish the best for Taro, I’ll definitely be buying Drakengard 3 once it releases.

  • Mirin

    Poor guy, sounds rough for him. With that said though, the tone of his comment definitely seems like he wasn’t in a great mood when he wrote it. I’ve never played the Drakengard series but I intend on doing so when I pick up a PS3.

  • I loved Nier so I’ll definitely be getting this.

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