Square Enix recently held a NieR: Automata live stream featuring director Yoko Taro, producer Yosuke Saito, and designer Takahisa Taura who showed some pretty neat stuff for the action RPG.
Starting at the 5:47 mark of the video, we’re shown the prototype version of NieR: Automata’s recent demo. While you can’t see anything in the background, you might recognize it from the way it starts out and the enemies that spawn. This is actually from a version that was built sometime between end of 2014 to early 2015, and the work started about half a year before that.
The Pod looks different because they didn’t have a design for it, but something they just came up with for a temporary purpose, which they felt looked pretty good. They also point out that the action itself hasn’t really changed much from back then compared to what we have today, as it is something Platinum Games settled with early on in development. Taura mentions that they recently picked up the prototype demo and were surprised at just how much didn’t really change.
Some of the differences from back then was that there wasn’t a proper lock-on mechanic. They also experimented with various controls, so pressing what is now attack would have been guard, and so on. We can also see how the number of projectiles is much fewer than what’s in the demo.
They skip forward at the 9:18 mark, where they point out that this time we see many similarities on the map. Other than various gimmicks and setups they’ve added later on, the layout is mostly the same. As demonstrated in the footage, most of the combos and attacks are what we also have in the demo.
Yoko Taro points out that Taura, who says that he actually doesn’t like the top-view mode, took longer in making the top-view parts of the demo. Taura adds that he actually likes the side-scroller view so much that he wouldn’t mind seeing the game like that from start to end.
Considering that it actually took just three months to make what they have on the demo, Yoko Taro jokes about how Taura will now start getting orders to come up with more stuff like this in just three months, but the designer explains that it was mostly due to good timing and how well everything just worked out, otherwise it’d take him about two years normally.
NieR: Automata releases in Japan on February 23, North America on March 7, and Europe on March 10, 2017 for PlayStation 4. The PC version will be available sometime in 2017.