In North America, Nier, the protagonist of Nier, has a barbarian-esque physique and is on a quest to find a cure for his daughter. In Japan, there are two Niers: the burly warrior in Nier Gestalt and a typical young hero in Nier Replicant. Why did Square Enix make two heroes and was the Nier in Nier Gestalt made for the West?
I brought those questions to the Nier development team at Square Enix and they got back to me with answers.
“In some ways, yes. Certainly an older, more gruff hero character fits in with the Western archetype for a hero, both in action games and in RPGs. A father saving his daughter is a very compelling story that will draw in gamers, no matter where they are from and how old they are. I think in terms of gameplay, as well, there are a lot of things in there that will make Western gamers say, ‘This isn’t what I expected from an RPG developed in Japan… this reminds me of Fable or Oblivion…’ Appealing to a wider audience is always a good decision.”
“Our NIER in North America for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is exactly the same game as Nier Gestalt for Xbox 360 in Japan. The only other version of the game is Nier Replicant only for PlayStation 3 and ONLY in Japan. The only difference between these two versions is the main character. In NIER and Nier Gestalt Nier is a father saving his daughter while in Nier Replicant a much younger Nier is a brother saving his sister.”
Next week, we’ll have more on Nier where the team talks about the ambiguous story and Kaine’s character development.