The Nier Automata Secret Door Nobody Can Figure Out Got Weirder

2B stares in the distance in Nier: Automata, the community for which is tearing itself apart over a secret door.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

Factions. In-fighting. The whispers of a bounty. For the previous few days, the Nier: Automata neighborhood has been tearing itself aside over a secret chamber nobody is aware of how one can enter, which might be something from a prank to chop content material to a well-executed spot of viral advertising and marketing. Only one factor is definite: This complete saga is bonkers.

I imply, in fact one thing like this could occur within the orbit of PlatinumGames’ Nier: Automata, an action-RPG so unpredictably bizarre you may inadvertently carry concerning the finish of the sport by consuming a fish. Helmed by sport design legend Yoko Taro and first launched in 2017, Nier: Automata is loaded with secrets and techniques and a number of endings. By final 12 months, gamers thought they’d seen all the sport needed to provide when outstanding modder and dataminer Lance McDonald discovered a loophole—buried within the sport’s code—that permits you to skip on to the “actual” ending. Even Yoko Taro himself appeared to verify it because the “remaining secret.”

But two months in the past, that remaining secret started to look lower than remaining. One Nier: Automata participant, identified solely by their Reddit deal with Sadfutago, posted a query to some area of interest Nier subreddits: “How do you get within the church?”

The posts have been largely ignored. The few individuals who responded have been flummoxed. Huh? The church? What the hell is that this child on about?

But Sadfutago persevered, escalating the query from area of interest Nier subreddits up via to the extraordinarily non-niche fundamental web page for the collection. They posted video proof of this church in a collection of clips. (One such was filmed vertically on a mobile phone, though it solely exhibits the doorway to the antechamber that results in the hallway on the finish of which is that this church.) Here, for reference, is among the extra thorough movies:

Pretty wild, proper? But what’s most nuts right here is that nobody, seemingly together with Sadfutago, is aware of how one can get into this room. Set within the Copied City—a degree in Nier: Automata with extensive streets lined by Bavarian homes—the footage exhibits kinda-protagonist A2 getting into a room, descending a ladder, and strolling down a hallway. All of the structure appears to be like prefer it matches proper into anything within the Copied City. It seems to be a reputable discovery.

That does not imply it’s, per se. We know that there aren’t simply accessible instruments to do one thing like mod the sport, however there are a number of features of the entire thing that do not fairly add up.

“The proof, at this level, is pointing so exhausting to the truth that it is not actual it is exhausting to consider it might be,” the Discord consumer Vats3, who goes by Church Non-Believer within the fashionable Nier modding Discordinformed Kotaku. “The chance of it being pretend is a lot greater than it being actual.”

Over the previous few days, Nier Discord customers rapidly spun up a handful of channels devoted explicitly to determining how one can get into the church. One of them, #church-hunt-live, has been on wildfire all morning, breaking down proof each for and in opposition to the church’s veracity. At 9:40 am ET, I seemed away. When I checked again in, at 9:57 am ET, the tally of recent messages was staggering: 271. In 17 minutes. The channel has maintained that tempo all day.

As with most Internet-powered debates, it is a dizzyingly complicated net of ideas, emotions, and concepts, with lots of people believing loads of various things. But, sure, most individuals fall into one in all two camps. In broad strokes now…

The Case For

Given how actual the church and its surrounding setting look, it’s, at first look, simple to consider that is content material that was initially set to be in Nier: Automata. It has voice appearing, cinematics, the entire 9 yards—fairly rattling subtle to be a mod, as some neighborhood members initially believed.

Right now, the Nier modding neighborhood is within the technique of attempting to mock up the hidden church, simply to see if it is doable so as to add into the sport, Discord consumer Meowsandstuff informed Kotaku. It’s nonetheless a piece in progress, however here is an early look:

Mods for Nier: Automata show two assets that look remarkably like a church region that's confused the Nier: Automata community.

Screenshot: Provided by Meowsandstuff

“I had solely began engaged on it yesterday as a way to visualize what the church would have seemed like,” Meowsandstuff mentioned. “It’s doable that the best way I’ve modeled it might not be instantly appropriate with Nier‘s engine because it lacks necessary stuff reminiscent of textures on new areas.”

It’s been established that Sadfutago is enjoying on PlayStation 4, and seems to be utilizing the 1.00 model of Nier: Automata—that’s, a model that hasn’t had any updates rolled out within the 5 years since launch, which means it’d theoretically embrace all the unique sport information.

Then there’s the identify. At first, Nier gamers discerned that “futago” interprets to “twins” in Japanese. That’d additionally observe with the story of Nier: Automata, which options twins as a part of its melancholic plotline. But, in keeping with screenshots shared with Kotaku by Azura, a member of the Nier modding Discord, Sadfutago disputed the declare: In response to somebody pointing it out, Sadfutago wrote, “?? no futago is a clan.” (Sadfutago didn’t reply to Kotaku‘s requests for feedback.)

Then once more, judging from futago’s Reddit remark historical past, it is also clear that there is a communication barrier between the one that found the key and everybody else. Messages appear stilted, so we won’t simply assume there is a 1:1 understanding of what is going on on. More on this after we get to the case in opposition to the key door being actual.

“Clan Futago is most probably a Naruto reference, convincing many individuals, me included, that OP is most probably a child,” Azura mentioned. Other messages, together with one the place Sanfutago mentions the necessity to use a “mother’s telephone,” have reaffirmed this perception.

The space can also be stuffed with minor references, obvious nods to different titles from Platinum’s oeuvre, together with Bayonetta, Drakengard, Bayonetta (which has a brand new entry slated for this 12 months), and Nier: Replicant Buncha Numbers (which got here out final 12 months however, on the launch of Nier: Automata, would not have been introduced). This is all, if nothing else, a signature stamp from Yoko Taro.

“I would not put it previous the devs to chop content material teasing a brand new sport,” Azura mentioned.

The Case Against

“No thought HOW they made this video but, nevertheless it’s clearly not what they are saying it’s,” McDonald wrote on Twitter. “They’re mendacity concerning the state of affairs.”

Although nobody can say so with 100% certainty—it is more durable to show a destructive than a optimistic—the proof that there is one thing fishy about this complete factor has been exhaustively cataloged in a 14-page Google Doc, extensively credited as spearheaded by Meowsandstuff. (He described it to me as a “group effort.”) It even features a spreadsheet pinpointing the precise instances Sadfutago has posted to Reddit, alongside the erratic nature of these posts.

“Regardless if Sadfutago is mendacity or not, please don’t harass them for info or in any other case!” reads a missive in daring font on the prime of the doc. (Given that many neighborhood members consider Sadfutago might be a minor, severely, individuals, please heed that line.)

Part of the doc particulars right down to picture discrepancies, however there’s some squabbling over the character mannequin within the clip, which matches a “Yorha” character mannequin in final 12 months’s Nier: Replicant Buncha Numbers—proper on right down to the mannequin’s bracelet. To some individuals, like Azura, that and different references means devs snuck one thing into the sport. But to the parents who consider this complete factor is only a wild hoax, it is a signal of savvy misdirection.

“Yoko Taro video games are so stuffed with references it’s very inside cause that he would make a hidden space with extra references,” Vats3 mentioned. “Anyone who is aware of Yoko Taro is aware of that, so a modder would completely use it [it] to try to make their hoax extra plausible.”

Gif: Square Enix / Sadfutago / Kotaku

That Sadfutago is allegedly enjoying a base model of the sport means they’d have entry to content material that others, enjoying extra up to date variations of the sport, would not have the ability to see. The gaming world isn’t any stranger to wild discoveries from unpatched video games. In 2018, for example, gamers of an unpatched copy model of Shadow of the Tomb Raider discovered an totally totally different ending that wasn’t presupposed to be included within the retail launch. But on the matter of Nier: Automataquestions stay.

“One prerelease evaluation copy had been performed via with no proof of the key,” Meowsandstuff mentioned.

Then there’s probably the most cynical learn: A model of Nier: Automata is coming to Nintendo Switch in October, which has given some individuals the impression that the entire thing might be a advertising and marketing scheme. Part of what is fueling this conspiracy principle is that Sadfutago has continued posting on Reddit, however he seems to be repeating precisely what different persons are saying concerning the discovery. While it is doable there is a language barrier, others now consider that maybe this can be a case of somebody forgetting to sign off of their account whereas attempting to pose as different individuals. And if that is the case, maybe that is viral advertising and marketing in any case. But we won’t say for positive.

The Impasse

Despite the mountain of proof suggesting there’s one thing fishy about Sadfutago’s secret discovery, there’s nonetheless…no sure reply. Nier: Automata‘s official feeds have not helped make clear something both. After directing followers to take a look at his frustratingly obscure Twitter bio, Yoko Taro weighed in once more this morning. “Yesterday. My variety of followers elevated over 1000 counts. But I’m not what you anticipated. Normally, I do not tweet in English language. Because I’m so silly. And I really like sausage and beer,” Taro[ttweetinEnglishlanguageBecauseIamsofoolishAndIlovesausageandbeer”Tarowrote. (Same, dude. Same.)

When reached for remark, representatives for Square Enix didn’t instantly have something so as to add on the report.

“It’s very unlucky we won’t ask him about this,” Azura mentioned.

On the Nier modding Discord, Meowsandstuff floated the concept of ​​a $500 bounty for anybody who might legitimately, although famous to Kotaku that it wasn’t a “severe provide” (in the meanwhile). If, hypothetically, there have been to be a bounty, it’d want to point out “clear supply decision video captured from the identical machine the sport was performed on; together with a number of angles and shut ups of areas we do not have a lot video or screenshots of,” he mentioned.

Over the previous 24 hours, I’ve been fairly immersed within the swirling neighborhood thriller round Nier‘s secret church, and I get the sensation I’ve barely scratched the floor. I additionally get the sense that, as with the web’s finest heated debates (who right here remembers the Dress?), the dialog has solely simply gotten began, and should by no means finish. Short of exhausting proof—the kind of factor Meowsandstuff identified—neither aspect will get a solution right here.

But I do not assume the reply is the purpose. Amid all of the bullshit on the planet proper now—the housing disaster, the unchecked home fascism, the continuing world pandemic, the sparks of a possible second—stuff like that is what all of us want. It is enjoyable to theorize, to hope, to get a distraction only for the shits and giggles.

“I hold eager to consider it is actual,” Azura mentioned. “It can be very, very humorous actually.”

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