Interview with Yosuke Saito from Taipei Game Show (Corrections)

The last post that I made regarding this interview with Yosuke Saito and also Ishikawa Yui was a complete mess that was not entirely my fault. The translation there stemmed from Japanese answers being translated into Chinese (most likely on the fly). I then took that Chinese text, used an online translation page to translate it into Japanese from which I translated once more into English.

Phew! I’m tired just trying to get that straight!

Suffice it to say, a completely Japanese source, Game Watch, has posted this interview in Japanese to help clear up a couple important points that seemed like they came right out of left field. I’ll highlight the most important points.

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ーThe demo received positive marks in Japan, but what sort of feedback did you get from the players?

Saito: Our goal for the demo was to give players a hands-on experience, to witness firsthand how fluid the action is, and to show them what to expect from the final product. We released a demo because it’s difficult to explain in words what a game will be like—it’s better to show you the game and let you experience it for yourself. I’m extremely pleased with all the positive feedback the demo has been receiving. Even though it is an Action RPG, we really want to save the RPG elements for the final release of the game, things like the story, various forms of level progression, and buying and selling items.

ーYou’re not able to use the lock-on function in Hard or Very Hard. Will this stay the same in the final release?

S: There are many settings at work including the lock-on function, but it won’t be accessible in Hard or Very Hard, unfortunately. For Easy and Normal modes, you can equip a Plug-in chip to turn on this ability, but you are also free to remove it to further personalize your own difficulty level. If you’re not good at action games, you can equip every chip to help you on Easy mode so all you need to do is move the joystick. On Normal, you are also welcome to equip or unequip the lock-on chip as you like. I think the player will be able to customize the game around their own gameplay preferences.

ーWe were able to see a few new weapons in the demo that included background illustrations and corresponding weapon stories. I’m sure there will be many more in the final release of the game. Can we expect to see these illustrations change as you level up your weapon?

S: I can’t say much about this, but… (haha) Even though the background illustrations won’t change as you level up the weapons, the corresponding weapon story will. The weapon itself will also change its appearance.

ーIn the demo, we saw the 3D screen change to a 2D side-scroller. Was there any particular reason you designed stages like that?

S: The previous also implemented similar 2D side-scrolling and top-down views. It’s one of the many things that make a “NieR” gameーa fun action gameーso we wanted to throw in a little homage to retro games and what made them so good. It was all the brainchild of Director Yoko Taro, especially since he loves retro 2D games. Simply put, Platinum Games is handling all aspects of the action, so these stage designs are their way of respecting the previous.

ーThis is a question for Ishikawa-san. Do you have any interesting stories to tell us from your recording sessions?

Ishikawa: Right, I don’t have any funny stories to tell, but when we first began recording, but back then character illustrations were still in development. We had very little to work from. Now we have things like images of 2B and we can actually see how characters robots move, but in the beginning, all we had was a video of real actors performing a particular scene. That was a first for me. It was really interesting to see how that would eventually become part of the actual game.

ーThe ending of the demo was so shocking; how does that connect to the finished game? Or was is purely a separate story only meant for the demo?

S: Hmm… What do you think, Ishikawa-san?

I: You’re passing this to me? (haha) Well, I’ve played the demo and, of course, I know the story, but I thought the ending was a huge cliffhanger.

S: It actually caused a bit of a controversy in Japan. People were wondering things like, “Could this actually be the ending of the game!?” (haha) First of all, it’s not a separate story made specifically for the demo. Although it doesn’t depict the very beginning of the game, it still takes place roughly during the beginning. I hope you look forward to the official release of the game to see the resolution of this cliffhanger!

ーSo, will there be multiple endings this time around?

S: Yes, there will be multiple endings, but exactly how many is a secret.

ーAnother question for Ishikawa-san. Without spoiling anything, can you tell us what do you think of 2B?

I: (hahaha) Okay. First of all, the story itself is shocking in a multitude of ways—I’m really scared I might accidentally blurt something out. 2B isn’t allowed to express emotion, but in small places, here and there, you can see her treating 9S with gentle care. Since she isn’t overly flamboyant, she may be holding back her feelings, although they tend to unintentionally show in the heat of the moment or in slight subtleties of the heart. I recorded so many lines while thinking how it would be nice if she could express how she really feels.

S: I won’t spoil anything, but listening to you just now almost made me cry. (haha)

I: The release can’t come sooner! I want to get rid of this antsy feelingーlike I MUST play this game right now!!

ーPS4 Pro Support?

S: We talked about this with Platinum Games, and of course you can play おn a 4K TV, but when 4K is actually supported, it spoils the 60fps action. At any rate, when we set our minds on it, we were able to make it work. We entirely intend to preserve Full HD 4K/60fps so you can get every ounce out of . We’re very particular with the motion blur, shadows, and other fine details. After that, we need to maintain the overall performance stability, I suppose. For example, the action cannot lag when a ton of enemies appear on screen.

ーIn your demonstration, when you ran from place to place, we got a feel for how big the stages will be. Will we be mostly walking or running between locations?

S: You can also fly in the sky and ride on animals. In the presentation, we literally ran through some of those areas because half of it is filled with story elements. Just past where we stopped at the front gates of the Amusement Park, it opens up to an entirely new area for you to explore. I hope we were able to tease that a little for you!

ーBefore the presentation began, we saw multiple characters in a trailer. How many playable characters will there be?

S: So far, we’ve only stated that 2B and 9S will be playable. There’s also A2, but whether she’s playable or not is a secret, so look forward to that reveal! Maybe she won’t be a playable character. (haha)

ーIs this game somehow connected to the previous title? Does it have anything to do with?

S: I could talk all night about how things are connected, but to answer you briefly, there is no need to play any of the previous games to enjoy’s multiple endings. Simply, if you have played them, I think you’ll really get a kick out of seeing Emil again. As it turns out, though, Hanae-kun (voice of 9S) went back and played them ALL again to refresh his memory. (haha)

ーNow that you mention Hanae-san, didn’t he manage to clear Very Hard?!      Can you share anything more about that?

S: Yeah, he wrote to me on LINE and said, “I’m at the last boss now, but I have to work in the morning, so I need to sleep.” I wrote back and told him, “Go to bed!” About an hour later, I saw he wrote on Twitter that he beat Very Hard. I tried to tell him that he should sleep since he had to appear on the “Oha Suta” TV program the following morning. (haha)


Source: Game Watch

Interview from Taipei Game Show 2017!

According to an interview by A9VG, we’ve learned a couple new things regarding the game and what’s in store for us…

Please note that I’m going from a very round-about way to translate this. I know *nothing* of Chinese but I do understand Japanese. I used an online translation site to first translate this into Japanese and then I attempted to translate that into English. ^^;

First of all, the Chinese version of the game has been confirmed for this spring.

—Will there be any changes from the demo leading into the actual release of the game?
Saito: We released the demo version with the intention of gaining some important feedback from players. The main purpose was to allow players to experience the action part of the game and let them tell us what they thought.

—In the Hard and Very Hard modes, the player is not able to use the lock-on function. Will this still be true for the official release of the game?
Saito: Yes, the lock-on function is not accessible in the harder difficulty levels, but in Normal and Easy modes, the player can select whether or not they want to use this function.

—In the demo, we’re only able to explore the area on foot. Will there be other modes of transportation in the official release?
Saito: In the official version there will be aerial vehicles and also animals that you can ride on.

—In the demo, we could see that weapons have their own stories with illustrations. Will the official release have more of this, additional illustrations, for example?
Saito: As you level up your weapons, you can gradually unlock additional portions of the Weapon Stories. The background image that’s used for the Weapon Stories won’t change, but the actual appearance of the weapons will.

—Ishikawa-san, do you have any interesting stories for us?
Ishikawa: Perhaps when I started working on this game. At the time, even the character designs were not yet complete. Since the dubbing was done along with the development of the game, I could really get an inside look on its production.

—What significance does the content in the demo have to do with the official release?
Saito: In Japan, it was discussed whether or not the demo depicted the ending of the game. We can reveal here that what you see in the demo occurs roughly at the half-way point of the game. We selected that part so you can get a nice chunk of the game to experience. The story in the demo is not an independent story from the rest of the game.

—Ishikawa-san, how do you feel about your role as 2B?
Ishikawa: There are so many emotional moments in the story. As for 2B, she isn’t allowed to express her own feelings. Although she doesn’t sound like it, I think she’s a really gentle person. She’s also very concerned about 9S.

—What can we expect from the PRO?
Saito: We initially discussed using 4K with the PRO, but as an action game, we needed to be sure we had at least 1080p/60fps. So, the movement in the PRO version should feel more fluid with better lighting and shadows.

—How many different characters can we expect to play?
Saito: Right now we can confirm that 2B and 9S will be playable.

—We know there’s a connection between and the series. Should people play the previous games to prepare for this one?
Saito: There is a connection between them all, but there’s absolutely no problem if you haven’t played them. Simply, if you are familiar with the other titles, you may notice some interesting things. For example, the voice actor for 9S, Hanae-san, has played all of the previous games.


Source: A9VG

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According to other Japanese-Chinese translations, not just mine, it appears as though the events that we see in the demo may not actually take place at the *beginning* of the game, but rather a bit further in. It’s described as the “mid-way” point or half-way through the game, but the DOD/NieR series always use multiple playthroughs… so perhaps this could be towards the end of the first run through, “Branch A”.

There are several points that create confusion with this statement, one is my own translation of some of the storyboards and scripts from the Character Introduction video that was originally shown at the Music Concert & Talk Live. Plus, it appears as though 2B and 9S had never met–so would that mean that 2B is alone for the whole first playthrough? Or perhaps there’s an entirely different story gimmick in play that we have no clue about yet?

We don’t have much to go on here, so it may be better to give our brains a rest and just wait until the game is finally released. We’ve only got a month left to go here in Japan… <3

Exclusive Interview: J’Nique Nicole

Shortly after SQEX updated the official  site with the English version of the new theme song, I was intrigued to find out as much as I could about the vocalist.

The quality of her voice reminded me a lot of the Japanese singer AI. I looked into it some more and came to the conclusion that this wasn’t AI, but probably an entirely different vocalist than we’ve heard before.

A week later, I was able to attend the NieR Music Concert & Talk Live concert and we learned the name of the new vocalist: J’Nique Nicole.

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Ever since then, I had been working on this interview and, being delayed by many personal ups and downs in my life, I feel badly that it’s taken me this long to put the final touches on this to share. So, for everyone involved, I’m very sorry for working so slowly.

Then, without further adieu, please enjoy the interview:

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Famitsu Interview – August 18, 2016

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Like the theme song, there will be multiple versions of songs

—You received a warm welcome at last year’s Paris Games Week, but how do you think that compares with the “NieR Fever” in Germany? Although this hasn’t been discussed by the press yet.

Saito: The members of the media have brought up the music and expressed their fervent desire to have a concert hosted in Germany. The whole world is enamoured with Okabe-san.

Okabe: No, no, no! I thought the people in Germany were just being nice, but I’m still very grateful. Although putting on a concert overseas is just a dream. (haha)

Saito: Our staff has expressed their enthusiasm to do another concert, but I’m afraid they’d be more wishy-washy if we actually did it. (haha) Putting on a concert in our home country was hard enough. (haha)

Okabe: Yes, it was pretty rough. (haha) Not only was it rough for me, but it must have been really hard on the concert staff who gave it a real concert feeling that spring. So, compounding everything for an international concert…… I’ll keep on dreaming. (haha)

Saito: Well, if sells well, we could make it a possibility.

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Famitsu April 25 Interview

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◼︎ Let’s take another look at NieR Replicant since it’s been released on Playstation Now.

Saito: Sorry for the sudden inconvenience, but Yoko is running a little late…

Oh.

Saito: But, we can start without him. (haha) You can add in his comments after the fact wherever you like. (haha) Or maybe just put them in bold.

Alright. (haha) So…… Now that the previous game is available through Playstation Now, may I ask your thoughts on it as you look back at it once more?

Saito: I’ve heard here and there that there are some people who’ve heard the soundtrack from the first game but never actually played it, so with in the works, this is a great opportunity for them to try it out. It’s absolutely not necessary to play Replicant in order to play Automata—we’ve made sure of that—but still we’d love for more people to give it a try. It will only be available for a limited rental period at a reduced price, though. Even still, we’d love to get more people to experience it. I think there may have been many people who stopped playing after the A Ending, but if you hang in a little longer, the story gets much fuller from the B Ending on, so I really hope you try it out!

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After Concert Interview

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This is an interview conducted after the Music Concert & Talk Live by multiple outlets, each one coming from the same material, but releasing slightly different versions. The following is a translation of the review by Game Watch.

  • It’s also interesting to note that, although there may only be one interview, multiple venues covering it may release differing results, quotes included.

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NieR: Automata – New Information and First Reveal of Live Gameplay

As we approach the 6th anniversary of the original, at long last, the “NieR Music Concert & Talk Live” will be held this weekend on Saturday, April 16. Although music from the first will be the main focus of the concert, we will get the first chance to hear the new theme song as well as additional information about the game and its story. New information will be discussed during the “Talk Corner”.

Information regarding the new information with Producer Yosuke Saito, Director Yoko Taro, Composer Okabe Keiichi, Character Designer Yoshida Akihiko, Game Designer Taura Takahisa will be reported on Famitsu.com at a later date. This is the portion of the interview that relates strictly to the concert.

Please look forward to the May 5th, 2016 issue of Famitsu, on sale April 21, for an 8-page spread on: Automata detailing the additional information not included here.

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Famitsu Interview with Yoko Taro and Yosuke Saito

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—What did you think about everyone’s reaction to the new “NieR” announcement at E3 2015?

Yoko: There were a lot of people talking about “NieR” on Twitter from within Japan after the announcement, and I felt like the reaction we got from overseas was from a specific nitch of fans, but after the announcement, many foreign fans were saying how much they loved; I was really shocked. I couldn’t have imagined how much people were going crazy over the news.

Saito: It’s really surprising, huh? Like, where were they all hiding…? (haha)

Yoko: No matter how loud they scream, in the end I sort of doubted whether or not we could actually sell it… (haha)

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Dengeki Online Interview with Yoko Taro and Yosuke Saito

This is an interview with Producer Saito Yosuke and Director Yoko Taro conducted by Dengeki in Paris, France at the “Paris Games Week”.

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**Is there more than one playable character?**

—How is the development of the game going thus far?

Saito: We’ve still got a long way to go, but as far as action games go, that’s just about been taken care of. We’re currently fitting in the various RPG elements.

Yoko: I’m satisfied with where the action is at this point, but I’ll let Platinum Games decide what they want to do with it.

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NieR New Project – Famitsu Staff Interview

A couple days ago, Famitsu released the online version of their staff interview with the developers behind the new title. This interview was originally published in Issue No.1385 of Famitsu magazine, released on June 25. These are my notes that I took while reading the article.

Front row (R to L): Yoko Taro, Saito Yosuke Back row (R to L): Okabe Keiichi, Taura Takahisa, Yoshida Akihiko

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