NieR: Automata: Breaking down the franchise for the future and reflecting on the worlds of Yoko Taro
The Word of God is deceitful
NieR: Automata and the end of humanity.*
Those who played through the NieR: Automata demo know that the upcoming game takes full advantage of Platinum's over the top flair and Yoko Taro's knack for mindf*cking the audience. There was something mind blowing about literally fighting the stage, as the factory 2B, our new protagonist, was exploring transforms itself into an obscenely large robot. The shenanigans didn't stop there.
The demo's ending completely destroyed expectations fans had coming into it, and created more questions than it answered. Where does this demo fit into the timeline? Are 2B and 9S truly androids? Why are they not allowed to express emotion? If 2B and 9S die at the end, who do we control when the game comes out? What is the true state of humanity?
Yoko Taro claims that both NieR games take place in that same world, but at vastly different time periods. This is easily seen when comparing dates between the two games: NieR Gestalt took place around the year 3465, and the Nier Automata demo takes place on March 10, 11945. That's not a typo, that's just an age we'd never see in most human media. Something's not right though…
NieR lore currently states that Gestalts, the actual humans of NieR, go extinct in the year 4198, and aliens arrive on Earth in 5012. This doesn't seem to fit with NieR: Automata, where the humans are said to have fled to the moon when the war against the aliens' living machines turned sour. The aliens didn't arrive until almost 800 years after the functional extinction of humanity. How did humans flee to the moon if they went extinct?
I've got a theory on this.
A new Genesis?
Emil is still around.
In Nier: Gestalt, Emil is an ancient human that was experimented on to create an ultimate weapon. These experiments granted him seemingly eternal youth, and incredible magical power. Emil is not a Replicant, has no Gestalt, and is seemingly the only pure human left alive after the events of NieR: Gestalt. When Gestalts died out in 4198, all of the Replicants would have died as well due to Black Scrawl disease, but none of this would affect Emil. This can be seen by the fact that he survives well into the events of NieR: Automata.
By the end of Nier: Gestalt, Emil is the only known entity that possesses the innate ability to cast magic, which comes from the world of Drakengard, as previously mentioned. More specifically, the magic used by Emil has ties to the Cult of the Watchers, the group responsible for summoning the beast that would eventually crash into Japan and infect the Earth with deadly magic particles.
It's important to remember Emil's magic and its ties to the Cult of the Watchers, because we later see one of NieR: Automata's major new characters, Eve, sporting the symbol of the cult. It's possible that Eve's twin brother Adam also possesses the symbol. This is an important point for my theory.
Adam and Eve are both listed as humans, and possess magic powers tied to the Cult of the Watchers, but the only living creature that was human and had those very same powers was Emil. It's my belief that Emil is the origin of humans in NieR: Automata, a new Genesis for humanity that's alluded to by the names of Adam and Eve.
Furthermore, I would speculate that the aliens arrived on Earth, and through Emil, revived the human species. Thousands of years later, this would lead to conflict between the new humans and aliens. However, that's just my theory, and soon time will tell if it holds up as well as my Dark Souls theories.
What do you think the inevitable twist will be in NieR: Automata? How do you feel about Yoko Taro's philosophy on video game stories and their incorporation into game design? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.