This year’s Square Enix E3 2016 presentation largely centered around Final Fantasy 15, and rightfully so – the game took a decade to develop and has been heralded as one of the best JRPGs in recent memory. Unfortunately, however, and perhaps unjustly, that meant Platinum Games’ NieR: Automata took a backseat on the grandest gaming stage of them all. Ever since gamers caught a first look at NieR: Automata, they’ve been intrigued by NieR: Automata‘s grim industrial world and mysterious android protagonist, and news about the upcoming title has been difficult to come by.
That will likely change in 2017, however, if the past few weeks have been any indiciation. Not too long ago, Square Enix announced that there would be a link between Final Fantasy 15 and NieR: Automata, a statement that showed a strong belief in the latter’s development progress. Today, developer Platinum Games upped the ante even further, unleashing a 4.4 GB demo of NieR: Automata in the PlayStation Store. The demo also got an updated description once it went live:
“Join androids 2B and 9S and their ferocious battle to reclaim a machine-driven dystopia overrun by powerful machine lifeforms…NieR: Automata is a fresh take on the action role-playing game genre that gracefully blends mesmerising action with a captivating story.”
That description is consistent with the development narrative that has been told by Platinum Games, with the studio often emphasizing in press releases that it wants NieR: Automata to redeem the original game’s failures. The demo, which is available for free, features action combat that is more akin to Bayonetta than a traditional action-RPG, and the early response from those who have gotten their hands on the demo is a positive one. That’s good news for Platinum Games, as the developer would like to bring NieR: Automata to Xbox One as well if there is enough demand for it.
NieR: Automata represents a big step forward for the series, as it attempts to correct the many mistakes that were made in the original NieR while also preserving its core sense of identity. Fans of the original game praise its story and character development as its biggest selling points, and NieR: Automata will have to carefully balance all of the innovations it is bringing to combat with the things that made the first NieR memorable in spite of its flaws.
Those interested in checking out what should be one of the first big RPG releases of 2017 should head over to the PlayStation Store now to begin downloading their copy of the demo. First impressions matter a lot, and if the buzz surrounding the demo is any indication, NieR: Automata could be a sleeper hit waiting to happen – perhaps Square Enix and Platinum Games will be able to combine to top the former’s incredible 2016 after all.
NieR: Automata will release in North America on March 7, 2017 for PS4, with a PC launch scheduled for sometime in 2017 as well.