With a series as strange as Nier, it’s not too surprising to see the internet ablaze thanks to recent posts on the Nier subreddit from user sadfutago. The Reddit user recently introduced fans of the series to new means of modding Nier Automata in substantial ways, including adding new maps, models and gameplay tweaks that go beyond simple texture changes.
Unfortunately for longtime fans of the Nier series, Sadfutago’s Reddit account began by posting relatively innocuous but intriguing clips that left many speculating on an announcement regarding a new game. Initial footage showed off what appeared to be a previously undiscovered secret tunnel located in the Copied City area of the game. Eventually, Sadfutago, over several posts, took players on a wild goose chase culminating in a room filled with assets taken from Drakengard 3 before revealing the whole thing to be a hoax and a means to show off their modding prowess.
Despite recent developments ultimately boiling down to talented modder shenanigans with the Nier Automata game engine, their inclusion of Drakengard 3 assets has made it clear that fans still remember the original series that inspired Nier in the first place.
For those unfamiliar with Drakengard, the series first began life on the PlayStation 2 back in 2003. Set in a distinctively medieval world, Drakengard, or Drag-on Dragoon, as it’s known in Japan, follows the exploits of a man named Caim in his fight against an evil empire. The 5th ending of Drakengard culminates with a portal that connects Caim’s world to that of a contemporary Tokyo, ultimately setting up and leading into the events of the original Nier.
“Drakengard 3 most closely resembles Neir in its aesthetics and themes…”
Prior to the breakout success of 2017’s Nier Automata, which helped elevate the series out of cult status and into the mainstream, the original Nier game, like Drakengard before it, can be best described as enjoyable but somewhat uneven and even shallow at times. Thankfully, 2021 saw the release of Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139, which took the 2010 cult classic and modernized it with new visuals, improvements to gameplay and even a new ending, bringing the game closer to the standards set by Nier Automata.
Like the original versions of Nier, the Drakengard games overall have been less than stellar in terms of gameplay. 2013 saw the last numbered entry into the series with Drakengard 3 on the PlayStation 3, which like Nier, features a fascinating world, characters and overall narrative, marred by poor framerates, repetitive gameplay and bland level design.
In other words, like the original Nier, Drakengard deserves a remake or some kind of follow-up that brings it closer to the standards set by Nier Automata, or at the very least, a game that’s not only intriguing but fun to play as well.
“If Square Enix needs more convincing, the recent events on the Nier subreddit alone should be enough to greenlight a future project…”
Drakengard 3, in particular, which came out after the original Nier game, introduced players to Accord, a time-traveling android who seemingly is cognizant of events of both the Drakengard games and the Nier series. In fact, in Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139, one of the loading screens, which features diary entries, reads, “A merchant passed through the village today, and she just kept pulling the craziest stuff out of her big bag! She said her name was Accord.”
Drakengard 3 most closely resembles Neir in its aesthetics and themes, with the game’s protagonist Zero seemingly cut from the cloth that brought players Kaine and 2B, respectively. A future Drakengard game, be it a remake, reboot or another spinoff title, can and should use the character Accord to bridge the two distinct worlds of both series.
Getting to play as Zero again in a Platinum-made follow-up wouldn’t feel too out of place. Unique gameplay additions exclusive to the Drakengard series, such as flying sections reminiscent of the Panzer Dragoon series, allow potential new entries to feel different enough from Nier while offering the opportunity to expand gameplay elements further beyond what was capable on the PlayStation 3.
With the mobile game Nier Reincarnation already featuring characters from past Drakengard games, a precedence has already been set, allowing for a proper sequel, remake or new entry into the series to make its debut on current-gen consoles and PC, respectively. If Square Enix needs more convincing, the recent events on the Nier subreddit alone should be enough to greenlight a future project that sees the return of Drakengard proper.