Contrary to what some companies might believe, it is absolutely possible for there to be too much of a good thing. The Nier series is a good thing, and given its initial status as a misunderstood diamond in the rough, I never, ever thought I’d be tired of seeing Nier stuff. But, following the wild success of Nier Automata… I am.
Don’t get me wrong. I want a Nier 3. I want a continuation of that universe. I want series lead Yoko Taro to have the money and the means to let his imagination run wild. To that end, I very happily welcomed a vastly-improved remaster of the original game (which I quietly, darkly sorta prefer to Automata, in a way), and I enjoyed some of the larger cross-overs in particular, like 2B’s foray into fighting games. But, sometimes, less is more. And boy, do I wish there were less Nier crossovers.
I mean, seriously. Nier content has appeared in places like SoulCalibur VI, Gravity Rush, Phantasy Star Online, Monster Hunter, Fall Guys, Final Fantasy XIV, and mobile spin-offs of series like Star Ocean and Valkyrie.
Square Enix has frequently appeared to use Nier to help new games in its own stable attain a little attention, attaching Nier characters and imagery to releases like Babylon’s Fall, SINoALICE, the previously-mentioned mobile spin-offs, and other phone games like one called Spelunker World.
Perhaps strangest of all is the franchise’s newfound home as a regular guest in battle royale games – first in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and newly announced today is Nier content in New State Mobile, a PUBG-adjacent game I’d never heard of until this collaboration. Even if you look past these games being a pretty poor fit for what Nier is, when you’ve got two different limited-time crossovers in two different Battle Royale games from the same company overlapping each other, it might be a sign you’re doing too much.
Nier is cool. 2B, Emil, Kaine and crew are brilliant. But, goodness… Can Square Enix give it a rest already? Nier was a smash hit, but when characters are constantly appearing elsewhere in a relentless treadmill of guest appearances, it sort of takes what makes such crossovers special away. Rather than a special event, they become the norm.
Regardless, it’s great to see Nier at the forefront of Square Enix’s mind. We want that, lest this series and Taro fade into the background again. At the same time, however, the sales of Automata and the Replicant remaster speak for themselves: Square Enix will make more Nier, and these mobile spin-offs aren’t moving the needle on when that production will happen or what its budget is likely to be.
In a weird way, I’d sort of like a chance to miss the music, characters and world of Nier properly before the next game, too – which is a little harder when they feel like they’re everywhere. Bluntly, it also feels like Square Enix is a lot less careful with where it puts Nier than it is with its Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest crossovers.
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It can’t be said that Taro didn’t warn us, though.
“For us, if we were asked, we would gladly say yes to anything for money,” Taro said of crossovers back in 2019, when asked by GameInformer about the chances of 2B appearing in Tekken. “We’re open to any kind of opportunities for anything, ever. Even if it’s Candy Crush, if they want to use 2B, we will say yes, please go ahead and use her.”
As ever, Nier’s creator is disarmingly honest. Maybe I should embrace it. When’s that Candy Crush crossover event?