Nier: Automata, we interviewed the creators of the Nintendo Switch conversion

Nier: Automata, we interviewed the creators of the Nintendo Switch conversion


Nier: Automata is a miraculous game to say the least. The success achieved by this unpredictable sequel has exceeded all possible predictions, reviving a name previously known only by a very small niche of fans, projecting Yoko Taro (and her antics) among the most appreciated authors of the globe.

Thanks to the very successful mix between the capabilities of PlatinumGames and Taro himself, of course, but in general Nier: Automata really seems to be a blessed title, so much so that we still talk about its possible secrets and a further sequel is expected.

The only thing that went wrong, in this series of perfect centers, was the conversion for PC, full of problems on certain configurations and long ignored by the developers; shortcomings that have led a fair slice of players to be understandably doubtful about the quality of the Nintendo Switch version of the game.

The work, however, has not been entrusted to the latest arrivals: the team that took care of it is known as Virtuos, and is known around the world primarily for producing some of the most solid Switch conversions around. Luckily their perfect streak of successes didn't stop with Nier: Automata, because it's a really superfine job; so superfine that he took Yoko Taro and company out of the quarry where they normally develop (or get drunk ... it's not clear if you ask the well-known author) for interviews on the Switch version of Nier: Automata. We then asked some usual questions, and we even managed to get sensible answers. Well, in most cases, at least.

A chat with the team

Nier Automata: the trio in all its glory. From left, Yosuke Saito, Keiichi Okabe and Yoko Taro As mentioned, the Virtuos port is a work of the highest level and despite having gone from 60 FPS to 30 it maintains an enviable stability, linked to significant technical interventions, which are normally only noticed if you make a direct comparison between the various versions of the games. The most important changes were to the vegetation (now no longer polygonal) and to the lighting, but the graphic impact of this version remains absolutely comparable to the others, and there is also some healthy anti-aliasing that was missing elsewhere.

Curious to understand how they had dealt with this effort, we asked Shi Qiang, the Technical Director of Virtuos if it was difficult to work with Switch, and he diplomatically replied that it was "complicated, at times", specifying however, that for that very reason his team prepared itself in a meticulous way to complete everything. It seems, in fact, that the developers have outlined all the "hot spots" of the game (the most problematic ones to manage on a new hardware at the optimization level), and even developed a dedicated data tracking tool for optimization. At that point they dedicated themselves to the CPU, GPU, shaders and completely reworked the polygonal models, the lighting (which is in fact different in the port, but still successful), and various other assets. One of the most retouched elements would seem to be the boss battles, with interventions of all respect to the particles and the effects to be as fluid as possible. In short, a work that is anything but superficial.

A fight by Nier: Automata on Switch Yoko Taro's contribution was ... less indispensable. He told us in all sincerity: "I fell asleep, and when I woke up I found that they had finished everything. The guys from Virtuos who worked on the conversion are geniuses."

That after all these years the game still has such an important place in the hearts of gamers, however, is undoubtedly a testament to its quality. Intrigued, for example, by the rekindling of the discussion on Automata linked to the appearance of modded content on the web, we asked the producer, Yosuke Saito, what he thought of the story and if he was surprised to see all this movement around the brand again. "It could be the intriguing and mysterious world of Yoko Taro, the charismatic 2B and 9S of Akihiko Yoshida, or the eccentric melodies of Okabe" he replied, partially bypassing the question of modders, "I believe that the way Automata has balanced all of these factors is the main reason fans continue to love him even today. " function ready (fn) {if (document.readyState! = 'loading') {fn ()} else {document.addEventListener ('DOMContentLoaded', fn)}} ready (function () {window.addEventListener ('message', function (event) {let target_origin = ''; if (event.origin! == target_origin) return; if (typeof == "object" && ( "type") && == "embaff") {let embed_id =; if (embed_id == '1494') {document.querySelector ('#_ aff_embed_1494'). setAttribute ('height ',;}}}, false);}) Curious to understand how all this success had changed Yoko Taro's life, we then asked how his life as a video game creator was after Automata. The answer? "I drank too much and my liver is no longer functioning properly." How much wisdom from good Yoko. So much wisdom.

In search of sensible answers we therefore moved on to Keiichi Okabe, one of the most talented composers in the history of video games in our opinion, and by now an unmistakable signature on every video game he is a part of. Intrigued by Okabe's tendency to win many more prizes than the author of the game, however, we decided to find out more about the situation with a laconic "how many times a day does he point out to Yoko Taro that he has won more prizes than him?" .

The protagonist of Nier: Automata Okabe replied with discreet grace, specifying that he could not boast in Yoko's face - because otherwise horrible things would happen to him - but that he had chosen the crafty passive-aggressive attitude of the man who only points this out by teasing every now and then. However, he is very happy with the awards he has received, because even if he doesn't make music to be awarded, they imply that a lot of people appreciate his work.

Continuing the discourse on music, Okabe then also described part of his modus operandi when creating a new soundtrack: "the melody must obviously be connected with what happens on the screen" he explained, "but I always ask the director what his intentions are related to sound design, and I base everything I do on that vision. There are sorts of models to follow to choose which music to use in various situations, and often using them is effective, but I believe that knowing the orthodox approach and trying to deliberately create a different kind of music is part of the sublime essence of being creative, so I try to balance the two. "

A beautiful scene from Nier: Automata Well, now of the end this was an interesting interview with the Virtuos developers and Okabe, while Yoko Taro was saying random things, yet it's always nice to talk to this team of crazy and talented creatives when something new comes up about their works. And who knows, maybe it's not long before the announcement of a new Nier. We can always hope.

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