Even Yoko Taro has responded to the quest
There’s been quite a commotion in the Nier fandom the last few days. Following several video posts from one player, other Nier: Automata players are now on the hunt for a secret church area.
The discovery lit up this week, but actually started a while ago. Reddit user u/sadfutago posted to the Nier subreddit two months ago, asking how to “open the church” in Nier: Automata. And in follow-up posts, sadfutago asked more, providing more details and images. And then, what really blew up, was the video of it.
This might seem banal, but the thing is, this church is not a known area. No one playing Nier: Automata knew what sadfutago was talking about. This door just seemed to appear for this player, during the A2 section of the game, and led to quite a startling locale.
As user u/xxk_ shares on the Nier subreddit, the modding community has been looking into this for a while. But the most recent post, combined with word of mouth on social media, brought on a swarm of attention.
The community currently has a few points to go on, as sadfutago says they are playing a 1.0 copy of Nier: Automata, on a PlayStation 4 that has been disconnected from the internet since starting the game.
The hunt for Nier church
As xxk outlines, modders have not discovered any evidence this exists. There hasn’t been a successful attempt to replicate it, as of this writing, and assets like these also don’t exist. The church pews and first door in the Copied City, for example, are not found elsewhere. And existing geometry at the location doesn’t indicate it would support a door.
That said, if this is a mod, Nier modders say this would be the first time anyone has managed to do something like this. They say it would be a “relatively IMMENSE undertaking for a single individual” to accomplish.
In essence, we have a band of players and fans feverishly hunting for a scene that may or may not actually exist. And adding onto the pile, new footage was released today, showing a cutscene (albeit with recycled voice-over) and some easy speculation fodder.
The user has posted a follow-up video showing the secret area in far more detail. It features an unseen cutscene on top of everything else. The voice-over used is recycled from elsewhere in the game. The game also for some reason has the "item" and "door" arrow prompts disabled. pic.twitter.com/UvDpTE2hQ0
— Lance McDonald (@manfightdragon) July 26, 2022
Nier-ly all secrets
So yes, this has essentially consumed the Nier fandom. The Nier modding Discord has seen an influx of new users looking for the latest updates. Modders are attempting various means of recreation and experimentation while also trying to get more info from the elusive original poster. And speculation runs rampant as to what the church could mean, what these assets could be, or how this is all happening in the first place.
Today, even the Nier development team started commenting on it. Producer Yosuke Saito tweeted about it, saying “Eternal mystery…” And director Yoko Taro quote-tweeted a video of the section, referring to his Twitter profile.
Do you want to know about my insight?
In that case, you can find answer at my twitter profile. Thank you.
— yokotaro (@yokotaro) July 26, 2022
His Twitter profile, by the way, says “I can’t answer about any products. Please ask publisher.” (We have reached out to Square Enix to ask about the secret church door.)
This has spurred on theories of this being an elaborate marketing scheme or ARG, possibly around Nier: Automata‘s Switch debut this coming fall.
At this point, just about anything’s possible. It could be an elaborate hoax, or some incredibly obscure development relic, or some viral marketing scheme. I’m not ready to count out anything, especially with a developer like Yoko Taro. The wheels are far enough off the tracks that a fake-out in the community Discord spun up a heated chat spam, ending in a Rick Roll. At this point, the sheer fervor is just as entertaining as the possibility of new discoveries.
Either way, it’s a great reminder that Nier: Automata is an extremely good game. So good, in fact, that players can still be whipped into a frenzy over a secret church door years after its release.