The Nier: Automata church mystery has come to a close

Nier Automata church

And no, it’s not Drakengard 4

The great mystery of a secret church in one Nier: Automata player’s copy of the game is over. And, as it turns out, it’s not some grand marketing scheme for a new Nier or a long-hidden secret. It is a mod. But the end result is pretty impressive nonetheless.

To backtrack for those who missed it the first time around, a player by the name of “sadfutago” was conspicuously seeking help in advancing through a church they found in Nier: Automata. The thing is, this particular part of the Copied City had never been seen before, and no one was able to replicate it.

As a potential new discovery in a well-loved series like Nier, it obviously caused a stir. Cue several days of fevered speculation, memes, and new users flooding into the Nier modding Discord.

For days, modders scraped the game’s files, trying to figure out what was going on. Onlookers questioned whether this was all a stunt. Yoko Taro told fans to ask his publisher. And late at night, a ping went out: after sharing bizarre new screenshots, sadfutago was going live on Twitch for the “finale.” It was all coming to a head.

A church in the wild

I was both in the Twitch chat of this channel, and in the modding Discord, at the time this all went down. Messages were spamming all the way down through both chats, as users eagerly anticipated the answer to the burning question: is this marketing, mod, or something else?

Well, ultimately, the answer is mod. Even so, the ramifications of that are pretty exciting.

After showing a video of 9S returning to the church, opening the chest, fighting an enemy, and answering the bird’s questions. Then 9S heads into an underground area with massive figures looming overhead. And then back outside, 9S fights massive robots, before the curtain is pulled back. You can find an archive of the stream here, but essentially, it was all revealed to be a mod; created by three modders, and showcased completely in-game.

The church, and the various images and videos, were the creation of three Nier: Automata modders. DevolasRevenge designed the map, Woeful_Wolf developed the tools necessary in Blender, and RaiderB created the scripting tools.

Sadfutago’s posts over the past few days were a way of jokingly teasing out this modding breakthrough. As the mod team told Kotaku, it’s been quite a whirlwind of a week.

The upside is that these tools are going to eventually be released to the public, and could open up some really cool doors in Nier: Automata modding. Creators in the space seem excited to work with the tools. And if they can create something as cool as this, then maybe that’s the real win.

Eric Van Allen