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NieR was a pretty complicated game, which told a story of a father, who has to find a cure to save his daughter. Like many great games, it’s a little bit more than that. It became sort of a cult project and people fro all around the world were waiting for a sequel. Nier: Automata is the next game in the series, which is being produced by Square Enix and PlatinumGames. On the official blog, PlatinumGames actually introduced us to some of the people, who are building this incredible project. Here’s a look at some of them. We’ll center on the artistic staff, but if you’re interested in others, feel free to read their thoughts at the official blog.
Environmental Art – Yasuyuki Kaji
Hi! I’m PG environmental artist Yasuyuki Kaji. Most of my work on NieR:Automata involved creating the landscapes you’ll find throughout the game’s various stages.
This game is made up of several spacious stages that all connect together seamlessly, meaning you’ll be able to walk around freely. One especially large stage, placed right in the center of the world, is the City Ruins. Just as it sounds, this area is a large, ruined metropolis, overgrown with plant life.
You’ll be able to move all across the complex terrain of the City Ruins, climbing to the top of crumbling buildings, or going inside them to explore. We’ve made them a place that players can jump and dash all over as they enjoy exploring and fighting among the ruins!
As we designed the overall feeling of the world and all of its landscapes, we decided they should feel like destinations that players would want to actually go and visit. The City Ruins are no different. We designed it so that players would really want take in all the sights of a crumbling city being slowly reclaimed by nature. And of course we also have to reflect the overall feeling of NieR’s world in it as well, carefully working out the lighting and sense of space together with Director Taro Yoko.
Environmental Art – Shohei Kameoka
Hi, my name is Shohei Kameoka and I’m in charge of environmental lighting for NieR:Automata.
We’ve designed the environments in NieR:Automata with an eye towards emphasizing silhouettes through the use of open space. I’ve done my best to use striking, chic color combinations to give the entire world a fashionable impression. The desert area in the screenshot above is a particularly good example of how we’re using open space – when you play the game, please pay close attention to how it feels to explore this vast, open area.
Environmental Concept Art – Kazuma Koda
I made this concept art of an abandoned city by painting over a screenshot of the area as it looked in the unfinished game. Environmental concept art like this serves as a solid guideline for the team that makes all the environmental models. I originally painted this cityscape with much darker colors – though the weather was always pretty nice! In the end, I decided that it didn’t match the overall feeling of NieR:Automata very well, so I brightened it up to what you see here.
Here’s a distinctive landscape! Rows and rows of nearly identical housing units stretch across the desert as far as the eye can see. To be honest, I’m not crazy about having to draw the same thing out over and over again like this in 2D, so I started making this piece by digitally placing models of the buildings in 3D space and painting over that. To keep it consistent with the overall game world, I brightened the scene up and toned the colors way down until it’s nearly monochromatic.
Character Modeling – Hito Matsudaira
One thing I think you’ll notice when you’re playing NieR:Automata is how convincingly we’ve captured the feeling of velvet in the main characters’ clothing.
Even with the powerful physically-based shaders used in modern games, unique fabrics like this are still pretty difficult for character modelers to create. Still, I think all our hard work paid off in realistic, good-looking velvet.
As a 3D modeler, it’s tempting to overemphasize the look and feel of an individual object to make sure its essence clearly comes across. It’s taken a lot of careful tuning to make sure every character model fits the overall mood of NieR:Automata without overdoing it.
I hope that you’ll pick up on all the subtle differences and details of the crumbling world all around you as you play the game. We’ve put a lot of effort into getting them just right!
Visual Effects – Shion Nakajima
The most painstaking effort I’ve personally put into this project was nailing the appearance of the projectiles. I’ve tried to respect the familiar visuals of the original NIER while also creating effects that’ll look good in the crazy barrages of bullets you’ll see in NieR:Automata.
The bullets in the original NIER weren’t just simple transparent objects – They had a mysterious look that made them appear to be solid, real things. This made them highly visible, and the bullets in NieR:Automata remain true to this design.
One major new addition in NieR:Automata, though, is that each projectile is also a light source. Any objects within a certain distance of a bullet are lit by it, which makes it easier for players to figure out how close they are to danger.
It’s a little difficult to convey this to players at home without getting into the specific details, but putting massive amounts of enemy fire on the screen when each of many bullets is lit this way involves a lot of processing power. I owe a lot to the programmers who made this feature for us! I know it took them a lot of hard work.
You’ll be able to play NieR:Automata in 2017 on PS4.