- See also: Nier
Nier Gestalt (ニーア ゲシュタルト, Nīa Geshutaruto) or simply NIER, as it is known outside Japan, is an action role-playing video game developed by Cavia and published by Square Enix. It was released in 2010 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in Europe and North America, and only on the Xbox 360 in Japan.
A separate game was also made exclusively for the PlayStation 3 and for the Japanese market, known as Nier Replicant. The game is based in the same world and is only be different in regards to Nier's appearance and his relationship with the girl Yonah. Nier Gestalt was simply titled NIER in Europe and North America, as it is the only version released there. The game was released in Japan on April 24, 2010 and North America on April 27, 2010.
Nier continues off the fifth ending from the game Drakengard.
The story of Nier begins in the summer of 2049 in the ruins of an unidentified city. A prolonged snowstorm envelops the region, trapping the few survivors in a gripping cold with little shelter and minimal food. Two who have made it through the onslaught of climate change lie hunkered down in the remains of a grocery store-a father and his daughter. The girl suffers from an uncontrollable cough, while her weary father weighs a fateful decision. The mysterious book lying on the ground between them taunts the father with its power to help. He only needs to hand over his soul to receive the tome's power. A number of monsters known as Shades appear and the father fights them off to protect his daughter with the help of the book. After defeating the Shades the child grows sicker.
The story continues some 1,312 years in the future where a man named Nier endures a similar struggle. His only daughter has succumbed to a violent cough and must remain in bed while he searches for a cure. Though much time has passed, the world in which this father and daughter resides is, in many ways, one of a simpler time. Villagers live in modest homes and work together to ensure a better life for their community. The entire village knows of young Yonah's illness, and lends their support by hiring Nier for numerous odd jobs and errands. Some would say the work is beneath a man of his caliber, but he holds his head high and does whatever he can to provide for his daughter, all the while hoping that the village's wisest member, Popola, and her twin sister Devola can discover a cure.
One day, Yonah leaves to seek out the Lunar Tear flower her father told her about, and may have gone off in search of the Lost Shrine where Popola told her where they grow. Upon searching the Lost Shrine, Nier stumbles upon a talking book capable of wielding magic, calling itself the Grimoire Weiss. The two team up to defeat the army of Shades and two living guardian statues to save Yonah. It is discovered that Yonah is suffering from the Black Scrawl virus, which is linked to the Shades. This partnership with Weiss allows Nier to use magic, and the two begin their quest to search the lands to collect all the Sealed Verses that Nier hopes will give Weiss the power to destroy the darkness and save his daughter. In their search they encounter the hot-tempered, foul-mouthed Kaine, who is herself part-Shade, and a young boy Emil, whose eyes petrify anyone that gazes upon them. Their quest sees many hardships, culminating in Kaine becoming petrified in order to seal a deadly Shade beneath the library, while Yonah is carried away by the master Shade, known as the Shadowlord, who carries his own book, Grimoire Noir.
Five years later, since Yonah was carried away, Nier has neither given up hope that she's alive nor doubts for one moment that he can find her again. Times have gotten hard for the villagers during these intervening years. The gates to the village remain shut at all times, and food is scarce. News from the outside world seldom makes it to the village because of the increased number of Shades in the neighboring plains - even many of the animals that used to graze in the southern and northern plains have fled the area. The other big difference is that the Shades have become far tougher to defeat, even for Nier. They are outfitted with plate armor and helms, and wield swords. The world is in turmoil, and the Shadowlord is behind it all.
Emil believes he has discovered the key to removing his curse as well as unpetrifying Kaine, and he and Nier journey to a lab below Emil's mansion, where Emil remembers his past: he and his sister Halua were the subjects of experiments into weapons research being conducted under the mansion as part of the "Gestalt Project". His sister, "Number 6", was utilized to create the "ultimate weapon", while he, "Number 7", was kept in reserve. This weapon - his sister - is a large, disfigured skeleton-like creature, and is ultimately defeated by Nier, but not before Emil has to seal away her power. This has the unfortunate side-effect of transforming a devastated Emil into a similar skeleton-like body that floats above the ground. However now he can see and wield his own form of magic. After unpetrifying Kaine, and defeating the Shade, the three set out to find the parts to a keystone that they believe will help them locate the Shadowlord and Grimoire Noir.
With the pieces in place, the team returns to the shrine where Weiss was originally found, in order to defeat the Shadowlord. They encounter the twins Popola and Devola, who reveal to them that all of the remaining humans on the planet are not in fact humans, but Replicants, or "shells", from the Gestalt Project. Faced with its own destruction over 1,300 years ago by a virus, mankind created the Gestalt Project in an attempt to extend human lives by transferring their minds into duplicate shells, free of disease. The project was initially successful, but the Replicants began to exert their own consciousness, and gradually became human entities of their own without the original human souls transferred into them. The Shades that Nier and people have been fighting are actually the remains of humans from long ago who have succumbed to the virus, their aggressiveness due to an overwhelming desire to return to a real body. The twins fight against Nier and his friends, but when Devola is killed Popola threatens to destroy everything until Emil sacrifices himself so that Nier and Kaine can continue.
Nier, Kaine and Weiss reach the Shadowlord's chamber and, after defeating Grimoire Noir, they discover that the Shadowlord is the original "Nier" as seen in the game's prologue, who was the primary test subject for the Gestalt Project, and driven by an identical desire to protect his daughter. Having taken Yonah, he has given the original human Yonah her Replicant body, but this Yonah realizes that she cannot keep it, as she hears the Replicant Yonah calling for her father. She vacates the body, and Nier and the Shadowlord do battle. During the fight, Weiss loses all his strength and disappears, leaving Nier to fight the Shadowlord alone. After defeating him, Nier and Yonah are reunited. However without their souls, the Replicants are doomed to extinction.
- Nier - the main character of the game, he is an older man described as being an "unyielding protagonist" who is trying to find a cure for the Black Scrawl virus which has infected his daughter, Yonah by any means. He is voiced by Jamieson Price in the English version.
- Kainé - a scantily clad, NPC swordswoman accompanying Nier, she has drawn media attention for being a hermaphrodite. Though originally rumored to be a character exclusive to the Japan-only Nier Replicant, the third trailer for NIER showcases an audio-only monologue of Kainé berating Nier's book companion, Weiss. She is voiced by Laura Bailey in the English version.
- Grimoire Weiss - a hovering, magical tome, Grimoire Weiss serves as Nier's access to magical spells (known as Words in the NIER lexicon), new melee attacks and weapon upgrades. Though Nier rescues Weiss at the game's outset, his motives are suspect, a Square Enix representative commenting that "Defining Grimoire Weiss as good or evil is a difficult question, and one that the player will only truly understand after playing through NIER." Trailers have revealed other sentient books in the NIER universe. He is voiced by Liam O'Brien in the English version.
- Emil - a quiet, young boy who turns anything he looks at into stone. He joins Nier after trying to find a cure for his eyes. Eventually he is transformed into a skeleton being, but retains his soul.
The game was first teased in the Official PlayStation 3 Magazine and Official Xbox 360 Magazine, before being officially unveiled in June 2009 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2009 as simply Nier for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. On September 9, 2009 Japanese gaming magazine, Famitsu , said that the version of Nier shown at E3 2009 was known as Nier Gestalt and would be released exclusively for the Xbox 360 version fueling speculation that the PlayStation 3 version of the game was cancelled. However on September 15, 2009 Famitsu unveiled Nier Replicant which would be a PlayStation 3 exclusive version of the game and that it would be different from Nier Gestalt only aesthetically. For now, Gestalt will be the only version of Nier to be released in Europe and North America on both the PS3 and Xbox 360. Square Enix announced that this was because they believe the younger Nier will appeal more to the Japanese audience, while they believe the older Nier will appeal more to Western audiences. In Europe and North America, Gestalt simply goes by the title NIER.
The combat and action elements of Nier were inspired by the God of War series of games, which the directors both enjoyed. While the games had not been as popular in Japan as in North America, the two felt that the idea of having boss fights with different combat styles than the regular battles was an idea that would appeal to players in both regions. The changing styles, as well as the occasional changes in camera angle and movement, were meant to "accentuate [the] gap between real, modern scenery and the fantasy world" as a tie-in to the game's story. The game was meant to appeal to older players; it was intended as an action-RPG for an older market than Square Enix's action-RPG series Kingdom Hearts. This influenced the decision to have a main character in his 30s, as well as more blood and swearing than typical in a Square Enix RPG.
Bosses and words were named after fairy tales because of Nier's original plot. The basic premise was: the world within picture books actually exists, and the heroes have to defeat the villains that came from the picture books.
There has been one downloadable content available for the game, "The World of Recycled Vessel."