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- NieR: Automata
Square Enix’s Nier Automata released to universal critical acclaim exclusively on PlayStation 4 last year. It subverted expectations and pushed the envelope on how stories can be told through the medium. A year later, the title has finally made its way to the Xbox One as Nier Automata – Become as Gods Edition. There’s no reasonable excuse for any JRPG fan to miss out on it now.
Nier: Automata Xbox One: A Niche Market
Though more than 14 months have passed since the JRPG’s initial release, this port is a bit surprising – even with its popularity – considering the market it targets. It goes without saying that Microsoft’s console hasn’t exactly enjoyed the same success in Japan as its competition has with the current console generation. Less than 100,000 Xbox One units have been sold in the four years its been available there. This has discouraged many Japanese studios from developing on the platform lest their creations net poor recognition and lackluster sales. Less creative endeavors taking place on the platform in Japan means there’s no viable pool of quality titles to port.
Yet, even within the Xbox fan base there exists a community of players who long for more games from the Land of the Rising Sun. Division Head Phil Spencer has gone on the record to say that Microsoft is, at the very least, trying. He has even gone so far as to personally meet with companies overseas. It may seem like the man is fighting an uphill battle as far as this generation is concerned. However, the effort is a step in the right direction. It caters to fans clamoring for more Japanese games abroad. It also lays the groundwork for Xbox’s next iterations. This ensures that titles from the East aren’t completely wiped off the platform in the future.
Nier Automata Xbox One: More JRPGs to Come?
This endeavor has manifested to some degree recently, as Microsoft displayed a host of Japan-centric games at E3 this year. This includes Jump Force, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition, and Devil May Cry 5. Of course, there was also the announcement of Nier Automata arriving on the platform. This edition comes complete with 60 frames per second and every piece of DLC released for the title so far.
Given the huge success the game has experienced so far on PlayStation 4 and PC, Square Enix’s move may seem as a no-brainer. Considering Xbox One’s fickle market consumption when it comes to Japanese games, however, this wasn’t an obligation. This is apparent especially considering that the profit motive may be negligible for a company as large as Square. In some ways, Nier Automata’s port to Xbox One feels as if its a test. Are titles outside of mainline Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts III worthwhile on the platform? It’s a bid to see if Microsoft’s push is as financially sound as it is a means to spread goodwill among the vocal otaku community.
Nier Automata Xbox One: Speak With Your Wallets
Microsoft’s appeal to a wider fan base will be in vain should consumers not actively buy what they’ve been demanding. In order to encourage developers like Square to continue releasing titles like Nier Automata on the Xbox One, fans need to speak with their wallets. That’s not to say that extremely niche games like Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet need to be consumed by everyone. They are, by nature, meant to appeal a very dedicated fan base within the Japanese-centric community.
Nier Automata, however, has a much broader appeal. It’s designed to require almost no previous knowledge of the previous entry in the series and of the overarching Drakengard franchise as a whole. The prospect of delving into the lore that makes up this world is there, of course. Nothing is obligatory aside from actively picking up the controller and playing the game.
What lies in wait is a fantastic blend of 2D platforming, bullet hell, and hack and slash gameplay. The game never ceases to let audiences down with its signature over-the-top PlatinumGames action. What’s more is that it’s confident enough to weave a story in between these gameplay elements. It subverts expectations as to what kind of narrative it will portray with its familiar depiction of an android’s relationship with its human counterpart. The result is a title deserving of the cult classic status it has been ushered to, a game worthy of praise outside of the JRPG sphere that’s normally reserved for it.
Nier: Automata on Xbox One – Just Go Buy It Already
Xbox One fans need to put their money where their mouths are if they want to encourage publishers like Square Enix to keep releasing niche titles on the system. More consumption from audiences overseas will encourage smaller companies like Level-5 to at least consider porting their games to the system, so long as the creation costs outweigh the financial risk. To top it off, Nier Automata is a fantastic title accessible to people outside the established otaku community. This is not only an excellent opportunity to send a valuable message, but a chance for more people to witness all the “glory to mankind” that Automata has to offer.
Have you played Nier Automata yet? Are you planning on picking it up for Xbox One? Let us know in the comments below!