In an interview at GDC (Game Developers Conference), Nier Automata Director Yoko Taro described himself as “broken.” Yoko Taro is well known for keeping his appearance hidden in recent years, adopting a mask of No.7’s face to keep his face hidden from cameras. While it was not always this way Taro has professed that he hates his visage being spread and thus would rather his games be the talking point, rather than himself. Yet when talking to Kotaku, Taro’s description of how he perceives himself is nothing short of shocking, particularly when taking into consideration of Nier Automata’s success and the overwhelming support of Taro’s fans.
Though perhaps it shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Taro is well known for his self-deprecating humor, often coupled with a sly jab here and there. He recently joked that he wished game developers would stop creating games, solely because he was tired of the competition that they brought against him and PlatinumGames. This is in complete juxtaposition with Smash creator Masahiro Sakurai, who believes that with new individuals involved in the industry, it will inspire growth and change that will keep video games alive and kicking for a long time to come.
Discussing the difference between he and Sakurai, Toro had this to say: “Sakurai is more like a Warrior of Light. I’m more like a necromancer. So we’re certainly different.” When asked to elaborate, he said he was “probably rotten from the core.” When asked if he truly felt the way he did, he clarified “I was never really asked this, so I’ve never thought of it, but I do just have a negative outlook on things.”
Being the director of a successful game like Nier Automata would have many argue that Taro has no real reason to be as negative as he is. This is something that Taro himself admits. “But this past year, my Twitter account passed 100,000 followers, and the game I directed exceeded 2.5 million sales, so when I look at those numbers, I think I could be considered a person who’s succeeded in life. But I still see myself as someone that hasn’t succeeded in life. When I thought of that, I thought I might be broken in some way.”
It is sad, if somewhat humbling, to hear Taro speak that way. He has been a prominent director of video games even back in the 90’s, finding success in the 2000’s with Drakengard and Nier in 2010. And then 2017 happened and Nier Automata released, earning critical acclaim and “selling over 2.5 million copies in its first year.” Still, Taro’s words hold weight and shows that even with success, perception and self-confidence doesn’t necessarily come with it.
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