The upcoming expansion to Square Enix’s MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV, called Shadowbringers, will introduce a wide variety of changes to the core gameplay as well as a slew of new content. And one of the most intriguing additions will be an entire raid dedicated to Nier Automata. It’s called YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse, and it’ll be a lot more than the typical crossover event, although not much has been detailed yet.
However, I had a chance to speak with FFXIV director and lead producer Naoki Yoshida during a preview event for Shadowbringers, and asked about where the idea came from, if there are any details he could tease, and how much Nier’s creator Yoko Taro is involved in the raid’s creation.
Yoshida-san stated that the crossover was driven by player feedback, and elaborated, “When Nier Automata was released, a lot of people were saying, ‘We want 9S or 2B gear in FFXIV!’ Of course, if we’re just simply having attire or an outfit implemented into FFXIV, it’s simple, it’s quick, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be fun from a gameplay perspective.”
I think it leans more towards Nier’s gameplay rather than FFXIV’s battle mechanics. – Naoki Yoshida
He continued, “Why not have Yoko-san come on board and create content that sort of meshes FFXIV and Nier together? And as a reward, you can get the gear and costumes. I feel that it would make for a lot more interesting gameplay, had we had his participation. We approached Yoko-san and asked him, ‘Would you be interested in doing such a project?’ He was happy to be on board.”
Yoko-san’s involvement is very significant, as if he is creating a whole game. Over the course of the next two years, we will continue to work with him and the team to bring content. – Naoki Yoshida
In terms of information on the content, Yoshida-san mentioned that he can’t give many details. But he did say that this raid will have a unique Nier Automata flavor, more so than you might expect.
“We do feel that it’s going to be very much in line with a Nier game and it’ll bring out Yoko-san’s sort of tastes very well. As well as the battle mechanics, I think it leans more towards Nier’s gameplay rather than FFXIV’s battle mechanics. He is writing the text and scenario script, and provided us with ideas for the boss design. And once we do come up with the visual sketches, he would review and check each piece that we bring to him.”
“Yoko-san’s involvement is very significant, as if he is creating a whole game. Over the course of the next two years, we will continue to work with him and the team to bring content. We’re really looking forward to continuing this relationship.”
If you’re not familiar with what raids are in MMORPGs, they’re usually long, continuous PvE multiplayer missions with larger parties and varied challenges like difficult multi-step boss battles interspersed with high-stakes puzzles. YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse isn’t expected to be available at the launch of Shadowbringers, as raids are typically rolled out through subsequent updates post-release over a year or two (as mentioned by Yoshida-san above) and require players to be at max level with high-level gear.
FFXIV has already incorporated crossover events with Monster Hunter–which flipped the script on game mechanics to align closer with that series–and Final Fantasy XV that involved a questline starring Noctis. Another new raid called Eden is designed by longtime game designer and Kingdom Hearts director Tetsuya Nomura. And it seems like the MMORPG is going to great lengths to do even more for Nier Automata in the near future.
As for the new expansion, I did a breakdown of the biggest changes and additions coming to FFXIV with Shadowbringers and 5.0 update, which involves many gameplay overhauls along with new Jobs and Races. Shadowbringers launches for PC and PlayStation 4 on July 2, 2019.