NieR Staff Discusses Music Creation; Ar Tonelico Even Mentioned

Several integral staff members of the NieR series were recently interviewed by Shuhei Yoshida. These individuals, director Yoko Taro, producer Yosuke Saito, and composer Keiichi Okabe, answered many questions and provided various anecdotes regarding the games and tangentially related topics.

One such central topic was how the music compositions for NieR came to be. Following the releases of the first two Drakengard games on PlayStation 2, Taro reached out to Okabe, who did not work on those titles at all. While the two did not share much of a professional history, they did actually go to the same university, where they first became acquainted.

That preexisting relationship was the basis for creating the NieR Replicant soundtrack since Taro could also comfortably make numerous requests and directives. In fact, Taro would even send Okabe YouTube music videos for the NieR music to potentially sound akin to, which is obviously not something that can occur in a strictly professional relationship.

Taro wanted the music to be “composed in layers,” with them altering based on in-game conditions, requiring strenuous trial and error. Further, he also yearned for the NieR Replicant soundtrack to have vocals from the start, causing some struggles as Okabe believed the vocals would interfere with the in-game dialogue. So, he decided that the songs would have varied versions comprising lyrics and instrumentals. This choice was refined throughout development and eventually became one of the primary facets of identity for NieR.

Afterward, Taro notes how this compositional design choice was not too common back then, citing Shadow of the Colossus and even the Ar Tonelico series as examples. These games’ usages of such ideas were some of the only examples the team found as they were in the midst of producing NieR Replicant’s soundtrack. Specifics aren’t dived into, but it’s pretty cool to see that, even if minor, a more niche property like Ar Tonelico possibly influenced the creation of the NieR series’ most defining trait.

For those unaware of what Ar Tonelico is, it’s a JRPG series originating on the PlayStation 2 where unique beings called Reyvateils would sing, transforming their vocals into energy that empowered the party during combat. The franchise is truly one of a kind, boasting some of the most standout soundtracks in gaming as a whole. If only Koei Tecmo and Gust would revive it…

Anyway, you can view the full English-subtitled segment of this interview below:

NieR:Automata The End of YoRHa Edition is now available for Nintendo Switch worldwide.

The game has a physical release with a reversible cover, and it is not a Cloud version. It includes all existing DLC and new NieR Replicant & Re[in]carnation costumes.

NieR:Automata was initially released in 2017 on PlayStation 4 and PC, with an Xbox One release in 2018. The game follows characters named 2B and 9S, who are agents of Yorha, an organization tasked with various combative and information-gathering missions. This entry became highly popularized for its storytelling and characters in a fusion of action, exploration, and shmup elements.


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Orpheus Joshua

Random gamer equally confused by the mainstream and the unusual. Fan of JRPGs, Action, Platformers, Rhythm, and Adventure titles.