Winter 2023 is around the corner, and one of the heavy hitters in the coming anime season is looking to be NieR:Automata Ver. 1.1a., an adaptation of the popular video game NieR:Automata by PlatinumGames Inc. Set in our world during the year 11945 AD, Earth finds itself at war with an invading force of aliens utilizing machine constructs to subjugate humanity, which in turn have turned to create military Androids to defend themselves. But fans often question, who created the Androids in NieR:Automata?
Many of you readers are probably curious about the exact origins of the central Combots (anyone plays Tekken?) beyond a broad explanation of their creation at humanity’s supposed hands. And the easy answer for who exactly created the specific YoRHa Androids we’re talking about is actually Zinnia, who was a male Android himself. But things are always a little more complicated than that. NieR:Automata is unlike any game we’ve ever played before and so, its lore is just as enriching and convoluted. I mean, it isn’t just getting an adaptation for no reason.
There is a lot of history to comb through here. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned from this deep dive into the franchise’s creator’s brain, it’s that Yoko Taro is an unhinged artist. No, seriously. Yoko Taro cares very little about his creation’s accessory details. And it feels like he knows just how much money he can siphon from folks willing to gain an extra crumble of knowledge regarding his works. Both of those combined and, well, you have a certifiable zeitgeist on your hands.
With that said, let us plunge into all those burning questions you readers might have regarding who or what is responsible for the creation of the Combat Model Androids we will see in the show, what is the cause of the alien invasion, what is the state of humanity in a world over 9000 years from now, and more. So, who created the Androids in NieR:Automata? Well, strap in as we explore a setting that builds itself off multiple video games, in-game collectibles, radio dramas, and a musical, I guess. Because this Lore Analysis is going to be a wild one!
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The Origins Of NieR:Automata Are A Separate Game?
For the sake of brevity, we won’t be diving heavily into the sources that were used to establish the setting, though it’ll still take some time to cover everything. NieR:Automata‘s origins can be found all the way back in Drakengard, a video game released in the halcyon days of 2003. This was also the game that marked the debut of Yoko Taro’s directorial and writing career.
The plot of the game itself is the usual fantasy fare of scrappy underdogs facing off against an invading empire, albeit with some, shall we say, extreme departures from the usual tropes we expect of our protagonists. The story itself ends in one of five possible scenarios, but the one that is relevant to us is the fifth ending, which is the one we’ll be focusing on. The long and short of it is that our protagonist, Caim, and his dragon companion, Angelus, chase the game’s final boss to what appears to be early 2000s Tokyo where they engage in a climactic battle using the secret arts of Rhythm Games.
Yes, you read that correctly. The Final Boss is just a Rhythm Game section where you match the beat to damage your foe. Think Tap Tap Revenge, but the stakes are too high. In any case, after a hard-won battle, Caim and Angelus are blasted out of the sky by fighter jets and perish, in addition to getting skewered by Tokyo Tower as the remnants of the monster they just defeated start to break away. A bit of a downer ending, perhaps? Well, sadly it won’t exactly be a comfort knowing that, somehow, it gets worse.
Drakengard Paving The Way For Androids In NieR:Automata:
As it turns out, the breakdown of the Monster catalyzed something, alongside the addition of perhaps Angelus’s corpse. Both of these things combined started to cause the spread of a new disease that began to spread wildly around December 2003. The disease causes the infected to turn into statues of a shade of white resembling pillars of salt, leading to the disease being named White Chlorination Syndrome. I know, I know, but I promise this is relevant.
Because when 2004 hit, the cases of those infected by the syndrome going into berserk fits upon their transformation started occurring. Instead of dying like expected at the time, they became these rabid monsters with no independent thought, just pure instinct. Over the course of the next decade, the situation became even direr as these berserk infected people began to congregate themselves into a proper army known as the Legion, all to seek out humanity’s end. Blockades and even nuclear bombardment weren’t enough to stop them from spreading across the globe, leading to the beginning of mankind’s last chance at survival finally sprouting. Meet Project Gestalt.
Project Gestalt And How It Led To NieR:
Utilizing the research they had gathered by investigating Angelus’ corpse, humans managed to develop a way to separate the soul of a human from its body. This was in tandem with their learning how to integrate souls into objects. Both of these things eventually led to the development of artificial bodies known as Replicants, with Androids serving as commanders.
The Androids were there to look after what would be Project Gestalt’s end goal: Utilizing an army of Replicants led by Android commanders, to get rid of the infected hordes of Legion. What this would mean is that Legion itself would be wiped out while the remnants of humanity would undergo the separation of their souls until a time comes when it would be safe for them to reunite with their assigned Replicant bodies.
It wasn’t a perfect solution, by any means. But this was humanity’s last hope of survival. In a way, it led to the preservation of life itself, meaning that while Legions and Androids fought, humanity would be safe until it could reemerge. But it also meant that, for the time being, humanity was effectively dead.
While the extermination of White Chlorination Syndrome was successfully achieved come the year 3287, the Replicants had, at this point, developed sentience. Hell, they even had their own unique cultures, which played a huge role in why the reunion of Gestalts with their Replicants was prevented. Following this, a spike in sudden rejection of souls and an increasing number of Gestalts going berserk due to being rejected was observed.
To counteract this, plans were developed between various Gestalts and the remaining Androids to initiate a forced reboot which would reintegrate Gestalts at the expense of the Replicant’s newly developed consciousness. Thus, the events of the game Nier would take place during the execution of this plan but would ultimately fail, resulting in humanity’s eventual extinction of both Replicants and humans by 4198 AD. But this is also what created the Androids in NieR:Automata, in the first place.
This Is Why Zinnia Created The Androids In NieR:Automata:
It is because of this extinction that we finally get to NieR:Automata and the YoRHa Androids coming into the picture. Following the events of NieR, the population and creation of Androids would start to decrease as their manufacturing factories began to shut down, starting their decline toward extinction.
The state of the world would have remained peaceful given the lack of major conflict, at least such was the case until the invasion by an alien force on July 4th, 5012. Faced with this conflict, the Androids began to fight a losing war of attrition against the Invaders, the lack of success on their part being attributed to the loss of humanity and no longer having something to fight for as a result. Yes, because not only was humanity gone, but aliens decided they now have a stake in this planet overrun by machines. Safe to say, humanity didn’t stand a chance.
So, who created the Androids in NieR:Automata? Well, due to everything that had happened, a lone Android by the name of Zinnia would begin work in 11937 AD to develop combat Androids from the cores of the alien invader’s machines, thereby negating the usage of ‘proper’ androids for combat and simply reusing the alien’s resources against them.
But to that, a lie was told. Because, amazingly, Androids needed motivation to complete their goals, just like any human would. And so, they were given a false incentive. By programming these new YoRHa Androids with the belief that humanity was still alive on the Moon, it would encourage them to keep fighting even when the original Android population would go extinct.
And from then on, well. This is how we get to meet the mysterious 2B, and her journey through a Dystopian Earth during NieR:Automata, the video game. Safe to say, this anime adaptation of NieR:Automata is going to be a fascinating watch, thanks to such a detailed backstory courtesy of Yoko Taro. It’s a lot, but here’s hoping it results in an anime worth diving into!