This is an interview conducted after the NieR Music Concert & Talk Live by multiple outlets, each one coming from the same material, but releasing slightly different versions. The following is a translation of the review by Game Watch.
- It’s also interesting to note that, although there may only be one interview, multiple venues covering it may release differing results, quotes included.
ーーNow that the concert is over, may I ask what you thought about it?
Okabe: I’m really glad it went as smoothly as it did. I also said this in the pamphlet, but it’s incredibly rare for “NieR” to be showcased on its own at a paid event like this. I felt a lot of pressure, worrying whether or not the audience would enjoy the show. But now I’m convinced that we were well received. I am very pleased.
Saito: I watched the show as any other audience member and thought, “Man, if I was only here as an audience member, I would completely be in tears!” I am really curious how many people were actually moved to tears. I looked around a couple times and could definitely see many people with teary eyes. Witnessing such raw emotion like this I feel very glad that we were able to put on this show.
Ishikawa: This is my first time to meet “NieR” fans through this event since I’ve joined the “NieR:Automata” team, but I’ve really come to understand how many people love and hold this series so dearly to themselves. I also enjoyed listening to the music. We still have quite a ways to go with the recordings, but I really think this is a title in which we’re all able to put our energy into. I certainly will not give in easily.
Kadowaki: Personally, “NieR” is a series that I can’t easily forget, is forever timeless, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I feel like I was able to listen to these beloved themes with everyone together, sharing the same feeling and emotion. This really was a special moment for me. I hope that I am able to play the role of Emil with all my might, for as long as it takes, until sometime we can see Nier again. I appreciate your support. Thank you.
Yoko: ……Everybody’s being so serious! Um, Kadowaki-san said that she’d do her best with the recordings, but I have yet to write much of it; and as far as Kadowaki-san’s lines are concerned, I’ve only completed about 12.8% of that, so… I feel like “If I don’t get my act together, I’m totally going to die”. Today’s concert was amazing. This year I’m turning 46, and Okabe-san will be 47, right? I’m very happy to have these great memories to carry with me to the next world. I am so grateful to meet my “later years” with such overwhelming emotion. Thank you very much.
Taura: I am completely and thoroughly pleased. I’m really looking forward to the next event for “NieR:Automata” if we are so lucky. I feel like I’ve gotten the necessary energy to keep working hard.
ーーIt’s been about six years now since we last spoke about the music. At the time, did you think that after 5 or 10 years you would have this sort of response?
Okabe: Absolutely not. (haha)
Saito: I don’t think I’m alone in this, but, while the game was under development, I couldn’t stop listening to the “Blu-bird” song from the soundtrack.
Yoko: A feeling you never get tired of.
Saito: So in the end, I didn’t really know whether it was a good or bad thing.
Yoko: Until the very last moment, things didn’t connect well with “NIeR”, story wise. We were just putting all our effort in the creation of the data without really understanding how the story or music would fit together. Then finally we were like, “Ooh, so that’s how it fits! Let’s release it now!” Once it was released I felt like I didn’t want to ever look at it again. Honestly, I had no idea what sort of game it would become, but then I saw word that people were really enjoying it. I felt as though my feelings of “Ah, that went well” were finally reconfirmed.
Saito: The two of us talked about how shocked we were to hear so many good things at last year’s E3. Whatever lack of confidence I might have had then has since been wiped away by today’s concert and the sheer number of fans who came out to enjoy it.
Yoko: At the time, a member of the international media labeled Okabe-san’s music as “one of the most influential songs of gaming history”, but he was like, “Nah… That’s quite an overstatement.” (haha)
Okabe: You have the lowest evaluation, Yoko-san.
ーーThe original NieR soundtrack has been so globally praised; does that put some extra pressure on you for producing the new soundtrack for “NieR:Automata”?
Okabe: I think Yoko-san agrees, but simply because the last soundtrack was received so well……doesn’t mean we really want to do the same thing again. We want to do or add something new, although we know that many people have a fixed image of what to expect from a “NieR” soundtrack. I think at the beginning fans might be feel a little unease, but as the story progresses, I think they’ll appreciate the meaning and new elements…… I will be working very hard to that end. I’m really feeling the pressure now. (haha)
Saito: In the last six years, have you gotten any other requests to write anything similar to NieR?
Okabe: Yes, I have, but I was never really sure exactly what makes something sound like NieR. No matter how much I try to make something sound like NieR, I can’t help but fall into the same patterns. I’ve tried to preserve the feeling of NieR while also incorporating some new elements. But then I was even more confused about what comprises the sound of NieR. As for “NieR:Automata”, I want to use the elements that we set in place with the original title and blend them together with some new elements.
ーーI’ve heard word that you’re interested in hosting a similar event to this concert in the future for “NieR:Automata”. Is this true?
Okabe: We mostly played songs from the original “NieR” for this concert but also included some new elements for “NieR:Automata” as well. For example, the song sung by J’Nique-san was written with a very different feeling that I’m sure some people were confused by it, but I hope that people will come to realise that “even though this is new, it’s still NieR”.
Saito: Just as long as we don’t go broke doing such an event, for example an event that includes some sort of promotion. But we’re unable to offer anything if we continue to operate in the red. Even if we’re barely breaking even, we’d really like to do something that fans will enjoy.
Ishikawa: I was the only member of the cast at the event besides Kadowaki-san, so I was very happy to have this chance to speak.
Kadowaki: I am very glad simply to merely participate in this event. (haha) I am very pleased to have the chance to work with a new team of talented actors. Even if it’s a funny little song, I really hope there will be some new themes for Emil.
Yoko: I want to do a play! Please! ……I really can’t avoid wanting to do something for the stage, but since it’s impossible to do if we’re just going to go broke in the process. But as long as we have the support, I would like to make it a reality!
Saito: We’ve got a schedule to follow, so let’s think about that after finishing the game!
(Yoko stares intently at Taura-san)
Taura: What, me?! Um, uh… Although we were able to show a little bit of the gameplay this time, there’s only so much that we can showcase right now. I wish we could have shown off more.
ーーWhat did you think about the hall here at EX Theater Roppongi? Did you think it was too small or maybe too big…?
Saito: As far as size, I thought this hall was just right. I thought it would be large enough for us to talk on stage and show video on the backdrop while still being able to see the expression from the audience. Actually, I cannot say that we never discussed the possibility adding up to 2-3 separate shows.
ーーThat’s very true. I heard that it was quite the battle even getting tickets to attend this single show. I’m sure fans would appreciate it if the next event could be held in a larger hall.
Saito: Yes, you’re right.
Yoko: Yeah, but we’ve only gathered this many people because it’s been so long since the last event. If we get carried away too soon, we might burn ourselves out. I’d like to do something like this at a live house for about 30 people, then maybe come back here for another show.
ーーWho decided on what songs to perform or who to include in the concert? Was there a reason why you didn’t keep “NieR:Automata” for the very end?
Saito: We included the “NieR:Automata” cast in the pamphlet. Unfortunately, we couldn’t showcase much music or information from “NieR:Automata”. As far as choosing the songs, Okabe-san thought about how to balance out the songs for a full-length concert, right?
Okabe: We added a little extra rhythm to the BGM of “Song of the Ancients”. We also had to think about how we should perform it. I thought it was vitally important to keep “Song of the Ancients – Fate” for the end, though. Along these lines, we often thought, “Alright, so if we do that then,…”
ーーHow did you come about choosing J’Nique Nicole for the new theme song?
Okabe: Emi Evan’s songs in the previous game had such a strong, vibrant color or fleeting imagery to them. We wanted something that would contrast that feeling with a much more direct sort of power, so we thought about asking J’Nique.
ーーIt appears as thought there may be pros and cons to Yoko-san’s idea for the ending of “NieR:Automata”…
Saito: Well, the ending this time is pretty severe. (haha)
Yoko: No, it’s surprisingly good!
Saito: (haha) We look forward to fans getting a first-hand glimpse of which it will be. “Will it be a happy ending, or a bad ending!?”
ーーI see. (haha) I’m looking forward to it! Thank you very much.