Like the theme song, there will be multiple versions of songs
—You received a warm welcome at last year’s Paris Games Week, but how do you think that compares with the “NieR Fever” in Germany? Although this hasn’t been discussed by the press yet.
Saito: The members of the media have brought up the music and expressed their fervent desire to have a concert hosted in Germany. The whole world is enamoured with Okabe-san.
Okabe: No, no, no! I thought the people in Germany were just being nice, but I’m still very grateful. Although putting on a concert overseas is just a dream. (haha)
Saito: Our staff has expressed their enthusiasm to do another concert, but I’m afraid they’d be more wishy-washy if we actually did it. (haha) Putting on a concert in our home country was hard enough. (haha)
Okabe: Yes, it was pretty rough. (haha) Not only was it rough for me, but it must have been really hard on the concert staff who gave it a real concert feeling that spring. So, compounding everything for an international concert…… I’ll keep on dreaming. (haha)
Saito: Well, if NieR:Automata sells well, we could make it a possibility.
—I really hope you can make that a reality. As for the European media, what have they asked you the most?
Saito: “How is this game different from the last?” That has been the most frequent question.
Okabe: At this point, I haven’t heard all of the music for NieR:Automata yet, but people often ask me to compare the music in both games.
—Just in time for Gamescom, you were able to officially release Emi Evan’s version of the theme song originally sung in English by J’Nique Nicole.
Okabe: At the concert last April, we were able to give NieR a new feeling with the theme song sung by J’Nique Nicole, but this time with Emi Evans singing, I think it will conjure up the classic feeling of NieR when you hear it.
—You’re so right. Emi’s vocals with the solo piano… That’s her futuristic language, too, isn’t it? With words that don’t come from any single country, this version does feel more like the previous NieR.
Okabe: It was the same with the first game—how we had different people singing different versions of the same song—but by releasing Emi’s version, we’d like to impart the message that we are attempting to do the same with NieR:Automata. So, in this case, I think you can get a general idea of what we’re trying to accomplish here.
—The other day, you told us that you wouldn’t be able to come to Gamescome unless you finished your work beforehand, so… Since you’re here, that must mean……?
Okabe: Um……actually, I worked through the night the day before I left for Germany and managed to get through it, but……
Okabe: I gave Hoashi-san the rest and got on a plane. (haha) When I landed in Germany, I got an e-mail from him that said, “This is what the data sounds like. Are you sure this is okay?” (forced laugh) “You forgot to record this part of the song!” was another message, so I guess I’ll work on those details when I get home. We’re nearly there.
Saito: And then we have adjustments for the actual machine. Things like getting the timing right within the game, or completely removing an audio channel……things like that.
Okabe: When we compared J’Nique and Emi’s version of the theme song, J’Nique’s voice was much more powerful, so we had to work on the mixing to get the right balance. Originally, we thought that in order to accentuate the difference between the two vocalists, we needed to make some parts more powerful. Once we put it into the game, however, we thought, “Well, maybe we should balance it out a bit.”
—So, the game is scheduled for release at the beginning of 2017, and at the moment, the soundtrack is just about finished. In terms of game development, would this be considered early or late? The completion of the soundtrack?
Okabe: (quietly) I think……it’s pretty late.
Saito: No, as far as I know, this is pretty typical. But in the case of NieR, we’re not just letting songs play as they are; there are many adjustments being done within the game, so this adjustment period is vital to the end product. In any case, putting a beta track into the game and swapping it out later with a finalized version is much more difficult.
Okabe: We had hoped to finish everything sooner to give us more time to make the necessary adjustments.
Saito: You’re about two months behind schedule. (haha)
Okabe: Unfortunately, I think I’ve caused some headaches for Yoko-san and Platinum Games because of this. I’m very sorry!
Saito: What’s important is the quality.
Okabe: For all the time that I’ve made you wait, I’ve actually been able to impress myself with the material that we’ve made. I think the music is a great motivator to help propel Yoko-san and Platinum Games to develop games in the future.
Regarding the announcement of a steam version
—Shortly before the start of Gamescom, we received news that FFXV is being delayed to November 29, 2016. Do you see this as having any impact on the release of NieR:Automata in early 2017?
Saito: At the moment, this does not influence the release date.
—Is the development going well?
Saito: Yes. Just, we’re aiming for a worldwide, simultaneous release (which includes the PC version), so the Japanese version will be fine; we’re just worried that we’ll have problems with the QA (Quality Assurance) for the International version.
—I understand that you’ve announced a PC version available on Steam.
Saito: There are many international PC gamers out there, which is why we decided to make the game available on that platform. We’re also planning on making this version available in Japan, too.
—Will the PC version be 4K (Ultra HD)?
Saito: That hasn’t been decided yet, but we’d like to try for it. Simply, NieR:Automata runs at 60fps, but to run at 4K with 60fps, you might have to beef up your computer……
Aside by the Editor: The speculated PS4.5/PS4K/Neo console supposedly has the same specs: 4K w/ 60fps.
—And lastly…… Will you try to pull off a similar ending as the original NieR?
Saito: The more everyone asks “Are you going to do that again?!” or “You wouldn’t do that, right?!”, the more Yoko-san might plan on doing something. I’m not prepared to comment on that, though. (haha)
Okabe: It’d be like, “Don’t tempt me, don’t tempt me!” (haha)
—Can you imagine anything beyond something like that?
Saito: If everyone expects it, then you come to expect it as well, no? (haha) Yoko Taro is that sort of guy.
—What do you have planned for TGS this year?
Saito: Up until now, we’ve been focusing on showing off the action, so we’d like to release a new trailer that specifically demonstrates the RPG elements of the game, so definitely look forward to that.
—Will we be able to try it out at TGS?
Saito: We’d really like you to have the chance to try out the game, whether it’s through a demo or other means. But I think it would be best if you could play at least 30-40 minutes of the game rather than just 10 minutes or so. We’d really like you to get a good feel of NieR:Automata.