This year, Square Enix released two games, Nier Gesalt and Nier Replicant, in Japan that features the same exact character with totally different appearances. Only Nier Gesalt was released in the US because of its beefed up, badass looking main character.
Nier Replicant has the “girly” looking version of Nier, the main character, and Gesalt has the muscle bond Nier in its version. Why did Square Enix decided to make two versions of the same game? To appeal to the varied audiences.
Check out the interview below of publisher Square Enix’s Executive Producer Yosuke Saito, and developer Cavia’s Nier director Taro Yoko from Inside-Games (translated by Sankaku Complex):
Saito: We were initially planning an Xbox 360 target, which we expanded to PS3 multiplatform afterwards. However, the production process turned out to be quite storied.
Yoko: At first we were just doing the youthful protagonist version (which became “Replicant”), but Square Enix started taking talking about international markets during development.
Yoko: In fact, an argument erupted at Square Enix’s Los Angeles studio, over whether a thin looking male character [hereafter translated as “girly”] was possible for the game. For the North American consumers, it was decided to provide a macho main.
Yoko: A heated discussion ensued once the American and European staff were gathered to discuss it. It was said that “A slender and girly protagonist like this couldn’t possibly swing a huge sword like that, it’s ridiculous.” Certainly, if you look at American games it’s always muscle bound mains who look like they play American football.
Saito: We thought that as it’s a new IP, it really must sell, and we were persuaded [by the Japanese staff’s desire to make a girly lead] – we opted to leave the Japanese version with the girly character, and instead make two different versions.
Saito: We did realize that not all international audiences are the same though – it was thought that Replicant [the girly version] might be suitable for the French, as they have a greater appreciation of Japanese culture.
Yoko: That meeting was pretty amazing. A lot of people were arguing for making only the macho old guy version for cost reasons, and we [the Japanese developers] were saying “But if we don’t make a girly version we’ll lose heart and it’ll take even longer.”
Saito: As a result, the Japanese PS3 version only became the girly version, and both PS3 and Xbox 360 international version were the macho old guy versions.
I understand why they would make such a decision but I personally prefer the “pretty boy” version of Nier. I’m used to playing this kind of character when I play Japanese video games because of the anime-ish style. But what ultimately matters when buying a game (at least for me) is not how the main character looks, but the gameplay. Since it’s an action role-playing game, I might actually check it out (with the steroid-driven Nier).
Which version do you prefer?
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