e3 2015

Nier Director Talks About Needless Violence And The Show 24

by Ben Reeves on Jun 20, 2015 at 08:52 AM

Game developers draw inspiration from everywhere: other games, movies, comic books. However, usually you expect a game to draw inspiration from a source that is similar to the product they’re making. Nier is a future dystopian Japanese action-RPG, so it seems a little strange that its developer cites Fox’s very popular espionage thriller as an inspirational source.

Creative director Yoko Taro is an admittedly shy man. During Square-Enix’s E3 2015 press conference, Taro was so nervous to take the stage and talk about his new game – the next entry in the Nier series – that, in order to calm his nerves, he wore a giant moon-shaped mask of his own design to cover his face. However, this introspective developer has plenty of interesting thoughts on games and pop culture, and during the show we got to take a few minutes to chat with Taro about his philosophy of game design.

When talking about personal influences, Taro said, “The drama series 24 really surprised me. If you look at the shows that were released before and after 24 there is a big difference between storytelling and composition. You can see how much it has influenced story writers after 24 was released. Personally, I don’t like 24 all that much, but you can really see how it’s influenced people and in that sense it has influenced me as well. I’m just not a big fan of it.”

Creative director Yoko Taro onstage during Square-Enix E3 2015 press conference

When asked what he thinks about casual violence in video games, Taro added, “In our games, we try to show real people, and it makes sense that in war people die. I don’t think there is a need to tone down that violence, because war is horrific and that’s the way of the world. For me, to control a character who goes through something as brutal as a war and to then to have them smile and say, ‘yeah we beat the enemy!” That feels strange and just doesn’t seem right to me. That depiction of violence in games is what I don’t think is right. I think it’s more realistic to have a character defeat or kill an opponent and then sit and have to struggle with the realization that they took someone’s life.”

Taro is currently working on the untitled next entry in the Nier series for PlayStation 4, but Square-Enix is keeping that title mostly under wraps at this point. Expect to hear more about this as we get closer to the Tokyo Game Show this Fall.