Sometimes it takes a left-field designer and action game about robots that you’re supposed to play over and over again to push sci-fi gaming forward
In 2014, game designer Yoko Taro gave a talk about the creative process behind his cult PlayStation 3 title Nier: Replicant. He called the talk “Weird Games for Weird People”. That is the best possible description of what he makes.
Taro is famous for the eccentric persona he presents to the world. He rarely shows his face in public or interviews, preferring to talk from behind a sock puppet or the eerie wide grin of a mask. Yet his approach to design is weird only insofar as it’s rare for someone to understand that games about killing hundreds of people shouldn’t end happily or heroically. He always asks us to extend our sympathy equally to flawed protagonists and victims alike. The video game equivalents of low budget B-movies, his projects have never sold well, have never been well funded and have always lacked graphical polish. They ship with their technical seams showing. But even at their weirdest and most frustrating, they possess a unique kind of heart, and extend a rare kind of trust.