NieR: Automata - Sacrifice and the Meaning of Kindness - Extra Credits

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Extra Credits : It’s pretty easy to make the “good guy” choices that games ask of us. NieR: Automata, however, offers an interesting choice that suggests players to be kind for its own sake, not just to please a game mechanic. Check out Wisecrack’s video: "The Philosophy of NieR: Automata!"

Triple Stabber : I see that panty shot in the thumbnail, sly

TheAlin1213 : I remember a situation from The Witcher 3. I met some thugs harassing an elf in a city. I immediately reacted and drove them away but I got no thanks from the elf. Instead, she asked me what I had done this for. She made me aware of the fact that I don't give a shit about her safety as I would leave her in a moment letting thugs come back to her. And then I realized she was right. I only wanted to have a feeling that I behaved properly. Or didn't want to see bad things around me.

Jesse Miller : "Wisecrack sent you" "Extra Credits sent you" Damnit I've been subscribbed to both for years. I'm so confused now 🤣

Sunbro : Good old Dark Souls. When you sacrifice your character to save the host. Jolly cooperation at its finest or something.

HammerspaceCreature : "I AM SO GOOD. LOOK AT HOW MANY GOOD POINTS I HAVE" would be so useful as a 5 second reaction video against half of the people on social media.

Lzy Nerd : This last fight hit me hard. SPOILERS... When I was fighting the boss and died, I had no idea that all of the messages were from actual players. I thought it was just something the developers put in. And when the game offered help, I didn’t realize it was was coming from other players. I though it was just the game saying, in a patronizing tone, “would you like me put it on easy for you?” But after a dozen or so deaths, I accepted the help. It wasn’t until the game asked me to write my own message that I understood the help I received came from other players. When I understood the many, many ships that were sacrificed to protect me came from the deletion of others save data, I nearly cried. I had no idea that I had just been flippantly using up peoples sacrifices. As soon as it gave me the chance, I had to offered up all of my save data to help whoever came next, even though I had plenty that I wanted to do and knew I wouldn’t have time to go through it all again. It was completely worth it.

Heemin Gamin' Station : Wait if multiple ships die helping you... and you only throw one ship back into the world, and some people are greedy and will keep their file. how on earth are there enough ships to keep it up? where did the very first ships come from? you look at it from the empathy angle I'm going to look at it from an economics angle... it seems unsustainable.

Aegix Drakan : That one moment took the game from a fairly competent 8/10 to me and bumped it up to a 9. It was genuinely clever. It's really rare for a game to really do something that affects me on a personal and emotional level, and this one delivered in a truly great way. spoilery bits below - - - - - I did the thing. I hesitated for a moment, but was like "I'm done with the experience. I've seen all I need to see. And this? This means something. Sign me up." Interestingly, as I was going through the game, I was thinking about how refreshing it would be to see someone get shown in no uncertain terms "Everything is meaningless", only to respond with "So what? I make my own meaning" and go on to prove that. And then that segment happened and I realized...That I could be that person. I have barely the slightest hint of regret (there was one thing I had left I could have done that I'll likely never get to do now), but I'm glad I did it :). So...I guess all that's left to say is "[I thought it was hard too.] [But in the end,] [fight for what you believe in]." And if you see my name show up somewhere unexpected, you're welcome. ;)

Alexander Reinfield : Great Video. But do we all really need to become a "good" person? Rather than accepting help from a "good" person knowing that it will cost them an arm and a leg, I prefer being helped by someone who has surplus. Or as this video said, Villagers relying on Heroes. It might not be sincere and it costs them nothing, but their sacrifice won't weigh on my conscience.

Bluespheal : Hmmm, this two videos just tell me something, I'm not the kind of person that empathizes through video-games, or at least, in-game characters, because I know they are meaningless, however, if I'd played this game, you bet I'd give my save-file, no backup either, which leads me to thinking, is there a way to make a completely artificial NPC worthy of empathy?

Erutz : I actually looked up one of the people who helped me and thanked him.

Franklin Isalguez : I supported this game on day 1 by buying it digital at full price and that is something I don't do often. The director of this game Yoko Taro said in a GDC conference something along the lines of him wanting to push his game beyond the boundaries of what we currently think a game should be or how a game should be. I think this idea is really necessary and support it to move the art of game creation forward and beyond the realm of just entertainment. In my opinion indies have been in the forefront regarding this aspect and I have tried to support them by buying digital copies of the games on different platforms, but, I also wanted to support a AAA title like this because I wanted to encourage big companies to take more risks with directors and developers with weird ideas like this one.

Facundo Galo Lopez Meyer : Short story time: I was 17 and I was doing my second run on the campaigns of Black Ops 2 on the hardest difficulty. I'm ok at the game, but definitely not good, so I spent many hours trying to do it. I was close to ending the game when my girlfriend at the time, came after school, she had had a awful day, basically her friend turned on her, so she wanted to play (she almost couldn't play FPSs) so I let her try. Every time she try to move she got killed, so I took the controller and ask for one life, and without her noticing... I changed the difficulty to recruit... Locking all the trophys for finishing the game in X difficulty, then in died and gave her the controller. I remember how happy it made me seeing how her face changed after she finished the area and started moking me. It was a really big sacrifice to me, and I couldn't let her now I did that.

FuckNuggectMegee : Off haded but the "awaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy!!" Was so freaking cute omg

John Morelock : So happy to see this moment get an EC episode, as it's what made this game special to me. See, I made the sacrifice, but at first I reasoned that I could do it without sacrifice because I had PS plus and my save was backed up. I told myself that if I wanted to go and get the rest of the trophies or see the parts that I had missed, I could just reload that back up and be set. This was right before I went to bed at around 2 in the morning. I barely slept that night. The question kept nagging at the back of my head of whether or not I would be willing to do that if my save wasn't backed up. I kept thinking about parallels of my actual life where I like to think of myself as someone who helps others whenever possible and puts others above myself when reasonable. But would I be willing to do that in my actual real life job if I was told that I had to sacrifice a 40 Hour Work Week worth of things that I had created in order to help someone out? Would I be okay with myself if I explicitly said no to someone who really needed my help, just because it would require a sacrifice of me that, in the end, probably wouldn't matter that much in the scope of my life? I came to the conclusion that I would not be okay with myself in that situation, and only after deleting my backup save did I return to cognitive equilibrium. I'm not sure any other game ever affected me to that degree.

That Annoying Redhead : Doing this thing at the end of the game (I'm trying not to spoil it) is also a good way to say farewell, have closure. The game is asking us to make the ultimate sacrifice a player could make, and it's a great way to move on. NieR Automata was the greatest video game I played in a very long time, but there are other games to discover. That said, I don't know if any game will passionate me that much in the future.

Lucas Liso : I would say that Wisecrack sent me, but I am subscribed already to both channels and I often watch videos from both so...

Brandon McDaniel : I...don't think I will give my save file when I beat the game. Not that I'm selfish or anything but I just wouldn't feel right having worked all that time to beat it and then just deleting just so that someone else I don't even know can have an easier chance. So I'm pretty sure that I'll just say no and keep my save file. I know I'm gonna get flak for this but hey, it's my choice.

John Gardner : While I really like this video and plan on trying to work true sacrifice and empathy into my D&D games, I'm still not 100% sold on the empathetic message of Nier: Automata. Kindness and empathy are as equally meaningless as cruelty and callousness in the framework of its nihilistic themes. The game is basically mocking you for thinking that your sacrifice has any greater meaning. In essence, it is saying "you think you're a good person and you can make this real sacrifice, but any significance you place on that sacrifice is an artificial construct of your mind." I still did it, and it was one of the most transcendent moments in my gaming history, but I don't think I necessarily displayed empathy. What I felt was a deep embrace of the pointless struggle to create meaning in a meaningless world both in the game and in life; it was the most profound way a video game could convey that message I've ever seen.

Hantuchblau : Of course the system isn't completely straight faced either. If the player data was deleted after helping then for each player that uses assists there would have to be 5-10 playthroughs that manage without assists.

HebaruSan : Alternately, a morality tale about the importance of off-site backups.

Christoph Poll : I did not play that game (yet...) but I saw a let's play of it. The player (a girl, she liked 9s quite a lot) was totally.... broken by this question. I really want to play that game someday... maybe just to help someone else. Sometimes, I wish this game mechanic would be there for other rpg`s too.

ComradeSpagoot : Honestly, I think this is a bad example. The game asks you to forfeit all your time spent in the game so that an AI can help a player in a very, VERY minuscule fashion in a Galaga boss fight that takes place in only ONE of the FIVE ENDINGS. A much better example would be some of the circumstances in all the main series Fallout titles (excluding 3 and 4). While you’re helping the AI in those examples, they are much better ones because the decisions you make have a certain weight to them, as the areas are written to make you care about the people and the outcome. For multiplayer, Dark Souls is a better option, where you can go into somebody’s game and help them with a difficult area/boss fight for little or no reward.

benjie Friedman : I'm a huge fan of both of your channel and was thrilled to see both your videos about the same topic and that you guys did a collab. Love it!!

Justin Smith : This war of mine?

Annieoplis : GENERAL KENOBI!

John Martorana : Sorry if this question is answered somewhere. I haven't played the game, so all I have to go on is the description in the video... Maybe someone could explain the ending a bit more to me. Is there a limited pool of people who have sacrificed saves and once that is exhausted many will likely not be able to beat the game? Or are you guaranteed that there will be enough sacrificed saves to get through it? It seems like the latter is likely (from a game design perspective), and so it would feel to me that I was less sacrificing my save for the good of others than to "pay" to have my username show up in random people's screens. Which is cool enough, and honestly I'd probably do it. I guess if that wasn't the case the well will dry up if the rate at which people beat the ending without help is much less than the rate at which they go through sacrificed saves. Is that something that has ever happened? Has anyone asked for help, but all the sacrificed saves had been used up?

OnLyStrahl : Nier:Automata = Best singleplayergame I ever played.

awdrifter3 : Someone solo'd the final boss fight, it is possible. You just need to be really good at bullet hell games.

Enkii Muto : Huh... I'm not a console player so I wouldn't know but... can't you just back up your save?

Merijn Wolthuis : Humankind is very egoistic, we help others to get a good fealing.

Satyasya Satyasya : So, i'd love to play this game, but I feel I wouldn't be playing a game, but trying to unpick and navigate some eccentric director's mind, and it bothers me somehow...I'm kinda avoiding it now.

Hanno : wait..what would I want with a save file after I beat the game? Is there a reason you cant finish everything you want to before the final boss? I´ve never started an end mission before I am done with the game.

AC4643 : When you back up your game before hand and people get salty bc they didn't think to do that, trying to defend themselves saying thats not the point of the choice

Isicera Dew : I really appreciate this episode despite strongly disagreeing with some of the conclusions. Tying "Goodness" into "sacrifice" I think is the origin of a lot of martyr like behaviors that aren't what's most aligned with improving people's lives. Is a scientist who explores fascinating opportunities for growing kidneys in the lab that loves their work less good than a person who donates their own kidney to someone in need? I think the impact of actions is way more important than the sacrifice for them, and part of what makes humans good is that we learn ways to build infrastructure so it takes less sacrifice from an individual for others to live good lives. When 90% of the population were subsistence farmers, giving up some of your food for someone else was a sacrifice that meant you or your family may not be nourished enough to survive a sickness or the harsh times in winter. I view the good of humanity in building better infrastructure to do agriculture that has reduced the percent of people that are malnourished to be far more noble than someone giving up the last of their bread. I've given away my last dollar plenty of times to people who need food since I have a strong visceral reaction to the concept that there are people who aren't able to eat. However, I have much more respect for people who have never given up their last dollar, but have found ways to consistently invest in their own financial well being enabling them to have a monthly donation to Action Against Hunger, or similar philanthropic action. It's less of a sacrifice to them and generates more value for people. I feel the fundamental flaw of the sacrifice perspective is that it views the world as a place with a limited amount of good, therefore that the most effective way to improve the good of someone else is for you to have less. I think this is in direct contrast to how humans have actually made the world a better place, by viewing good as a value that can be increased for everyone, instead of just shuffled around.

Gerley Doggo : 4:51 I see the panty shot EC, don't try and hide it

Daniel Simmons : 0:22 Undertale? Ohh.. nope...

Richard England : Before I watch the video, does it have any spoilers for routes C/D? I haven't finished it yet.

にゃあエイリアンMeowAlien : Finally an episode about one of my favorite game of all time I love you guys! 😘

El Rocky Raccoon : 2b still is sexy even with a potato-bag shaped body. *Damn.* EDIT: Bean-body sounds better. Thanks, AT7.

Chris Shannon : I find it strange that "empathy" is equated with moral goodness. Empathy is feeling what other people feel. Whether that is literal (psychic) or imagined (relating someone's perceived situation to one's experience), doing something because you feel bad for someone isn't moral. It's a purely selfish act. You already have an investment in them and you are just acting to justify or protect that investment. That can be a moral act, but it isn't a moral act because of empathy. Empathy just tricked you into behaving in a way that (might have been/) was good. However, choosing to act to benefit someone who reminds you of you is also the foundation for many acts which are despicable. It's the basis of nationalism and xenophobia and collectivism at large. Siding with people who are like you is easy. It's easy to help someone you empathise with. Because empathy is just another way to manipulate you by evolution to preserve things that are like you. Real moral action, real good has to be founded on moral principles that you begrudgingly implement when you don't want to. You wanted to make that choice at the end of the game, you did not do it even though you didn't want to. That's morality in action. When you feel compelled to make a decision you don't want to make, because you know its the right decision. Not when you find it rewarding to make the decision, not when you rationalise the decision to be the choice you feel like you have to but when these forces work against you but it doesn't matter, because the rules are clear and right and wrong aren't open for interpretation. In the end you have to bite the bullet.

Hancock's : I have been subscribed to both Wisecrack and Extra Credits for at least a year now. Great video. This video reminded me of the "Writing on Games" Nier Automata video. Have you ever reached out to him. He has some quality content.

gonira : This choice made this the most powerful video game ending I've ever played. When I think about it though, I actually doubt the impact it has on other people's experiences is really what the game tells it is. There wouldn't be enough ships for everyone if the only available were the ones of people who made the kind choice and they could only die once. Many are lost in each single person playthrough, the count doesn't match.

Harmon Lanager : That means the first guy to offer himself up must have been a badass. He got through the final boss without the option to call in help.

CH1CK3NW1N95 : "'But why do you take in a stranger such as myself?' Said Taleswapper, 'when you don't know me to be good or evil?' 'Because once, we were strangers, and good folk took us in"' -Alvin Miller, Seventh Son

Scott Gastineau : Far too few Youtubers collaborate on anything. Due to the business structure, the cultural obsession with continuous growth, and the limited quantity of eyeballs out there, it's more of a competitive than cooperative in the community of Youtubers. I am surprised and pleased to hear that a collaboration happened here. Although I have never played the game and very much doubt I will ever have time to do so, I found this video fascinating.

egoBorder : goddamn I cried so hard at the ending of Nier: Automata and now I'm crying again watching this! NO REGRETS

Your Neighbour : All of you shut up, you all know you just want to see 2B and 9S finally bone.

Astolfo : Hey extra credits... I was wondering if you could do an episode on Doki Doki Litrature Club. It is super interesting and cool to think about. Just a suggestion.