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

Follow by Email
Watch WISECRACK’s video: "The Philosophy of NieR: Automata!" Many video games offer you the chance to make “good” or “bad” choices, but often times these choices lack weight; you as a player aren’t emotionally attached to the circumstances, the causes, or the outcomes. Nier: Automata, however, lets players truly empathize with others in a crucial end-game choice. Check out WISECRACK: It's GAMES WEEK on Wisecrack! They'll be releasing new episodes about games all week, so go subscribe to avoid missing any of them! And subscribe to Extra Credits for more episodes every Wednesday! ___________ Get your Extra Credits gear at the store! Play games with us on Extra Play! Watch more episodes from this season of Extra Credits! Thanks for participating in this week's discussion! We want you to be aware of our community posting guidelines so that we can have high-quality conversations: Contribute community subtitles to Extra Credits: Talk to us on Twitter (@ExtraCreditz): Follow us on Facebook: Get our list of recommended games on Steam: ___________ Would you like James to speak at your school or organization? For info, contact us at: ___________ ♪ Intro Music: "Penguin Cap" by CarboHydroM ♪ Outro Music: “Beautiful Rise” by RoeTaKa

Comments from Youtube

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

saverio : "when you are plaiyng dark souls and you see a blodstain somewhere on the map where you died before" so you mean every single inch of the map or what

Advey : I did not delete my Save File the First time i beat the Game. I didnt want to give up something Incomplete, so i kept going Collecting endings, beating side-quests I even Defeated Emil's 2 Bossfights, which was insane. Then, i replayed the finale and gave up my save data To whoever got my Data, Good luck!

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

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

Justin Smith : This war of mine?

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.

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. ;)

Lukas Filippovits : A short story on this subject that I was dying to share: The Person that I helped out at the end actually added me on steam. I got a random steam friend request a couple of days after finishing the game, and my heart was filled with delight when I saw that they uploaded a couple of screenshots of my motivational message and my little ship helping them. I now have a new friend, half a world away, because of Nier. Somehow, this always leaves me in awe when I think about it.

GraveKing3473 : How has a collaboration between EC (While Dan Prime was still around!) and Wisecrack managed to slip through the cracks for me for so long? I've literally watched every Wisecrack video except for 3, now 2, and thought I watched every video Dan voiced, played, or otherwise participated in. And then I find this, a video 11 months old, that I never knew existed about a game that made me quit, not due to bad story, or mechanics, or anything else, but the fact that I knew I could never sink the time into the game to get to the actual end. It took me 4 months just to beat the first playthrough, and then I find out I have 4 more to go?

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.

Daniel Restrepo M : To Sora-Kun from Canada, if you ever read this: I did it man, yours was the first message I got. I did it thanks to you! Thank you for this!

Ren Ookami : "When making a game, the game itself isn't important. What really matters is to make players feels emotions." -Yoko Taro

Daniel Gemmell-Smith : I beat the game today and left it with a heavy heart, not only for my save but with an understanding that all of those ships were people who did the same. Thank you all. I know it's just a game but it feels like it meant so much more.

Annieoplis : GENERAL KENOBI!

Silver Golden : I finished this a few days ago, 107 hours in, after multiple endings and restarts I came to this point. I tried and tried to beat it but it literally was hell. Then the help arrived. Now the four endings prior to this had me in tears, along with the multiple intertwined stories, of how free thinking is fantastic but double edge. I made it through all of that. And died. And died and died and died. Then the help arrived, it made me feel fantastic, I COULD BEAT THIS! The first ship died, something flickered on the right hand side. Another died, and yet another flicker. Third time I saw it ____'s save was deleted. Again and again these folks took the fatal hits for me and got their files deleted in my place. That bullet hell became blurry. Eventually it stopped, can that even be called a win? Like you I know that I won't play this game again, not for lack of time but rather that the game beat me. Nier:Automata was fantastic, turning may things on their heads, but for me it is a one play game.

jarnMod : I cried for the first time in years when those guys offered the help. And when the game asked, I offered without a second thought. Maybe the way to encourage people to give, is for them to receive.

Mystic Stirling : Wisecrack sends their regards! It is time to convert to nihilism if you are not yet onboard ;P But hmm... YOU ARE NOT EXPECTED TO SURVIVE ;P

viaxon6 : Route A- Ok, so i destroy some robots and save the world, hell yeaah! Route B- so... i kill innocent robots... but at least i saved the world in the end, right...? Route C- OH MY GOD I AM A MONSTER Route D- "it fires an ark" Route E- SOU BOKURA WA IMAAAAAAAA~ (btw. note that 'credits boss' fight means that you are willingly sacrifice your pod's data to help other pod reach new planets with brothers (and 9S)... which might lead to the new apocalypse, as seen in the Route C.

Keln : Nier Automata? Best game of 2017. Never had such an experience :) The ending in itself is a masterpiece.

Tsuna : Low-key the last fight wasn't that hard, I reckon it would be possible to finish it if you were good enough (assuming devs didn't make it literally impossible, event flags etc). That said, it was really powerful having people help and knowing after that they lost their save data to help. Unfortunately I love the game more than I love the mechanic so I chose to keep my save :< If I could, I would totally speedrun the game to make a ship to help out though, or maybe after I've 100%d the game.

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

naomi schulz : I promised myself that I would never use someone's ships as a sacrifice, that I would never, ever see someone's names blip out of existence in the sky. I took the help, and I was never so disappointing in myself. I GLADLY gave my save data away.

Gratitude Happens : I feel like I have to play this game. I literally just cried with happiness watching this video

Roman Draco : The greatest sacrifice of all... Activating self-destruct so I can get sum booty!!!

Durahl : The idea behind the last boss sure is neat but when it asked me the 4th or 5th time if I really want to give up my save I was suddenly hit with the idea: "Wait a sec... How did the first person to reach the ending get past it when there obviously couldn't have been any helping ships from players before him ready?" So I said no to finish any sidequests - It's the initial thought that counts ;) That being said though... Shed some tears while playing the game... Haven't done that since watching _Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai_ ( or _Anohana_ for short )

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

David Devine : I think you make a good argument, but to REALLY connect it with the real world, there has to be ways to both scam the system and punish those scammers. That may sound weird, but I feel it's the true barrier to altruistic behavior. Living in an urban area, I've seen plenty of people sitting on the street asking for money ... the best memory is one where someone asked for money for a cup of coffee ... I offered to take them to a local coffee shop ... they refused because they wanted 'special coffee'. They, and many others, rely upon our altruistic nature to try to get something out of us that we would not normally give blindly to strangers. They are trying to scam us. This is the classic Prisoner's Dilemma. We're all better off if we help one another, but if you betray, you do even better, at the price of your partner. Imagine a Nier: Automata scenario in which a player could trick another player into throwing away their save game, not to help them against the final boss, but against some earlier event, where they 'use' you to overcome a barrier that they 'should' have been able to overcome themselves. That would make giving up your save game even more meaningful, because you don't know if they're going to be 'responsible' with your sacrifice, using it only when absolutely necessary, at the dire end, when all hope is lost ... or if they use it because they're 'lazy'. In such a scenario, I doubt many players would be as willing to throw away their save game.

Ajavisk : I played all of the game and now I am allowed to watch this video Great game. I am sad

Don b : I didn't delete my save data to help people. But I did eventually delete the game to clear space on the drive. So yeah...

TheGermanoidProject : So if you play this single player game without an internet connection, you are fked at this point. Great news. But on the other side, you can backup your save file. It's just a folder. That's how data work.

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

soyUsernameWasTaken : I don't usually do any of these... but when those encouragement messages start showing up on my screen, my tears was flowing down like crazy, i can't see anything. Probably it's the damn gorgeous music. Probably because it's always nice to know that people care. Probably because i already know that these people deleted their saves just to help me... Yeah, i'm a completionist. I read spoiler-free faqs before finishing automata. So i know damn well what was waiting at the end of that journey. But in the end, i wiped those stupid tears and smiled. Without any doubt whatsoever, i deleted my save. My 100% save where i've acquired everything in the game. Got my platinum. Best damn platinum ever in my gaming career.

Esteban Grine : Nier Automata Undertale Pony Island these three games are so important about the meaning of kindness. All of them ask you to supress your data (PonyIsland and Nier Automata) or to keep your save without never touching it again (in Undertale). These moments are crucial because they ask you to help real people (in nier automata) or characters in fictions (in pony island or undertale). They show you can actually express your feeling either to people or ideas of fictive people. These three exeamples show, sometimes, how video games are bridges to kindness.

chaosspork : "The most explicitly philosophical video game ever made." Xenosaga/Xenogears fans might argue with you on that one.

Estevan Lopez : the first time I think I encountered anything like this from a game was the original Zone of the Enders. After Jehuty gets infected with a virus ADA is comprised. It is at this point that you can only take 1 hit or you'll die. At that same time a mission pops up (one of several in the game) that asks if you can help survivors of the colony attack. It's a choice given to the player as an extra challenge but I always take it because in my mind I thought "Those people don't have the power to defend themselves against these mechs, but I do!" I take that mission every time! 😀

Poki#3 : When I learned that the save will be deleted I declined, since I had some things to finish up (interestingly you have to confirm your intention to delete many, many times, but if you say no the game immediately is like "OK, got it"). But after I did the other side quests and achievements, and after playing the entire game over again (yup) I said Yes. do get a new Title Screen though :P

Chasing Velka : "Glad you didn't miss that Optional Dragon boss fight, huh?" *silhouette of Kalameet* Man Dan is never going to live that down.

Eagle Nebula : I played it on pc during the last 2 months of 2k17 and despite spending quite some time in the credit screen (knowing bout the help feature) no help or messages ever came so I just had to watch ending E on yt, talk bout "unique experience" well done Yoko & Plat games well done👏 Nevertheless I really enjoyed that game and I still love it as one of my favorites.