NieR: Automata Director Yoko Taro Discusses The Importance Of Making Players ‘Feel Free’
Tons of interesting subjects are currently being discussed at the Game Developer Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, one of which was the importance of player freedom and the concept of “open world fatigue”. NieR: Automata game director Yoko Taro took on both subjects during his panel, which also included an interesting reveal regarding the impact an old Coca Cola ad campaign had on NieR: Automata.
During the panel, Taro jokingly discussed how the hugely successful NieR: Automata was “basically stolen” from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. While on the subject, the topic of “open world fatigue” was brought up, wherein players are presented with a massive open world to explore but then get bogged down by too many quests and things to collect to actually feel as if they are making any progress. While many gamers are able to handle getting thrown quests left and right, others still are put off entirely, and may choose to play a different game that requires less of them.
Game director Yoko Taro also brought up the fact that “high levels of freedom” does not necessarily translate to the “feels free” feeling. In order to focus on obtaining that feeling for players, Taro says that creating a “frame” for the player is important. Per Taro, a player’s perception that the world is always expanding is the biggest factor in getting players that “feels free” feeling. At the end of the day it isn’t really about how big the area is, but instead that if someone sees an island off to the distance, they know they can hop into a boat or simply swim there. “Freedom is in a future that you did not have in the past,” said Taro.
It is also about giving players a certain structure and having them realize they can break free from it. A perfect example of this is seen in NieR: Automata, where the ending of the game – the very first ‘ending’ players receive – is prefaced by the rest of the story, which is massive. We can’t give Taro too much credit for coming up with the idea, though, as apparently he “stole” that from The Legend of Zelda too.
NieR: Automata is now available for PC and PlayStation 4.
So, thoughts on the concept of “open world fatigue” discussed by game director Yoko Taro? Did you feel that sense of freedom when you realized that the first ‘ending’ of NieR: Automata was really just the beginning of the story? Who was your favorite character? Let us know in the comments section below, and as always, stay tuned to Don’t Feed the Gamers for all the latest gaming and entertainment news! Don’t forget to follow DFTG on Twitter for our 24/7 news feed!
Ryan "Cinna" Carrier2061 Posts
Ryan is a writer and the head editor for Don't Feed the Gamers. When he isn't writing, Ryan is likely considering yet another playthrough of Final Fantasy IX. He's also the DFTG cinnamon bun.