Nier Automata Secret Door Hunt ends in the wildest way possible

Nier Automata Secret Door Hunt ends in the wildest way possible

Gif: Square Enix / Sadfutago

It all started with a question: “How do you get into the church?” The answer, it turns out, is simple: You don’t – at least not yet. Yes, Nine: Automataits confusing secret door was just an intricate modification.

If you haven’t been following along, Nine: Automataits secret door had all the makings of a pantheonic gaming secret. Two months ago, a Nine player, known only by their Reddit handle, Sadfutago, began asking around on niche subreddits about a hidden church. But Nine: Automataan action RPG developed by PlatinumGames and released in 2017, didn’t have a location that matched such a description, leading the few who paid attention to call bullshit.

Finally, Sadfutago posted video evidence of the findwhich is located in the copied city, a level of Nine: Automata which is devoid of color and texture, giving it the appearance of a game in early development. That clip – and subsequent, more extensive clips – sent the community into a frenzy. Some fans thought it was a legitimate instance of the cut or hidden content too Nine: Automata. Others believed it was completely fake, either a hoax or a mod or a viral marketing campaign orchestrated by Nine director Yoko Taro, who is no stranger to hijinks. (Here is a thorough overview of the entire saga.) Several still did the one thing the internet does best: Meme it into oblivion.

Well, it turns out that the entire area was the work of three modders: DevolasRevenge, who designed the geography and architecture; Woeful_Wolf, who created the tools in Blender; and RaiderB, who wrote the scripting tools. They plan to make everything public, but not in a few days, Devolas tells Revenge Kotaku. It’s been a whole week. They are tired.

“Originally it was going to be a little joke to show people, and we fully expected data miners like Lance [McDonald] and Grojdg to shoot us down in two seconds, says DevolasRevenge. “But they questioned that, too.”

A statement from modders reveals the truth behind Nier: Automata's secret door.

The team’s statement.
Picture: Devola’s Revenge / Woeful_Wolf_ / RaiderB

At first, the footage seemed legitimate. But over the past few days, Sadfutago’s posts have started to include dead giveaways. One of their latest Reddit post mentioned “Zinnia” – a niche aspect of Nine lore – indicating that the Sadfutago, whoever they were, were more knowledgeable than they let on. In addition, the entire church area contained assets from Nine: Replicantits more recent remaster, which came out in 2021. It’s a stretch of the imagination that the base version of a 2017 game could include character models from a 2021 game. (This discovery was believed to have been made on the game’s 1.00 version – meaning it had not been affected by any post-release patches or updates.)

“By the end, I figured most people thought it was a mod,” DevolasRevenge said. “I didn’t mean to mislead anyone.”

DevolasRevenge said some people “seem to take this negatively.” But over the Nine modding Discord, at least people are mostly in good spirits. They make jokes, confirmed in their assumptions that something was fishy with the church. Some productive Nine modders are pumped to start working with a new suite of tools. While Nine: Automata modding tools are quite sophisticated, modders have not been able to change the game’s environment to the extent seen in the church videos.

“This will have a pretty big impact on the community,” Meowsandstuff, a member of the Nine modding community and a leading figure in the quest to prove the secret door wasn’t all it seemed, told me. “Even though we already had the tools to make similar things, a lot of the newer things, from my understanding, are much better developed and user-friendly.”

As part of his quest, Meowsandstuff designed his own version of the secret church. The architecture of the area was perfect, but it kept crashing when you tried to walk down the main aisle of the church. He now plans to renovate the progress he has made so far. He will scrap the rest, then use the new tools for a variety of other ideas, including one that renders Nine: Automata map with the low-key look of the copied city (which by the way sounds narco AF).

“I honestly feel pretty rested,” Meowsandstuff said. “I wanted to think it could have been something that wasn’t a mod, but now knowing that this is a mod and knowing that we get access to the tools necessary to make things like this has really energized me.”

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