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How Coca-Cola Influenced ‘Nier: Automata’

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Nier: Automata creative director Yoko Taro got inspiration for the game from an unexpected source: a Coca-Cola ad campaign. [SPOILERS for the end of Nier Automata]

For the uninitiated, during Automata’s credits players can play through a bullet hell level where they fight against the developers’ names. As the ending sequence gets progressively more difficult, words of encouragement from anonymous players from around the world are displayed on-screen. Speaking during a panel on Automata’s development at this year’s GDC, Taro revealed he came up with the idea for the sequence from Coca-Cola’s Small World Machine initiative in 2013, which sought to remedy struggles between Lahore, Pakistan and New Delhi, India by inviting people in each country to interact with others via live feeds while ordering a Coke. “That project left an extremely strong impression on me,” Taro said. “You don’t have to look very hard at today’s real world society to see that it’s overflowing with hatred; we are capable of just easily detesting people that we’ve never met or seen or heard of before. I was really impressed by this project and what it was trying to do. Initially, Nier’s credit sequence closely resembled the Small World campaign, inviting players to share messages with other players in country’s their own doesn’t have a good relationship with. “[I] wanted them to realize that the person that they’re directing hatred for is also, just like themselves, a gamer,” Taro said. “But I ended up giving up on that. The reason for that is because I felt like if I did that that would be me imposing my own principles onto others — yourselves.”So instead, he took the idea planted in his head by Coca-Cola and added a different twist to it: Letting players all over the world leave encouraging messages for other players that would be displayed at random. “Obviously video games should allow players the freedom to make their own decisions and not have the opinions creators, myself, forced upon them,” Taro added. “Having said that, if I were to have a personal wish … just like I was influenced by the Coca-Cola campaign, I hope the people who played this game took the time to think about someone they don’t know in a faraway country — even if it’s just for a little bit. That would make me extremely happy, and secretly that’s really what I hope for.”

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