All 6 NieR Games in Order Including Summaries
Nier: Automata was released back in 2017 as a long-awaited sequel to the cult classic PS3 game NieR, thus expanding on the original universe in the best possible way. And while the original game by Yoko Taro received mixed reviews – the story and the characters, as well as the music, received absolute acclaim, while the graphics and the gameplay were criticized – Nier: Automata became an absolute hit, surpassing all expectations with over 6 million copies sold worldwide.
On the fifth anniversary of the game, it was announced that Nier: Automata would be getting an anime adaptation, thus becoming the first installment of Taro’s games to receive such recognition. In honor of that, we have decided to revisit the whole franchise and in this article, we are going to tell you how many NieR games there actually are and list them in the proper order.
How many NieR games are there?
As NieR fans will know, this is a very difficult question to answer, because it all depends on how you perceive the series. Originally, NieR was published for the PS3, with two versions of the same game – NieR Replicant was published in Japan, and NieR Gestalt was published in the West. These two games had the same plot and setting, but the difference was that in the Japanese version, you played as Yonah’s older brother, whereas in the Western edition, you played as her father. All the other aspects remained unchanged. On top of that, the original game – using the Japanese characters and with some additions – was remastered in 2021 and published under the title NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…, with the number being the square root of 1.5.
A sequel to the original game was – against all odds – published in 2017 under the title NieR: Automata and became a massive hit. It was a sequel to NieR but set so far into the future that it was almost a standalone game. A mobile game titled NieR Re[in]carnation was also published in 2021 and is set in the same universe, but the chronology and the relation to the main games remain quite unclear.
So, what, there’s one original game that is actually three games (two original versions and a remaster), a sequel, and a mobile game, right? Well… sort of. As we’ve said, NieR spun out of the Drakengard series, or, more precisely, Drakengard, whose events lead directly into NieR. Namely, one of Drakengard‘s endings shows a battle whose consequences create the world seen in NieR, so the events of Drakengard cannot be ignored. This means that in total, there are six main games in the series – Drakengard (three installments), NieR, NieR: Automata, and NieR Re[in]carnation – but if you count all the releases, there are three Drakengard games, three versions of the original NieR game, Nier: Automata and NieR Re[in]carnation, i.e., a total of eight games.
NieR games in order (at a glance)
So, now that we have explained everything, let us see the whole universe at a glance (by release date):
- (Drakengard (2003))
- (Drakengard 2 (2005))
- NieR (2010)
- (Drakengard 3 (2013))
- NieR: Automata (2017)
- NieR Re[in]carnation (2021)
This was a list that only included the main titles, so the three different iterations of NieR are not listed here. The Drakengard games are listed in brackets because they are part of a larger narrative universe, but are not officially part of the smaller NieR universe, which is a spin-off from the main Drakengard storyline.
Are the NieR games connected?
And while it might not look like that, the NieR games are actually all part of a larger narrative universe that started with Drakengard. The NieR games are set in an alternative universe that became a standalone universe after NieR and NieR: Automata. And while some characters from the original game do appear or are mentioned in Automata, and Automata definitely is a sequel to the original game, the stories are set so far apart that you don’t actually have to play the original NieR to play Automata, but they are connected.
What is the best way to play the NieR games?
Well, if you want the whole experience, you should definitely start with Drakengard and play until you reach the end where the Giant and the Dragon fight in Tokyo. After that, you can actually skip the rest of the Drakengard games, as they are not really connected to the plot of NieR and you can continue with NieR and NieR: Automata, in that order. As for NieR Re[in]carnation, since its place in the timeline has not been determined, you can play it anytime after completing NieR.
NieR games in order (chronologically)
Since Drakengard 2 and Drakengard 3 don’t really form a part of NieR‘s core storyline, we are not going to list them here. They are great games and we highly recommend them, but they are not part of this article’s topic. Drakengard, on the other hand, is, as the events from that game lead to the creation of the world we saw in NieR. The games are going to be listed in chronological order.
The story of Drakengard begins when the Castle of the goddess Furiae, sister of Caim, is overrun by troops of the Empire, which the Confederates are desperately trying to repel. During the battle, Caim is seriously injured. However, he manages to break into the castle, intending to drive out the emissaries of the Empire who have entered it. There are five different endings that the player can unlock:
- Ending 1: After the death of Furiae and the second fight with Inuart, Caim and the dragon choose to head for the capital of the Empire and stop Manah. After a hard fight, they finally manage to free her from the spell of the gods. The sequel Drakengard 2 continues from a similar scenario to the one shown in this ending.
- Ending 2: After the second fight with Inuart, Caim and the dragon follow the latter who wants to put Furiae in one of the Cocoons of Rebirth, regardless that this could lead to the end of mankind. Inuart manages to escape Caim and places Furiae’s corpse in a cocoon. Furiae is reborn as a hideous monster that instantly kills Inuart. After Furiae is killed again in a dogfight against Caim, the world is invaded by thousands of copies of the monstrous version of Furiae (presumably each hatched from a Cocoon), leading mankind to destruction.
- Ending 3: After the second fight with Inuart, Caim and the dragon follow the latter who wants to put Furiae in one of the Cocoons of Rebirth and defeat him. Meanwhile, Caim’s Red Dragon transforms into a Chaos Dragon and breaks the pact with him (thus giving him back his voice), and challenges him to a duel. Defeating the dragon, Caim begins to destroy the cocoons, but the world is now invaded by dragons, engaged in the extermination of humanity. Caim throws himself into what is perhaps his last battle.
- Ending 4: Caim and his companions manage to reach Manah before she kills Furiae. The palace collapses, and Furiae and Inuart die buried under the rubble. Meanwhile, with the death of Manah and thus destroying the instrument of the gods, the world is invaded by dangerous creatures. After Arioch and Leonard are killed by the monstrous children, Seere decides to stop the Mother Beast by trapping her within Time. As Caim and the dragon are killed by the monster children, Seere pleads for Manah’s forgiveness and releases all time imprisoned within him. Seere is forever stranded in time and space with the Mother Beast, but his sacrifice saves humanity.
- Ending 5: Caim and the dragon decide not to sacrifice Seere and throw themselves against the Mother Beast, with which they are absorbed in a space-time distortion. They find themselves in modern Tokyo, which the dragon assumes to be the land of the gods. The two begin battle against the Mother Beast; defeated the monster, Caim and the dragon are immediately killed by the rockets of a Japanese air force fighter. The dragon’s charred corpse remains impaled on Tokyo Tower. From this ending continues the story in NieR.
The plot is set 1300 years after the fifth Drakengard ending and focuses on a man named Nier (whose name, however, can be customized by the player, and who is either a young man or a middle-aged man, depending on the version) intent on seeking a cure for his younger sister or daughter Yonah (again, depending on the version), affected by the terrible disease of the Black Scrawl which decimates entire villages and is apparently incurable. The population is reduced to the bone and people always need a hand, also due to the constant attacks of shadow monsters known as Shades; therefore Nier often offers himself as a worker to be able to obtain treatment that will alleviate his daughter’s pain.
One day Nier discovers that Yonah has ventured out of the village in search of the Lunar Tear, an imaginary flower capable of granting any wish. After a short time, he manages to find her in the Lost Sanctuary where at the same time he meets Grimoire Weiss, a bizarre and know-it-all talking tome who, after being freed from a spell, offers to help Nier in his mission.
Weiss is in fact able to cure the Black Scrawl by obtaining the Sealed Verses and defeating the Grimoire Noir, his dark counterpart allied with the Shadow Lord, the cause of the presence of the Shades and the Black Scrawl in the world. Accompanying him on his journey will also be Kainè, a young warrior who dresses and expresses himself in a promiscuous way, and Emil, a sensitive boy with the power to petrify anything simply by looking at it. Almost all the main bosses have names of famous characters from fantasy and fairy tales (Hook, Hansel & Gretel, Geppetto…).
In addition to the main plot, Nier includes numerous secondary quests that are rewarded with experience or money if completed, in addition to quests there are hobbies such as fishing or farming. Some of the side quests are required to unlock the additional endings, which together complete the NieR story. These are:
- Ending A: Finish the game normally until the credits sequence.
- Ending B: At the end of the credits of the first phase, continue with the last saved game. The story will begin late in the initial plot and will include new scenes and dialogue throughout the adventure. Additionally, all weapons, items, and texts will be retained.
- Ending C: Like Ending B, the story will begin late in the plot. To achieve this ending, it is only necessary to complete A, and B and get the “Weapons Collector” trophy that is obtained by getting 100% of the weapons in the video game. Fulfilling this requirement, at the end of the plot an election will be presented that will decide the future of the main characters.
- Final D: Obtaining this outcome consists of making the choice opposite to Final C. When making this choice, the system will alert us several times that it will completely eliminate the saved games from our platform, therefore it is recommended only after viewing the previous outcomes.
NieR: Automata (2013)
The year 11,945 is when NieR: Automata begins. Alien beings invaded the earth with an army of machines and have since destroyed all humanoid life. The surviving part of humanity retreats to the moon and organizes the resistance from there. A space station in Earth orbit (“Bunker”) is the base of the androids called “YorHa”, which were developed to fight in a proxy war for humans against machines. The androids are strictly forbidden to have real names or to have real feelings, which fundamentally distinguishes them from humans.
NieR: Automata begins during the 14th Machine War with the story of a YorHa android with the identifier 2B and her companion 9S. Both droids are tasked with finding and destroying a Goliath-class machine being. The search starts in a former weapons factory of the people, which has been used by the machines as their own factory since it was taken over. During the fight with the Goliath, 9S is severely wounded. With the help of 9S’ reconnaissance aircraft, 2B then succeeds in defeating the Goliath.
As Goliaths continue to appear, 2B and 9S are forced to initiate self-destruct, eliminating not just themselves but also all enemy units. Data from 2B had previously been uploaded by 9S to the base computer. The same memories from 2B can therefore be used to create a new body there. The next time they meet, 9S is unaware of the assignment he had just completed because there was not enough time to preserve his data as well. Both androids are sent back to Earth in order to offer more assistance. They encounter the two artificially intelligent Adam and Eve there.
Additionally, they meet Pascal, who is protecting a colony of non-hostile machines. In an attack with machines of the Goliath class, the androids win the battle, the city is largely destroyed and an underground cave is uncovered. In this cave, 2B and 9S discover the leaders of the alien invasion; who are all dead. It turns out that Adam and Eve killed them and set their next goal to eradicate humanity. 2B and 9S manage to defeat the two, but they manage to escape.
Following their conversation with Pascal, the two discover that there is another kingdom of machines that dwells in the forest. These machines guard the monarch in their fortress with a certain amount of dedication. They are cordial. 2B and 9S learn that a king is actually just a young machine. The baby is then murdered by robot A2. Without elaborating on the offenses for which A2 is to be eliminated, the commander in the bunker informs them that he is a wanted droid and that he must be killed.
Adam, fascinated by what remained of human civilization and obsessed with expanding his knowledge of humanity, decides to explore the final secret that separates humans from machines: death. Because of this, he kidnaps 9S to lure 2B to him and force him to fight. In the course of this, he separates his consciousness from the network of machines, so that if he is destroyed he will also experience a “real” death. After 2B kills him, she rescues the badly wounded 9S and takes him back to the Bunker.
NieR Re[in]carnation (2021)
NieR Re[in]carnation is an RPG set in a territory called The Cage. In the game, the character has the task of exploring various areas of the game map accompanied by a ghost called Mama, while interacting with statues called Scarecrows along their path. The statues will allow the player to explore memories, catapulting him into side-scrolling 2D zones. Within the memories, called Weapon Stories, the player will engage in real-time turn-based battles, at the end of which he will be able to obtain a specific weapon and continue the adventure while discovering more about the past of some characters in the game.
Will there be more NieR games?
Well, as for now, there are no plans for any future games, but knowing Yoko Taro – this means nothing. The original NieR game was a commercial failure that became a cult classic and years later, we saw the publication of NieR: Automata, as well as the mobile game NieR Re[in]carnation. On top of that, even an anime was produced, which was a brilliantly unexpected surprise. So, with all of these facts in mind, we cannot rule out another NieR game in the future if Yoko Taro comes up with a new story idea, but we don’t know when it could happen.