Is This ‘Nier: Automata’ Church a Hoax or a 5-Year-Old Secret?

For the last month, Redditors al Nier: Automata community have tried to solve a mystery. It’s a secret door, a church supposedly hidden in the game for five years, and roughly 175,000 fans debating whether it’s real or an elaborate lie.

It began, as many conspiracies do, with a cryptic online posting. Two months ago, Reddit user sadfutago went to a small Nier forum to ask how to open a church in Platinum’s 2017 hit game. The post attracted little fanfare, but they continued to follow up with later photos and videos of the area: a white paper room, eerily empty save for a few small clues that some fans believe are nods to other games of the series Since sadfutago started posting, no other players have managed to find him.

Countless theories and subsequent research, no one can figure out what the room is or how it got there. Is it the work of an advanced modder or old code just unlocked in a dev kit? Maybe it’s a teaser for a new title or the game’s Switch release later this year? Or is it a last secret hidden by the infamously enigmatic and eccentric creator Yoko Taro? Maybe the answer doesn’t matter as much as the meta mystery it has created. “This is either god-level and awesome cheating, or insanely cool leftover data, and either way this is AWESOME,” user SoftDisappointment wrote in a thread. “I’ve never been so happy to be potentially cheated before.”

Nier: Automata it is not like other games of this type. Taro is famous for wearing a smiley bubble headdress that looks like a Tim Burton prop, and his games are known for doing things that turn what you think you know on its head. Secrets are their business, and Nier it’s full of them. a player uncovered the alleged latest of these in 2021: a feature unlocking cheat code that only works under hyper-specific circumstances and was later confirmed as a Taro hidden gem by the game’s official Twitter account. But this time, Taro won’t offer any help. Even their answers have sent players on perhaps the shortest hunt of their careers. “You want to know about my vision?” he he tweeted earlier this week. “In that case, you can find the answer on my Twitter profile. Thanks.”

The stalker in this shot? His Twitter bio reads: “I can’t comment on any products. Please ask the editor.”

two Nier fans, Lyn and Vera (who asked WIRED to use only their first names), share a Twitter account that has been religiously documenting every major development via a popular thread He created Vera. Both say they have followed him closely. Vera is eager to get answers straight from the source, the people who made the game, to “give us some sort of explanation for the wild goose chase we’ve all been on.” Lyn hasn’t slept much. “In any other series of games, something like this would be quickly dismissed as cheating,” says Lynn. But Taro “has created an immense mythology that has mainly consisted of clashing with players. This means that no discovery is completely out of the question.”

Lyn compares it to films like David Lynch’s Mulholland Driveor “an intentionally obtuse book” like Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of the Leaves. Fans can pick apart different tracks and discuss theories, but ultimately these media are static, rather than interactive. “Everyone is experiencing the same thing in all these cases, they don’t vary from person to person,” says Lyn. “ANYTHING can happen in a video game and developers like Yoko Taro have been known to hide secrets that went undiscovered for years.”

NierThe community of has put a lot of effort into figuring things out: researching the literature, examining the architecture, trying reconstructions own, creating memes. Modders continue to share their progress as they work through the evidence. The rabbit hole gets even deeper and the fan base is watching. “That’s the kind of mindset everyone should have about searches like these; they’re absolutely about the journey and what’s been discovered about the game rather than a singular, monolithic secret,” says Lyn.

Over on Reddit, the mystery continues as the original poster posts more images for armchair sleuths to examine. “I…I can’t understand how this can be real or how can this be fake,” user vgxmaster wrote after a new video posted Wednesday night. “However this ends, I guess I’m along for the ride. Thank you for joining us on this journey.”

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