After days of intrigue, it's finally been revealed that the mysterious videos of hitherto unknown areas in Nier: Automata were the work of extremely talented modders.
The 'church saga' began when a Reddit user called sadfutago posted a video of a door that no Nier player had ever seen before, and followed it up with clips that showed bizarre content that included references to other games. It has hooked the Nier community (and many, many others), who couldn't work out if this was an ARG for a new game, or the work of modders – although the latter had been deemed impossible by many.
As it turns out, it wasn't as impossible to mod Nier: Automata as we thought, with a Twitch stream revealing that the entire saga was indeed the work of talented fans creating new content within the game. As you can see in the gallery below, the Twitch stream ended with an admission that all of this was created with mods by three individuals, DevolasRevenge, Woeful_Wolf, and RaiderB.
"THANK YOU," reads a text slide that aired at the end of the stream. "Everything we have shared has been completely in-game, no editing was used. We have been loving all the discussions and theories – it has been an amazing journey. It has been inspiring to see the community come together after so many years, it has made all the hard work well worth it."
While some will be disappointed that this doesn't mean more official Nier content is coming soon, the fact that the team has begin adding in-game content to Automata at all is huge news for the community. Many believed this wasn't possible, but the modders have promised to release "new Blender addons and scripting tools" on an open source basis, seemingly blowing the modding scene wide open for the first time.
The church scene itself will be released to let everyone play what they've been watching, and the team says they have "so much more in store", including an already finished mod from RaiderB.
Subsequent slides apologised to the community for misleading people, saying they wanted to give off the impression of this being cut or secret content, not a full-blown ARG. They also said they weren't trying to impersonate Nier creator Yoko Taro, who has been drawn into the mystery over the last few days (and who has been subsequently praised for not ruining the mystery).
Finally, the team apologside for the "anticlimactic" ending, saying they were running out of time to do it due to personal reasons. However, much of the community has been celebrating the reveal for breathing life into the community, even before mods are released.
"This is the most enamored I’ve ever been with something like this, and it’s insane. I was here," wrote Jinnie-boy. Seasalted-icecream sees this as a new future for the series: "These guys managed to grab the attention of multiple people involved with NieR and have revitalized interest in the series. What we have now may only be a new and incredibly made mod, but [Square Enix] might see that the interest is definitely there and may seriously consider working on the series again."