Gif: Sadfutago / Square Enix / Kotaku

Nier: Automata players are collectively losing their minds over a room. It’s not just any room: No one, save for seemingly one person, has been able to access it. Even the player who discovered the chamber doesn’t appear to know how to enter it, which makes the whole thing extra confounding.

It makes a certain degree of sense that Nier: Automata is still rife with secrets, given that the base game, a totemic action-RPG from PlatinumGames, is enigmatic enough on its own right before you factor in the mess of fan intervention. First released in 2017, Nier: Automata demanded you play through it multiple times to unlock its many endings. Also, you can see one of those endings by way of eating a fish. Weird game!

Yesterday, modder and dataminer Lance McDonald posted a clip to Twitter showing a player entering a room in the Copied City, an area in Nier: Automata known for its Bavarian architecture and absence of color. “No one else has worked out how they managed to make this secret door appear,” McDonald wrote. The video has picked up more than two millions views on Twitter; here’s the original:

While the secret is currently blowing up on social media, the whole has actually been going on for about two months, spurred by a cryptic series of Reddit posts by user Sadfutago. (Sadfutago did not respond to Kotaku’s request for comment.)

“Hello how do you open the church ?,” Sadfutago wrote on the incredibly niche (190 members) r/NieRFanart subreddit two months ago. “Hello, i’m new to reddit and want to know how to open the church in Nier’Automata [sic].”

No one responded.

A month later, Sadfutago reposted the same query, this time on Nier: Automata’s less-niche (19,000 members) dedicated subreddit. Players were incredulous but helpful.

“Can you describe the building you’re asking about a little more? There’s not really a ‘church’ that I can remember,” one wrote. “I don’t think you can enter any building in the copied city. We’re going to need some screenshots,” responded another. Sadfutago asked if there was a photo button on Reddit, and then shared a link to a page on Imgur, the popular photo-sharing platform, that showed two screenshots of Nier: Automata semi-protagonist A2 standing in a sparsely decorated church—a setting not previously known about in the the game.

No one responded.

Sadfutago then took to the definitively not-niche (168,000 members) primary Nier series subreddit, posting a video, filmed vertically on a cell phone, showing the location of this church: the back wall of the courtyard that serves as a chamber for the boss fight in Automata’s Copied City level. The clip cuts off right as A2 enters the room.

People responded this time, but many of the most prominent messages focused on disputing the clip’s veracity. One person “call[ed] BS.” Another pointed out how the footage shown thus far was paper-thin: The two screenshots were framed from a conveniently obfuscated perspective, the one clip of video evidence cut off at just the right moment, and why was the video filmed via cell phone and not, say, game-capture software anyway?

Over the weekend, Sadfutago posted a video clip that shuts all of those queries down. Over the course of 45 seconds, A2 enters an antechamber, descends a several-story-high ladder, and strolls down a grayscale hallway that leads to LotR-style twin doors, behind which lies the church.

Some skeptics raised the possibility that this is all a highly sophisticated mod, but, as McDonald pointed out on Twitter, Nier: Automata doesn’t allow for environmental modding to this degree. Plus, a follow-up clip contains previously unheard dialogue from A2—not the sort of thing modders could easily get. Anything is possible, of course, but there is a vanishingly small chance that this discovery is the result of a mod. This morning, Nier producer Yosuke Saito weighed in on Twitter, writing, “Eternal mystery…”

This latest discovery comes nearly two years after Nier: Automata players found the game’s “final” secret. Last January, the modder and dataminer Lance McDonald cracked open what was then believed to be the game’s “final” secret: a hidden cheat buried in the game’s code that essentially allows you to skip directly to the ending. Nier: Automata director (and notable jokester) Yoko Taro suggested it was the last thing players had yet to discover in the game, cryptically writing “three years and 10 months” on Twitter—a reference to how long it had been, at the time, since Nier: Automata came out. One of the official Automata Twitter accounts also said the “final secret” had been found. Nier’s community widely accepted that McDonald had indeed found the game’s final secret.

Turns out: Nope.

Much like how players of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are still making new discoveries—opening “impossible-to-open” chests, supercharging custom weapons—half a decade after its release, Nier: Automata has proven a wellspring for fascinating discoveries. I’m glad players aren’t done tapping it yet.


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