Macho, Macho Man, Nier's Gotta Be A Macho Man

Ever wonder why there are two versions of role-playing game Nier?

In the West, "macho" means big and muscular. Beefcakes! Just look at the majority of Western games. In Japan, however, ideas of masculinity are different. Someone can still be manly and strong, but not necessarily shaped like a gorilla.

When development on RPG Nier began, the protagonist was young. But, the director of the game, Taro Yoko, explains that Square Enix began discussing international markets. "In fact, an argument erupted at Square Enix's Los Angeles studio, over whether a thin looking male character was possible for the game," says Yoko. "For the North American consumers, it was decided to provide a macho main."

The American and European staff gathered to discuss the issues, and it was said that a slender hero "could not possibly swing a huge sword" and that it was "ridiculous". Yoko concedes that it is always muscular characters in American games "who look like they play American football".

Thus, the developers decided to make two versions: one with the slender hero for Japan and another with the meaty, older character for international markets. Thus, the studio created Nier Replicant and Nier Gestalt. Of course, Yoko and his team know that not all Western gamers have the same tastes. "It was thought that Replicant [the slender version]might be suitable for the French," says Yoko, "as they have a greater appreciation of Japanese culture."

There was pushback on making two versions of the game, but the developers campaigned hard for the slender, younger hero, stating if they could not use him, they'd "lose heart" in the game.

PS3 version Nier Replicant has only been released in Japan. The PS3's international version features the older, macho hero of Nier Gestalt. The younger protagonist, however, does appear as part of downloadable content in the West.

【DEVELOPER'S TALK】『ドラッグ オン ドラグーン』のスタッフが再集結!PS3とXbox360で異なる主人公を描いた『ニーア レプリカント/ニーア ゲシュタルト』に迫る | インサイド [Inside Games via Sankaku Complex NSFW]


    If they had released Replicant here I would have bought it, but they didn't so I passed on buying it.

    It's a shame cause I had been keeping an eye on the game ever since I had seen the japanese trailer before release, but the old burly man is just to hideous to be liked (for me at least).

    I like the idea of using the older guy - If it was a younger gentlman I most certainly would have written this off as another DMC rip off and not looked back.

    The father-daughter dynamic is interesting, as opposed to the overly cliche brother/sister or lovers dynamic. Not to say the game doesnt suffer from Tropes - I haven't played it yet, I'm still yet to pick it up unfortunately. But that is one of the main reasons I'm interested in this game.

    We should have had a choice, could of been like Pokemon(sorta).

    Actually, the word "macho" means exactly the same in Japan; it's a loanword.

    RPG characters are so effeminate (and the clothes so outrageous) because they are modeled like pop stars, to make them more marketable to young girls. As long as the games keep them entertained, crunching numbers and doing repetitive chores for 50+ hours, the fans of the genre don't seem to care.

    Compare that to the Raiden fiasco in MGS2, or the look of the characters in more adult or male oriented games, like the Yakuza series, Virtua Fighter, Ninja Gaiden, or most Capcom games.

    Really? I have always seen it reported Replicant is a deliberate reconstruction of the game for a traditionally Japanese audience who associate roleplaying games with a bishounen to the point where it's required to sell. Hence, the PS3 version (the one on a console which will actually sell in Japan) has a young protagonist, despite the game clearly being originally programmed with 360 level graphics.

    The original story is the one told in Gestalt with an older man going through the game's quests in order to save his daughter, instead of a brother saving his sister.

    I applaud the move for finally making a game which has as its core gameplay Japanese RPG mechanics star a character who isn't below twenty and a self-insertion waiting for a generation of people to identify with it. For all that Cloud was an empty unfulfilling protagonist, he had his moments, particularly when he revolutionised gaming, not by coming into contact with Sephiroth, but by cross-dressing and having other characters tell him he looked appealing. There's also the date/business meeting with Barret if you manage to annoy all the females in the game just the right ways.

    Playing the relationship as a father protecting his daughter strikes a different emotional chord and it's one which resonates much deeper and stronger, creating a richer experience.

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