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Nier: Automata’s mysterious church revealed to be work of modders

Trio of modders fess up, delighting and shattering the Nier community

9S stares at a glowing flower, and a giant hand reaches down to touch it, in a modded area from Nier: Automata Image: sadfutago on Reddit/Square Enix
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

The mystery of Nier: Automata’s hidden church has been solved. Or rather, the people behind it have fessed up to creating the mod that made it possible — and to trolling the community with a monthlong reveal of their work.

On Thursday, the Reddit account sadfutago, which first posted about the undiscovered church in early June and released multiple videos that previously unseen content, posted a series of new images from the church area with cryptic messages. Those messages ultimately led to a Twitch account that streamed even more footage of the church, a new boss battle, and another completely separate area. Viewers were baffled — but some had caught on to what was happening by this point.

At the end of a playthrough of Nier: Automata’s church area, the people behind it revealed themselves and the modding work they’d done to make it possible. Three modders, going by the names DevolasRevenge, Woeful_Wolf, and RaiderB, explained what they had accomplished: They modded Nier: Automata in a way that few thought possible, and created something so carefully designed that many thought PlatinumGames or Square Enix themselves were responsible.

“Everything we have shared has been completely in-game,” the group said, “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.”

Modder DevolasRevenge, credited with designing the new map, thanked viewers and fans for coming along for the ride. “Whether you expected this outcome or not, I hope you enjoyed the impact,” they said. “It was never meant to blow up this big, but just to confuse a few people on Twitter lol.”

The group of modders apologized for misleading Nier fans, saying the ruse was meant to trick them into thinking that the church was either cut content or some heretofore undiscovered secret, not some sprawling alternate reality game (ARG) or marketing stunt. The group also said they “weren’t trying to impersonate Yoko Taro” and further apologized for what they called an “anticlimactic ending.”

The good news for Nier: Automata fans who want to visit the church themselves (and see more Nier mods) is that the team says they’ll be releasing the 3D modeling add-ons for Blender and scripting tools they used to the public. “Keep an eye out for more...” they said.

Nier: Automata fans who had been keeping up with the saga were both delighted and crestfallen by the reveal. Many had theorized that this was the work of Nier producer Yoko Taro and his team, and believed the church was campaign that would ultimately pay off with either a new Nier game, a Drakengard remake (due to some assets brought over from Drakengard 3 into Nier: Automata), or something even more spectacular. In the end, the reveal was impressive, just not what they hoped for.