"NieR: Automata’s" famed secret room is cool enough, but its finely crafted, layered story that evolves with each playthrough is what truly sets the game apart. The complex battle between alien machines and human-made battle robots has been getting rave reviews (via Metacritic) since it came out in 2017, and carved its name in the annals of gaming. The game combines awesome action with one of the more captivating storylines out there, so in this age of video game-inspired shows like Netflix’s "The Witcher" and HBO’s upcoming "The Last of Us" adaptation, it was perhaps just a matter of time before "NieR: Automata" would receive an anime adaptation.
The first hints of a "NieR: Automata" anime have been in the air since February 23, when a YouTube teaser announced a "NieR: Automata TV animation project." Fortunately, the "NieR: Automata" faithful now have far more information about the upcoming anime adaptation by A-1 Pictures, which will be called "NieR: Automata Ver 1.1a." Let’s take a look at what we know about the project so far.
What is the plot of NieR: Automata Ver 1.1a?
Being an adaptation of "Nier: Automata" the game, one would expect that "NieR: Automata Ver 1.1a" will have plenty of story to cover. However, expect at least part of the series’ plot to be an unknown quantity. This information comes courtesy of Yoko Taro, the director of the "NieR: Automata" game, whose appearance during the "NieR: Automata Ver 1.1a" segment of the September 24 Aniplex Online Fest (via YouTube) revealed that the anime’s tongue-twisting name is a hint that the plot will be somewhat different from that of the game.
"The anime title has the affix ‘Ver 1.1a’ because the title ‘NieR: Automata’ was a story we created to be a game, so copying it as is wouldn’t make an interesting story for an anime," Taro said. "So I brought up the idea of changing things around."
However, while the adaptation might differ from the game in some ways, Taro’s segment also revealed that the game director’s desire for change received significant pushback from other people involved in the project. Taro himself has apparently promised that whatever changes may come won’t be too massive, so if you’re familiar with the story of "NieR: Automata" and its major characters, you probably already have a fair idea of what’s coming … and if you’re not, let’s not risk spoiling too much about the sprawling, post-apocalyptic tale here.
Who is starring in NieR: Automata Ver 1.1 a?
At the moment, there are four voice actors attached to the project, per IMDb. While that doesn’t seem like a whole lot to go by, each and every one of them is a clear indication that "NieR: Automata Ver 1.1a" is serious about its connections to the game.
Yui Ishikawa, who voices the android 2B in "NieR: Automata," returns to reprise her role in "NieR: Automata Ver1.1 a." Natsuki Hanae, the voice of 9S, will do the same. During an appearance at the Aniplex Online Fest (via YouTube), Hanae revealed that he’s been aware of the project for some four years, courtesy of Yoko Taro and producer Yosuke Saito — and that he’s extremely interested to see how the anime handles the source material. "Because there are interesting aspects and gimmicks that are very unique to ‘NieR’ … how will they be portrayed once they become anime?" he wondered. "That’s something that I’m curious about."
The other two returning familiar voices are Hiroki Yasumoto and Kaoru Akiyama, who will once again provide the respective vocal performances of tactical support units Pod 042 and Pod 153. This would seem to be a pretty good indication that the anime seems to be rounding up much of the game’s original voice cast, so there’s a decent chance that your favorite characters will sound much like they do in "Nier: Automata." Whether this extends to every single actor — or, for that matter, the English-speaking voice cast — is still unknown, but you can most likely expect more news on this front in the not-too-distant future.
What’s the release date of NieR: Automata Ver 1.1a?
All the "NieR: Automata" hype in the world does little good if fans don’t have any clue about when the project actually premieres. There’s some good news and some bad news on this front, but worry not! The bad news is fairly minor, and the good news is, frankly, pretty neat.
To do away with the negatives first, it looks like "NieR: Automata Ver 1.1a" isn’t exactly just around the corner, and it’s not even the next installment in the franchise. The good news, however, is that the Nintendo Switch version of the game – "NieR: Automata: The End of YoRHa Edition" – will be out on October 6 (via YouTube), so Switch owners have ample time to tear through the game before the anime comes out and the adventure begins anew.
As for the exact release date of "NieR: Automata Ver 1.1a," you’ll still have to wait for a while, but said wait could be much shorter than you’d assume. As it stands, the Aniplex Online Fest panel confirmed that the official release month of the anime adaptation is January 2023. Count on Looper to keep you posted when the precise date drops.
Is there a trailer for NieR: Automata Ver 1.1a?
There is! Kind of! While there’s a teaser and two character trailers already out, you probably shouldn’t expect any of them to offer juicy glimpses at the anime’s take on the "Nier: Automata" story quite yet.
The first news of the project emerged in February 2022 in the form of a brief teaser clip (via YouTube). Over the Aniplex Online Fest 2022 weekend, we got two new character trailers that showcase the animation style – as well as the characters themselves, of course.
This being a "NieR: Automata" project, it’s not exactly shocking that the showcased characters are 2B – the main android in the game – and the scanner android 9S, whose role is one of the most complicated in the grand scheme of things. Neither the 2B trailer (via YouTube) or the 9S trailer (via YouTube) give away too much about the anime, but the fact that they’re very faithful to the way the characters are depicted in the game is likely good news for the "NieR: Automata" faithful. What’s more, 2B’s musings indicate that the show likely won’t shy away from the mind-bending plotline of the source material. "A helix repeating life and death," the android muses. "We are continually imprisoned within it. Is it a curse or a punishment?"
Where can you find other works related to NieR: Automata Ver 1.1a?
Just because you have to wait until January 2023 for "NieR: Automata Ver 1.1a" to come out doesn’t mean that you’re deprived of cool "NieR: Automata" content until that time.
Since the anime series seems to be an adaptation of the game — at least to a certain extent — "NieR: Automata" itself is likely the most closely connected work to "NieR: Automata Ver.1.1a," so you can always play (or replay) it to remind yourself of the intricacies of the story. If that’ not enough for you, you can always dive into the rest of the "Drakengard" video games "NieR: Automata" is part of. They’re sold wherever video games are, though it’s good to remember that several of the earlier games in the series are for older console generations and, as such, can be harder to find. Meanwhile, 2021’s "NieR Reincarnation" is a mobile game, available for iOS and Android.
If you’d rather gravitate toward non-video game entertainment, that won’t be a problem, either. The sprawling array of "NieR"-adjacent non-game projects that range from manga to novels and world guides. As the release of "NieR: Automata Ver 1.1a" draws nearer, you can expect even more "NieR"-themed works to hit the market. You can preorder upcoming works — as well as order several other "NieR" books — on Square Enix’s website.