Following the massive success of NieR Automata, Square Enix decided to remaster its prequel as NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139... with an overhauled combat system, improved graphics, and new dialogue. While the NieR series has undoubtedly caught mainstream attention, it's often easy to forget that the games are spinoffs from the Drakengard franchise.
While the Drakengard series has garnered a cult following in Japan, it remains relatively unknown in the West as a result of its aged gameplay mechanics, performance issues and controversial story elements. Nonetheless, the Drakengard series can benefit from a remaster in the same way as NieR Replicant ver.1.22 with modernized mechanics and combat. Though it depends largely on how successful NieR Replicant ver.1.22 is, there remains growing interest to see the Drakengard games remastered and modernized.
The first Drakengard game released in 2003 as a unique blend of gameplay elements from Ace Combat and Dynasty Warriors 2. Mixing together both ground-based and aerial combat, Drakengard gained a cult following for its dark storyline and sharp wit. Though it received mixed reviews as a result of its gameplay elements, it sold well enough to get sequels and a spinoff game, NieR.
While the original NieR retained themes and links to the Drakengard series, it takes place over a thousand years after the events of Drakengard. Both NieR and NieR: Automata take place in an alternative reality where the events of the Drakengard games have caused the world to be left in a state of decay. As Yoko Taro directed most of the games in both series, they share common elements in their storylines and thematic analyses.
The problem with the Drakengard series is that while the storylines are phenomenal, the gameplay can often be frustrating. Though it has its charms, the vast majority of players find the mechanics repetitive or clunky. Furthermore, some of the Drakengard games have been plagued with performance issues and technical limitations which turn off potential players. With the success of the NieR series however, it seems that the Drakengard series could benefit from a modernization as well.
Despite the jokes that Yoko Taro likes to make about Drakengard, it's clear that the series is important to NieR. In the newest Final Fantasy 14 YorHa raid that Yoko Taro wrote, there's purposely a number of Drakengard references scattered amongst the NieR lore. Everyone knows that Drakengard could benefit from modernized mechanics in remakes and that the explosive popularity of NieR makes it a more likely candidate each passing day. However, given the reception and controversial elements of the original series, it's also a giant risk for Square Enix to fund.
As a result, the potential for Drakengard remakes is connected directly to the success of NieR Replicant ver.1.22. While NieR Automata is a game designed with modernized mechanics in mind, the original NieR suffered from frustrating repetitiveness and awkward pacing the same way that the Drakengard games did. As a result of the success that NieR Automata achieved, NieR Replicant ver.1.22 has received just as much attention despite its flaws. In that sense, if more players are willing to live with the problems in the original NieR now that it has been remastered, then Drakengard has a better chance as well.
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