One month ago on the subreddits r/NieRFanart and r/NieRAutomataGame reddit user u/sadfutago made two posts labeled “How to access the church?”. The posts’ contents were simply, only two sentences that read “Hello, I’m new to Reddit. I was wondering how to access the church in Nier Automata.”
People in the replies asked for more info as there isn’t an area in Automata that can be described as a church. Sadfutago proceeded to explain that they found a door in the Copied City that they could open as A2 however their friend couldn’t open the door despite being at the same part of the game. This was met with skepticism and Sadfutago was asked to make another post with images of the alleged church.
Reddit automoderator bots then proceeded to delete this post because Sadfutago didn’t have enough Reddit karma to post it. Thankfully Sadfutago was able to move the conversation to a different subreddit known as r/Nier so the mystery could continue. The images Sadfutago provided were less than convincing to people, aside from being an area no one had ever heard of, the images were poor quality images taken of a TV from presumably Sadfutago’s phone.
However the internet loves a good mystery so even though people were already beginning to dismiss the claims they asked Sadfutago exactly where in the game he was. According to Sadfutago their current objective was “The odd machine” placing their point in the game as the first objective of Chapter 14-01.
Once people knew where in the game Sadfutago was a reply post made by Reddit user u/catloaf34 they claimed that there may have been some truth to Sadfutago’s words. Below is Catloaf’s explanation as well as images they provided.
We then received another update from Sadfutago where they uploaded a video of them entering the mysterious door that led to the church, But that was all they posted in the initial video, just them walking to the door and opening it. Reddit still wasn’t privy to the contents of this mysterious church.
With evidence that the door did exist many people immediately began to decry that this was a mod of some sort, however Sadfutago was allegedly playing on the PS4 version of the game so that shouldn’t have been possible.
After this post Sadfutago went silent for an entire month, making their re-emergence yesterday with a new video, this time actually showing what was beyond the door!
Beyond the door was a room players had never seen that contained a ladder to an underground hallway with a warped, twisted shape. Unfortunately, this video once again ended before the church was shown off. People again began to claim that this must have been a mod but according to prolific members of the Automata modding community even on PC map edits aren’t nearly this advanced, leaving two possibilities. Either someone had made a breakthrough with map editing and told absolutely no one or the internet had a legitimate mystery on their hands.
Thankfully we didn’t need to wait another month as Sadfutago returned this morning with yet another video finally showing off the Church!
Now that you are caught up on the situation it is time for me to stop recapping and do some analysis on this Church and figure out Sadfutago’s situation.
The first thing that needs to be talked about is the cutscene upon entering the church, one that Sadfutago didn’t mention in any of their previous posts. The cutscene shows a textureless girl laying on the altar with a flower growing out of their body. Some have claimed that this girl uses the same model as Yonah from the original Nier, however even if she doesn’t the symbolism of the flower is all we need to claim this girl is Yonah.
Laying against one of the church’s walls is a staff very reminiscent of the one Devola held in the original Nier, once again tying this church to that game. The church also has a chest that only 9S can open, however Sadfutago has only ever talked about getting A2 into this area
With all of this new footage people are convinced that this cannot be a mod as it’s just too high quality for a troll’s hoax, and I do agree that this isn’t a troll who modded the game. Unfortunately though, I have to conclude that this isn’t a legitimate mystery.
Let’s examine the possible explanations for this room.
1. A legitimate secret area that only this one person found in the six years Nier Automata has been out
2. A revolutionary mod that was made by someone who had created monumental breakthroughs in Automata modding but just chose to tell absolutely no one.
Neither of these explanations make sense when held up to scrutiny. There is a third explanation though that does hold up logically though.
3. Sadfutago is a Square Enix plant. This is all a publicity campaign.
Now please, think this through. If you found a secret area in a beloved game and over a hundred people were asking you to post images or a video would you disappear for an entire month before doing so? Motive wise that doesn’t make sense but it’s far from evidence Sadfutago is a liar. No, the evidence instead lies in their name and the footage they showed.
Sad Futago. Futago is the Japanese word for “twins”. Sad Twins. Could it be just a coincidence that someone with that username posted footage of a room with an explicit reference to Devola and Popola: Nier’s sad twins? It feels like too much of a coincidence.
Then there’s the response to the footage, or rather who responded: Yosuke Saito from Square Enix quote tweeted a post with footage of the room with “Eternal mystery…” . I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade but producers at large Triple A studios don’t just reply to internet mysteries for fun. To me this tweet is proof that this is some marketing stunt.
But for what? Well there’s several things. One possibility is that they want to keep Nier Automata in the public consciousness for the upcoming Switch port. Another possibility is that because the mysterious church is full of Replicant references they could be teasing an upcoming port of Nier Replicant. A third possibility is that they’re advertising the upcoming Nier anime.
There is really no definitive answer we can make but I’m currently positive that Sadfutago was a marketing plant, all we need to do now is sit back and wait for them to reveal more.