Which is Better: a Drakengard Collection or a New NieR?

Ever since the release of NieR Automata in 2017, Yoko Taro’s peculiar brand of strange, odd, sad and action has enjoyed a healthy amount of popularity. Both Nier Automata and now the remastered NieR Replicant have moved a not insignificant number of units. NieR Replicant isn’t as popular as its pseudo-predecessor, but one could still say it had a strong launch considering that its status as the updated version of a somewhat obscure action RPG.

The important thing is that the wider gaming audience is now aware of NieR and the series that spawned it: Drakengard. In other words, there’s momentum here and Square Enix would do well to capitalize on it. The question is: how exactly should they go about doing that? With Yoko Taro already involved on another project, the most painless thing to do would be to go back to the Drakengard series, but is that enough to keep the train moving?

A proper sequel or subsequent entry in the NieR series likely wouldn’t be right without its main man making sure everything checks out, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see something like a Drakengard 3 remaster or even a Drakengard collection show up within the next couple of years. It’s also easy to see why Square Enix would expect such a release to sell; it’s the same reason almost every other remaster/collection does decent numbers: it’s more of what fans already seem to like. A remastered Drakengard collection would also be a nice win for fans as well since it would be a great opportunity to see where it all started. The potential problem in all this is two-fold, though.

First, Drakengard is not NieR. The two series are connected, but there are some distinct differences when it comes to gameplay. Second, these games are old. Drakengard and Drakengard 2 are from the PS2-era, and would inevitably carry all that dated design baggage forward into a remaster. This could be avoided if Square Enix were to go the full remake route, but that would require more time and resources. Full remakes would be nice, but perhaps fans would rather see that kind of effort invested into a wholly new game instead. All things considered, though, some sort of remastered collection would be the best way to go in the interest of time.

As for potentially making that new NieR game, it won’t be easy. Again, the main mind behind the NieR and Drakengard games is already hard at work on a new project, so he likely won’t be available to work on a sequel for a good while. The smartest thing for Square Enix to do would be to wait for a time when Mr. Taro could devote his full effort to it, but they might not have enough time for that.

NieR has name recognition going for it right now, and the very best way to keep it that way would be to release a true sequel, not another remaster/remake. This isn’t to discount NieR Re[in]carnation, but mobile doesn’t (yet)  have the same kind of impact as a fully-fledged PC and/or console release. It probably wouldn’t be as out there as fully-involved Yoko Taro game, but it would at least be more NieR for fans to nosh on while the series’ creator is busy.

In the end, a remake/remaster collection for the Drakengard games would probably be the best route while Mr. Taro works on his current project. It wouldn’t be as exciting as a fully new NieR sequel would be, but it would at least keep the series in the public eye without potentially derailing everything via a not up to par sequel. Then again, there’s no guarantee that Yoko Taro’s new game isn’t involved with the NieR series somehow. It could very well tie into it in the same way that NieR ties into Drakengard. Maybe that would wind up being the best route of them all. If nothing else, it would be both surprising and odd, and those are both things Mr. Taro excels at.