NieR: Automata's spinoff anime arrives this January

Series creator Yoko Taro said the adaptation would tell a different story from the 2017 game.

A1 Pictures

NieR: Automata’s anime spinoff will arrive early next year. The adaptation, now titled NieR: Automata Version 1.1a, will debut in January 2023. NieR creator Yoko Taro shared the release window during Aniplex Online Fest over the weekend (via Gizmodo), revealing at the same time that the story of the anime would differ from its source material. The two will at least share the same premise. NieR: Automata opens with a ruined Earth and a proxy war involving human-made androids. "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 during the panel.

A-1 Pictures, best known for its work on series like Erased, From the New World and Your Lie in April, is producing the project, with Ryouji Masuyama co-writing the script alongside Taro. Masuyama’s previous credits include Gurren Lagann and Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance. "I'm the one going around and breaking things for [A-1 Pictures], so if anyone is dissatisfied [with the anime's story], it's likely to be my fault," Taro warned fans. Given that NieR: Automata features multiple endings, it’s probably for the best the anime won’t hew too closely to the game.

The panel didn’t mention details about distribution outside of Japan. However, since Sony owns both Aniplex and Crunchyroll, there’s a good chance simulcast rights will go to the streaming service. It will be interesting to see if the anime brings renewed interest to NieR: Automata, much like the recent release of Edgerunners on Netflix did for Cyberpunk 2077. Commercially, Automata performed better than publisher Square Enix expected, but the company has yet to announce a proper sequel – though we did get a mobile spinoff and remaster of the original NieR last year.