Hey! did you know back in March of 2010 before the release of the video game Nier, Square Enix partnered with DC Comics’ Wildstorm team to make some good old fashioned tie-in comics? Here is the official press release from back then:
“LOS ANGELES (March 17, 2010) – Square Enix, Inc., the publisher of Square Enix® interactive entertainment products in North America, is partnering with DC Comics imprint Wildstorm to create a custom comic series that will explore the rich and mysterious back story of the upcoming Action-RPG NIER™. NIER, whose unique content, characters and hidden, twisting storyline has transfixed gamers and media alike for months, will be available for PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft at North American retail outlets on April 27, 2010.
“We are extremely excited to partner with the storytellers at DC Comics to further explore the complex tale of NIER; to explore its unusual characters; and, to introduce new fans to a storyline that will challenge what they know from beginning to end,” said John Yamamoto, president and chief executive officer of Square Enix, Inc. “NIER is a game that paints a sophisticated and graphic picture of the despair resulting from an apocalyptic plague and the triumph of a father’s will to protect his most prized possession, his daughter. DC Comics’ ability to create colorful and engaging comics will help deliver NIER’s unusual story to gamers and prepare them for what lies ahead in the game. By exploring the comics, gamers will understand the basis of Nier’s world before they even pick up a sword or cast a spell.”
The NIER comics will be available on the game’s official Web site at http://www.NIERGame.com, on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and on PlayStation®Store for PlayStation3 between now and April 27. The comics will reveal tantalizing clues about key characters from the game, including the title-character Nier; his disease-stricken daughter, Yonah; a conflicted and foul-mouthed fighting companion, Kainé; and, the talking book with an attitude, Grimoire Weiss. In addition, the NIER comics will address questions that have yet to be answered, namely, what sequence of events led to the fall of humanity? How was the deadly disease, The Black Scrawl, introduced to the earth? And, where did the terrifying Shades come from and why do they torment the few remaining survivors?
There will be three NIER comics in all, each telling a unique, yet overlapping story. The comics are being created by some of DC Comics’ most renowned creators and illustrators, including Emmy-winning creator and executive producer Ricardo Sanchez; Pop Mhan, whose work has appeared on everything from Spider-Man and Ghost Rider at Marvel Comics to Batgirl and The Flash at DC Comics; Eddie Nuñez, who works on the soon-to-be released DC Universe MMO; and, Carlos D’Anda, who has worked on notable comic book titles such as Justice League of America, Deathblow, and Lego’s Bionice, was the lead Character Designer on the bestselling Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s Arkham Asylum and is the Lead concept Artist on the DC Universe MMO from Sony Online Entertainment.”
Nier fans, before you get too excited, let me warn you. These comics are not good. They are in fact hilarious because they are meant to tie in but it seems like poor writer Ricardo Sanchez was only given the bare bones summary of the game and told to come up with his own supplemental material. Its FASCINATING! Kaine is still foul mouthed and full of sass, so he was clearly informed of part of the game but the rest of this, whooooo, just so weird, and not in anyway an actual tie in to Nier’s story. Another funny thing about this is that when these were advertised, they said “Wildstar” would be the comic company publishing them. Clearly not too much attention or money was put into this.
So why am I highlighting them here? Well first off, I LOVE the video game Nier. One of my favorite games of all time. I had no clue these existed until well after I had played the game and stumbled upon them online. By the way all 3 are still hosted online by Sanchez. Read them here:
Im also writing about these because I love weird media tie-in products that arent carefully curated or werent given all the information they needed, like in the Super Mario Bros 3 cartoon where the Koopalings dont have their actual names or the Marvel Star Wars comics with a different Jabba the Hutt, etc. I grew up in an era where we got such crazy video game tie in stuff where only the basic necessities of an idea were needed to adapt. All the video game media seen through a USA lens without the whole picture, its one of my favorite things in this world. It hearkens back to an earlier time in the 90’s, such a mainstay of my childhood. These issues, released in 2010, are kind of a last gasp of when we still got things like this. It really delights me to no end they thought to do this, especially with such an unheralded weird game like Nier.
The first issue is drawn by Carlos D’Anda, the man who I feel is responsible for the change in design to the Harley Quinn we have today, as he was the character designer for Batman: Arkham Asylum. It tells us a rather odd origin story about an evil wizard named Adler who in order to stop the plague in the game, used magic to rip people’s souls out of their bodies. Eventually all the people are killed besides one man who leaves but is separated from his soul. This man I presume is meant to be the titular Nier, as if you try to match the game’s events with this, thats the only answer. Dear reader, this Adler is never brought up in the game or any official material for the story. This is his only appearance. This isnt even close to anything for the plot of the game. The closest you can get is souls and bodies being separated. See what I mean with being given the barest of information and told to run wild with some type of story? I eat this weird stuff up!!
One thing I will give them here is their Kaine is spot on perfect and I love her in this
Issue 2 does more of the same with Kaine recounting a story of her fighting the Shades, the enemy in the game. Pop Mhan, I assume was given maybe one picture of reference for the shades as theyre super fun off model looking and then a big one that looks like some pig dragon thing attacks. This shade also talks, which if youve played the game, know is a huge error on their part, like massively so to the overall story. Its terrible and I LOVE IT!!
Issue 3 has Nier telling a story about how he used to “roam the wastelands” with his daughter Yonah. One night he hunts a rabbit and comes upon a beautiful flower. He picks it for Yonah but a big robot guardian attacks him for it. We then pop back to the present and our characters find another big huge offmodel Shade thats more of a big tentacle crab demon creature out of Doom, certainly not Nier. Hahahaha man. This is some Captain N level interpretation of the actual game world. Its technically sort of correct, but also every single things is wrong. Its insane this was ever made. Im so thankful it was.
I love/hate Wildstorm’s bizarre version of Nier. Its a full on Americanized version and it brings me so much joy but it also never needed to be made and doesnt matter in the slightest for the official story. Its a beautiful relic of a bygone era. Remember when you could buy digital comics off of Xbox Live & the PS3 store?? Imagine downloading these and thinking this is the story, playing through all the hours of Nier, waiting for the despicable wizard Adler to show up. INSANE! I think about these little comics way too much and I needed to spread the word and archive this information for the internet. None of these ever had to exist but I sure am glad we can still read them to this day.