After months of silence, confusing statements, and the product page briefly disappearing from the Square Enix store, the PC version of the highly anticipated NieR: Automata received a release date. PC gamers will finally have the chance to experience the creation of Yoko Taro, a peculiar developer who [rightfully] finds the industry’s celebration of violence insane.
Yoko Taro has been in the industry for two decades and in this time he worked in many games, including the Drakengard trilogy and its spin-off, NieR. Despite gameplay flaws, both franchises garnered a cult following, a feat that sparked Square Enix’s interest in a sequel to 2010’s NieR. The confirmation that the PC port hadn’t been canceled or delayed for months was a welcome surprise. But even more surprising were the minimum system requirements.
Video games and the hardware required to power them evolve side by side. One depends on the other because [obiously] video games need powerful machines to run while the companies developing these machines need video games to showcase the power of their products. Most PC gamers are constantly upgrading their computer’s pieces to keep up with the latest technology trends, but developers hardly ever forget about those who can only keep up with the discounts at the grocery store.
Depending on the engine’s optimization, NieR: Automata might run smoothly on older computers as it requires at least Windows 7 x64, Intel Core i3 2100 or AMD A8-6500, 4 GB of RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 or AMD Radeon R9 270X, DirectX 11, and at least 50 GB of free HD space. While the GTX 770 is a high-end graphics processor, the Intel Core i3 2100 is an old low-budget CPU. That and the fact the developers listed 4 GB of RAM suggests that NieR: Automata shouldn’t be too demanding–but as we pointed out before, the engine’s optimization also plays a big part in performance.
For comparison, Dark Souls requires at least Windows XP, Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 or AMD Phenom II X2 545, 2 GB of RAM, GeForce 9800 GTX or ATI Radeon HD 4870, and DirectX 9. Still, many Steam reviews (especially the negative ones) point out that the port presents performance issues on top of other problems.
If NieR: Automata turns out to be so well optimized that the minimum requirements will be enough for smooth framerates, then the good news are that low-budget gamers will be able to enjoy it and that we can start speculating a NieR port. Considering Square Enix’s position with the FINAL FANTASY franchise (porting even X/X-2, which were PlayStation exclusives), it’s only fair to imagine that the success of Automata may influence the development of a port for its predecessor. The more it sells and the more positive reviews it gathers, the higher the chances for another port within the series.
An action RPG developed by PlatinumGames (Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance) and published by Square Enix, NieR: Automata comes out in less than two weeks on March 17 for Windows PC. PlayStation 4 owners can play it earlier as it comes out for the console on March 7.