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NieR Reincarnation Release Date, Gameplay & Trailers

NieR Automata’s success brought the idiosyncratic JRPG franchise back into the spotlight, and it’s not going away any time soon. Not only is a remaster of NieR Replicant on the way to PC and console in 2021, but a brand-new smartphone game is coming too: NieR Reincarnation, stylised as Re[in]carnation by Square Enix.

We don’t know much about the game so far, but here’s what we do have.

When is the NieR Reincarnation release date?

We don’t know just yet. But since it was announced as part of the NieR 10th anniversary celebrations for 2020, it stands to reason that it’s likely to come out within the year too, unless Covid gets in the way.

The good news is that during a Tokyo Game Show livestream the devs confirmed that the game will be coming to Europe and America, putting to bed any fears that it might have been a Japan-only release.

Will it be on both iOS and Android?

Yup. NieR Reincarnation is set to come to smartphones that run either operating system, so any modern phone should be able to run the game. The only thing we don’t know is the system requirements, so we don’t know how old a phone you’ll be able to get away with using.

Will it be free-to-play?

It looks likely! The game’s official website is in Japanese, but a quick Google Translate yields this tidbit:

“Price: Item charge system (basic play free)”

That sounds an awful lot like free-to-play with micro-transactions. We’ve expecting a gacha-style game with a random-chance element to unlock weapons, equipment, and other in-game items through a combination of paying and random chance.

Watch the trailer

There’s no gameplay footage in it, but NieR Reincarnation’s announcement trailer at least gives a sense of the game’s melancholic tone:

To watch proper gameplay footage you’ll want this short clip, released by Square in April:

There’s more gameplay footage in the glitchy Tokyo Game Show 2020 trailer, but it’s still far from a clear look at how the game will work in practice:

What is the gameplay like?

This remains the big mystery! Publisher Square Enix hasn’t given away much of what to expect from Reincarnation in terms of actual gameplay.

From the gameplay footage above you can see that you’ll get to explore a full 3D world using touchscreen controls, seemingly working through a ruined city. 

We learned a little more from the Tokyo Game Show stream, when director Daichi Matsukawa explained that players will be led by a sort of ghost called Mama, and will navigate a space called The Cage to collect “weapon’s memory.”

“The Cage is depicted in 3D, while weapon’s memory is in 2D,” Matsukawa said (translated from Japanese), “and as you go back and forth between these two realms, the main scenario moves forward.

“Those weapon’s memory, distorted, and whose fate was changed, need to be restored and the players will need to engage in battle in certain areas. But as for what exactly is The Cage and who is Mama, cannot be revealed here just yet, I’m afraid. This will be revealed little by little within the game.”

NieR: Reincarnation is being developed by Applibot, a Japanese smartphone game dev with titles including Blade XLord and Gangroad Joker. Character design comes from CyDesignation.

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