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'NieR: Automata' trailer pits android against android for the fate of the Earth

Why it matters to you

Like Ex Machina and Blade Runner, NieR: Automata is prepared to ask existential questions about androids.

Human beings haven’t exactly shown enough appreciation for Earth over the years, with pollution and deforestation destroying much of what made the planet so beautiful. In PlatinumGames’ NieR: Automata, androids have become the protectors of the planet, and in a mission to serve humans, a particular unit shows the courage that few living, breathing beings can.

“I never quite realized how beautiful this world is,” the android known as “2B” says in the latest trailer as she stares off into a vista filled with skyscrapers long overtaken by the surrounding foliage.

Set more than 9,000 years in the future, NieR: Automata sees a world in the midst of the “14th Machine War,” a conflict that has pitted human-serving androids against enormous, Metal Gear-like machines.

With glowing red eyes and saw-equipped limbs, they appear ready to strike down 2B in a matter of seconds, but she and partner “9S” remain committed to taking back Earth for their human masters. The odds appear at least slightly more favorable for 2B when she enters a mech suit, but her primary means of attack is her trusty sword.

Not all androids fight for good, however. The “twins” Adam and Eve, who would have been right at home in Final Fantasy XV, appear to have gone “off script” and stand in the way of 2B’s mission.

“Androids were designed to protect their human masters. Even if it’s pointless, you still have to do it,” 2B says in the trailer.

NieR: Automata is the long-awaited follow-up to Nier, a 2010 action-RPG that was itself a spinoff of the Drakengard series. The original wasn’t particularly well-received, with reviewers criticizing its lack of polish and poor visuals, but the sequel is in the hands of PlatinumGames — though the developer’s last few projects have stumbled, with a library like Bayonetta 2 and MadWorld, we have very high hopes for Automata.

NieR: Automata launches on March 7 for PlayStation 4, with a PC version coming later. A free demo is currently available on the PlayStation store.