Nier: Automata's last greatest secret, hoax or not, is finally real and playable.
The Nier: Automata Church mod (opens in new tab) is the long-awaited release from the modders who gripped the gaming community with one of this year's biggest mysteries (opens in new tab). It's a roughly hour-long tribute to Nier: Replicant and Drakengard 3 and features new, groundbreaking modding techniques.
The mod's creators encourage you to use the Nier: Automata Mod Helper (opens in new tab) to install the mod, otherwise, you can just drop it into the data folder for the game. They recommend that you are around level 90 so the few fights in it are a challenge. The description says that "improvements" and "even bigger changes" will be added to it down the line.
Twitch user Jaynoo played through the mod on stream (opens in new tab). Most of it will be familiar to anyone who followed the saga of Sadfutago, the fake identity used to tease the mod on Reddit and Discord. In the 9S portion of the game's story, you can enter a hidden door in the Copied City level. Through a twisted hallway is the entrance to the now-famous church. When you enter it, a cutscene plays (something thought to be impossible with mods before) and you fight a black monster, known via memes as "bloby".
After you defeat "bloby" and solve a riddle, you're dropped into a massive, dark room filled with statues ripped straight from one of the secret endings to Drakengard 3. Interacting with the flower in the middle of the room unleashes several enemies and, eventually, a boss that looks harder than anything else in the game.
The entire mod utilizes modding techniques, like custom level geometry and bosses, that represent a major breakthrough for the community. That's why nobody believed Sadfutago's post about a hidden church in the game, prompting people to search every byte of data for clues. The game's creator Yoko Taro even responded to the whole thing on Twitter (opens in new tab). "It got out of hand as you may have noticed," Devolas told PC Gamer (opens in new tab) after it was all revealed to be a modding project later that week.
The people who worked on the church mod said that this will only be the first step toward more substantial mods in the future. They've already released the tools (opens in new tab) for others to create their own mods and expect the community to find tons of uses for them in the future.