NieR Re[in]carnation (ニーア リィンカーネーション) is a free-to-play mobile game supported by microtransactions and marks one of the many projects commemorating the tenth anniversary of the NieR series. It was first announced during the March 29, 2020 Niconico livestream along with NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139....
Kazuma Koda is the main concept artist (Replicant v1.22) while Akihiko Yoshida is the main character designer (NieR:Automata).
The closed beta ended on August 5, 2020.
Re[in]carnation is being written by Yoko Taro and Saito Yosuke. Saito remarked that this NieR entry will be "story heavy" with more text than other social games in the market. Yoko remarked that it's tied to its predecessors, yet is "definitely its own title, not a spin-off of Gestalt/Replicant or Automata." As the story unfolds, its ties to NieR will become more apparent.
In response to fans being uneasy about playing a new series entry on smartphones, Yoko commented that it's his aspiration to have this title appeal to anyone who likes smartphone games, not just NieR fans. Saito chimed his hopes that "Yoko World" and NieR fans will appreciate this new entry. They plan to keep the story alive as ongoing updates, so long as game sales don't dip too far into the red.
When asked if Re[in]carnation will share any ties to SINoALICE, Yoko stated that the only similarities they share is the gacha found in social games as a whole.
Saito and Yoko have faith that the young, active team of developers will wow and surprise players; the "elders' roles" aren't as involved as older titles. Continuing his ongoing joke in interviews of Yoko disdaining "good looking, popular guys," he notes it's impossible for him to get along with Applibot's director.
Koda noted that stone-built and unified towers form the world aesthetic. His goal is to capture a particular ethnic aesthetic of the setting, which was censored by Dengeki post interview.
Okabe composed a new soundtrack. Out of the decade or so working with his colleague, Yoko particularly praised him for Re[in]carnation's main theme. Keeping in tone with Yoko's requests to include a feeling close to NieR with vocals in the songs, Okabe also played around with several music genres. He hopes to leave listeners with a different resonance than previous entries.
The world takes place in an area simply known as "The Cage" (檻)—a series of towers and dungeons, sometime in the future. A girl awakens on a stone floor with no voice and no memories. She is greeted by a strange being calling itself Mama. In order to restore what she has lost and to redeem herself from a past sin, the girl and Mama travel to reawaken fragments of a forgotten world.
- Girl of Light (白い少女) - Voiced by Rika Nagae. Main character who is controlled on the world map. Kind, amnesic girl who awakens within a cage. Explores with Mama. Suffers from mysterious nightmares every night. Confirmed to not be Kainé.
- Mama (ママ) - Voiced by Yumi Hara. Little white ghost-like avatar hovering near White Girl. Mother-like figure who appears to be familiar with the cages. Wants to help White Girl recover what she has lost. Game mascot.
- Dark Monster (黒き怪物) - Voiced by Motoyuki Kawahara. A being that appears to be a black armored knight with insect-like traits. Driven by unknown motives.
Variations of these character archetypes can be unlocked through the gacha.
- Wanderer (流浪の少年) - Voiced by Junko Minagawa. Gentle and wise vagrant who travels with Mechanical Soldier from country to country. He travels to fulfill a particular oath.
- Prosthetic Hunter (義肢の狩人) Voiced by Ayaka Fukuhara. Hunter recluse who hails from a forest country. Her prosthetic arm and leg carry a tale of profound anger and sorrow.
- Clockwork Soldier (機械仕掛けの兵士) Voiced by Takuya Satou. Ancient warrior found slumbering underneath castle ruins. Thanks to Wandering Boy, his "will" is activated once more.
- Assassin (暗殺者) Voiced by Eri Kitamura. Talented member of a renowned assassin's guild. She has the favor of its current leader, to whom she is deeply loyal.
- According to Yoko's commentary, "To begin with, I don't think you can even call it a RPG."
- Gacha are involved for microtransactions. In Yoko's words, "We tried to do our own thing with the gacha, but thinking about it now, it's a gacha that's pretty much like Puzzle & Dragons."
- Plans are in place for a fully voiced experience.
Words were randomly scrambled during the closed beta, perhaps for a surprise reveal in the final release. Main story elements are hinted but not clarified.
Two major phases introduced is world exploration and the battle system.
World exploration is similar to the majority of social games in the market: tap or hold on the touch screen to move White Girl to designated spots on the mini map. The world is rendered in 3D like the other main titles. NPCs are present yet so far scant. While wandering, character dialogue may occur. In-game cinematics retain the letter box effect from previous titles.
Certain pre-rendered cinematics have a 2D style reminiscent of Automata's picture books. A Weapon Story's full completion is necessary to progress with the beta's main story. So far, it's unclear if this is the same gameplay loop for the final product.
White Girl segments have non-combative exploration. The Weapon Story reenactments feature cinematics and battle sequences. Players flip between the present and the past contained within the Weapon Story to proceed.
Battles can be manual or automated. Its visual set up resembles many JRPG social games, with heroes and enemies lined in parallel rows on the screen. A fast-forward function is included.
Players can assemble a three-man party whose actions are dictated by cool down timers. Characters may attack, use a unique character skill, or use a skill from their currently equipped weapon. Each character has their own stats and health points, which can be customized by equipment earned through the story or gacha. Strategy is reliant on the player's command input timing and the player characters' equipment setup.
Additional support can come through way of Companions (オトモ), tiny creatures that can be individually leveled up from the main party. Each Companion has distinct buffs and effects that may be used only once per battle. They must be equipped on a character prior to combat and can be obtained through sub quests.
Individual character equipment includes their main weapon, two sub weapons, three Memories (miscellaneous attributes from character leveling), and one Companion. Each character specializes in a unique weapon type as their main, and they can equip non-compatible weapons for their subs. Skill points to further strengthen characters can be earned when they level up.
Weapons and equipment can be leveled up in the Strengthening option in the main menu, often options being reliant on the game's gacha. Rarity is judged by stars, the highest and strongest weapons being ☆4. Their maximum level is 40. Weapons continue to have four story parts that unlock as it's strengthened.
Outside of the main story, the menu has GUI for character side stories. A dungeon mode, daily quests, and other challenges modes were included. These modes can be initiated by using Stamina, the in-game energy gauge for limiting play.