I’m still inordinately obsessed with NieR: Automata and I’ll probably write a lot about it, but I want to jot down a tinfoil hat theory about a certain recurring Drakengard/Nier character. I also want to complain about a particular endgame antagonist, so be aware that this is full of spoilers for Routes C, D, and E.
If you’re familiar with Drakengard 3, you may recall a certain android named Accord
She appears in Drakengard 3, claiming to have been sent from a distant future to observe events of the past, particularly those centered around Zero, a woman who bears a parasitic flower (itself an entity intent on destroying the planet). For the most part Accord doesn’t interfere; the one time she does interfere is to ensure Zero fulfills her mission of wiping out her sisters One, Two, Three, Four, Five and then to finally commit suicide and destroy the flower. Accord is confirmed to have existed across timelines, and to also exist within the world of NieR: Automata, though never onscreen.
So one obvious possibility is that she is a YoRHa descendant: she does look a bit like some YoRHa units–the black-and-white color scheme, the blue eyes, the thigh-highs. She also doesn’t seem that much more advanced than YoRHa units, with limited defensive combat capabilities, other than her ability to communicate across and travel through different realities. (Though oddly, if you watch how 2B dodges–and keeping in mind that 2B is among the most advanced YoRHa soldiers, as an E unit–she does appear to phase through time-space, unless it’s just a matter of projecting holograms of herself.) Accord’s body, under her skin, also looks a lot like the YoRHa corpses we encounter through NA.
But there’s someone whose design resembles hers a lot more:
The machine network also happens to manifest like this–
Black hair, blue eyes. It may just be a design thing (what colors are most striking, etc), though Yoko Taro does do an awful lot of callbacks to earlier games, and the color choices often seem very intentional. To add onto this, as far as we know, YoRHa didn’t quite develop spacefaring tech (their transportation only happens between orbital stations around Earth and the moon), and haven’t had any reason to do so. The machines, on the other hand, would retain information on spacefaring from their alien creators, and would be likelier to develop technology that allows them to cross time and reality–like, say, sending an observer through timelines.
Another note is that the machine Terminals, the ‘Red Girls’, are pretty malicious. I’ll say here that this is my least favorite aspect of the game: having a super AI turn out to be evil and take the form of creepy little girls is a little done, and seems antithetical to what has come before. Prior to this the machines have primarily acted in self-defense, creating Adam and Eve to counter the advance of YoRHa (many of which units destroy hostile and non-hostile machines with equal fervor; hi baby-skewering A2). Adam and Eve are far from cuddly, but like the rest of the machines (or the androids really) they’re driven primarily by the fear of loneliness, and as managers of the machine network they don’t torture their own subordinates. The Red Girls aren’t only out to torment 9S until he snaps, the Red Girls also force machines who don’t want to fight into throwing themselves at–and being slaughtered by–9S and A2 on their respective death marches. (The machines beg, plead, and weep the entire way.) Out of the game’s tragic, nuanced antagonists, the Terminals are almost cartoonishly evil. They are happy humanity is extinct, they are happy their alien creators are extinct, they are happy YoRHa is extinct, they are happy to watch androids and (their own creations) Adam/Eve in pain. Really they’re happy as long as somebody is suffering.
But, their malice–and their interest in gathering as much data as possible in order to evolve–would explain why Accord does what she does. That is, she has not been tasked with preventing the extinction of humanity; if she was, she would have interfered with the destruction of Project Gestalt, prevented the death of the Shadowlord, and stopped the materialization of the original queen-beast in modern-day Tokyo. Accord though does interfere with the planet itself is in peril. Humankind going extinct is fine, since after all if they’d survived, the machine network might never have had a chance to spring into being. If Earth had been broken into little pieces though, there would be… well… no planet for the machine network to evolve on.
In Routes D and E of NieR: Automata, we know that the Red Girls have decided to leave Earth, launching an Ark into space that contains the data of all machines, of YoRHa, Project Gestalt and possibly what remains of the human genome. So maybe they do land on a suitable world (perhaps the original home planet of their alien creators?), create a machine civilization, and eventually build the androids known as Accord.
I mean, we’ll never know: Taro being Taro, he’ll probably keep Accord’s origins and creation one of those perpetual mysteries within this universe. But it’s fun to theorize, and funner when you consider that–like the machines turning on their alien creators–Accord herself strays from her given purpose. The last we see of her in Drakengard 3 she is no longer a distant and objective narrator, but one who voices the player’s hope, one last optimistic wish: ‘I cannot shake the feeling that somehow, somewhere, Zero is still alive. And someday, she and I will see each other again.
Crazy, I know. But call it a hunch.’