A Happier Ending? Nier Automata’s ’Joke’ Endings

In addition to its five main endings, Nier Automata completes its A-Z of endings with 21 bad endings that can be triggered at various points throughout the game. Whilst some of these endings accelerate the bleak vision of the future that permeates the game, a handful of them actually offer a brighter outlook for 2B, 9S and A2 than the proper endings. In this article, I examine joke endings F-Z, and rate them on a happiness scale, from a single Emil head (pretty depressing) to five Emil heads (comparatively cheerful).

mission [F]ailed

YoRHa could not stand up to the might of the Goliaths; now their extinction is only a matter of time. It seems that mankind will never regain its former glory.

You get this ending if 9S fails to self-repair before the timer runs out. Although it spares the protagonists from the gruelling events of the game, it still dooms everyone in YoRHa.

 

 

hun[G]ry for knowledge

9S was last heard to say: “I can’t control my curiosity about machines anymore. I’m leaving so I can study them as much as I want!” …He was never heard from again.

Instead of heading out to assist 2B, 9S decides to live a secluded life of research, thus avoiding getting caught up in the events of the game. Presumably it didn’t work out so well for everyone else, but at least this way 9S is spared a whole lot of pain and agony.

 

 

a mountain too [H]igh

2B and 9S chose to abandon their mission, allowing the machines to wreak destruction upon the city ruins and Resistance camp.

The extinction of YoRHa is also surely a matter of time.

Again, YoRHa is doomed in this ending, but hopefully both 2B and 9S made a clean getaway and are now living a quiet life in the mountains.

 

 

no [I] in team

9S waited several decades for 2B to return.

…But she was never seen again.

A mixed ending, this one. Having walked away from 9S in the Copied City, we can only hope that 2B made it out alive and enjoyed a quiet, solitary existence. Meanwhile, the mere fact that 9S was able to wait for decades indicates that he, too, survives longer than he might otherwise have.

 

 

bad [J]udgment

In a sudden fit of temper, 2B wiped out the machine lifeforms, and no peace was born that day.

We don’t have much to go on with this ending. Did things get worse because of 2B’s actions, or did she manage to avert a greater disaster?

 

 

aji wo [K]utta

Having consumed the mackerel, it didn’t take long for the android’s bodily fluids to congeal. Muscle rigidity and paralysis soon followed.

It was good though” the android thought as consciousness faded. “Exquisite even. No wonder humans used to eat them…”

If any of the three androids dare to snack on a mackerel, a swift death is their reward – but at least they died happy. In some ways, that’s better than the prolonged suffering brought on by a logic virus.

 

 

[L]one wolf

Fed up, 2B left the camp to its fate and decided to…go fishing? Yeah, that’s it! Fishing! With a smile on her face, she packed up and headed for the coast.

Ten years later, 2B would find herself hunted by both machine lifeforms and YoRHa assassins – a life she seemed to enjoy more than her previous one.

This is probably the best ending Nier Automata has to offer. 2B abandons her duty for a happier life – and what’s more, she’s still alive ten years later.

 

 

break ti[M]e

A2 suddenly felt like taking a little stroll. And though the walk gave her a sense of peace and fulfilment, Pascal’s village had been reduced to rubble when she returned.

It’s not clear what the long term effects of this ending are, but at least A2 manages to gain a fleeting sense of calm quietude in her otherwise turbulent existence.

 

 

[N]o man’s village

A village of peaceful machines was wiped out through the actions of one deranged android.

Thus did the peaceful machines go extinct. Their village is now a haunted, forbidden place. Those who wander too close can hear the mad sounds of an android’s laughter.

It may have been at the cost of Pascal’s entire village and their own sanity, but at least the android who committed this murderous act is well clear of the events of the main game.

 

 

Just y[O]u and me

Some YoRHa units abandoned their mission, the operation failed, and every android met their demise.

…Well, except for the really selfish ones. They were fine.

Given that YoRHa is doomed in the main storyline, can we really blame these androids for getting out while the going’s good? If someone survives, then that’s a small victory.

corru[P]tion

The virus reached 2B’s central nervous system. She soon lost all sense of reason, and ended up roaming the ruins until her power failed.

By this point, 2B is doomed anyway, but in this ending she doesn’t get the mercy of a quick death at the hands of A2, and presumably A2 is therefore not drawn into the fight. 9S probably still goes crazy and dies senselessly. Is sparing A2 from involvement worth the meaningless deaths of 2B and 9S?

 

 

[Q]uestionable actions

9S suddenly lost interest in 2B. No one knows why – he just didn’t care anymore.

Maybe it’s better this way. Instead of obsessing over 2B to the point where he’s barely responsible for his actions any more, 9S is able to get out and live out whatever time he has left away from the conflict.

 

 

mave[R]ick

A2 had a “bright” idea that involved destroying every machine in sight. Pascal could only watch in astonishment.

Again, we don’t really know what the long term effects of this ending are. By this point, A2 and 9S are pretty much committed to their paths, so maybe all this achieves is a respite for some nagging bloodlust.

 

 

city e[S]cape

Of course, Devola and Popola died. Their lifeless bodies were found shortly thereafter, each clutched tightly in the other’s arms.

Devola and Popola definitely lose their lives in this ending, but at least they bought enough time for 9S to escape. Hopefully he found a quiet spot to live out the rest of his days.

 

 

fa[T]al error

Caution! Handle With Care!

Removal of the OS chip will result in death.

Any android who removes their OS chip will immediately experience fatal consequences – and it’s not nearly as pleasurable a suicide method as biting into a delicious mackerel. Depending on when in the game this occurs, it could spare them a lot of emotional pain, though.

 

 

deb[U]nked

By self-destructing at the Bunker, the entire structure ended up exploding in a spectacular fashion. But hey, it sure did look pretty from Earth!

Somewhere in the depths of space, the Commander still floats about with a stern look on her face.

Early on, this seems like a terrible ending – you’ve just destroyed the Bunker and most of YoRHa! But given that everyone is going to get infected with a logic virus and die horribly, maybe this is a cleaner death.

 

 

reckless bra[V]ery

9S decided not to hack the Tower in order to help Devola and Popola. It was a nice thought, but they all ended up getting killed anyway.

At least in Ending S, 9S manages to get away, and we can imagine that he got to experience a quiet few days or weeks before the logic virus consumes him. But in this ending, all he does is hasten everyone’s deaths right before the final section of the game. Way to go, 9S.

 

 

broken [W]ings

The YoRHa force was annihilated…

And Earth went on to become a paradise for the machines.

Fail the first mission, and the game proper won’t even begin. As with some of the other early endings, you can at least take heart in knowing that YoRHa was spare a certain amount of anguish and suffering.

 

 

time to rela[X]

A2 suddenly felt like taking a little stroll. And though the walk gave her a sense of peace and fulfilment, 2B’s body had been consumed by machines when she returned.

Something of a combination of endings M and P, this ending might doom 2B to a more painful death, but it probably spares A2 from getting drawn into the conflict. In this instance, we know for sure that A2 actually got some peace and quiet from her decision, so it’s just that little bit happier than Ending P.

 

 

head[Y] battle

The Emils caused their fusion reactors to go out of control, turning the planet into a dead chunk of rock, tumbling through the vast vacuum of an uncaring universe.

Thanks to Emil, everyone dies. There isn’t even the chance of resurrection or a slim hope for a better future.

 

 

over[Z]ealous

A2 destroyed Pascal. Pascal’s death lead to the collapse of his village and its residents going out of control, resulting in the elimination of all androids on Earth.

In the other endings where an android destroys friendly machines, we don’t really get to hear about the long term consequences. But here, they are clearly spelled out – killing Pascal will lead to the death of all androids on Earth – even the ones who ran away to go fishing and enjoy a quieter life. I guess some may survive in the Bunker, but it’s only a matter of time before the logic virus gets them.

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