NieR Automata: Story & All Endings Explained
Part One: 2B and 9S
NieR: Automata is set centuries after the events of the original NieR. At the end of NieR, it was unclear whether Project Gestalt was a success or not, especially when you take that game’s multiple endings into consideration. However, Automata tells us that aliens have invaded Earth, and because of this, the humans have been forced to take refuge on the moon. From this, we can infer that Project Gestalt must have been a success.
To take back Earth from the machine lifeforms created by the aliens, the YoRHa androids were created. These elite androids are tasked with helping the android resistance force on Earth to battle against the machines. Our story starts with YoRHa units 2B and 9S. The game begins with 2B infiltrating an abandoned factory to take down a Goliath machine on Earth with fellow Type-B models. However, her entire squad is shot out of the air by the machines, and only 2B survives. 9S is a scanner model who meets 2B at the factory, and he tells her that he’ll be providing recon support during her mission.
2B eventually tracks down the Goliath. However, the Goliath is a pretty tough machine, and 9S ends up taking a serious injury while trying to protect 2B from getting hit. With the help of 9S and his flight unit, 2B eventually manages to defeat the Goliath, though she ends up getting injured too. During the fight, 9S tells his Pod to upload 2B’s data bank to the bunker so that she can retain her memories and transfer them to a new body if she happens to get destroyed. However, 9S doesn’t have enough time to upload his own data as well.
When 2B is reunited with 9S, the both are injured, and the pair is quickly surrounded by even more Goliath machines. They decide to initiate a self-destruct sequence via a black box reaction. This kills the both of them, including all Goliaths in the area.
2B wakes up in the space bunker, with a new body and her old memories intact. She meets 9S in the bunker hallway, but quickly realizes that he doesn’t remember anything that happened in the factory. As 9S walks away, we see that 2B is visibly affected by that knowledge. The two of them are paired up for yet another mission, and this time, they’re tasked with providing aid to the resistance force on Earth.
During their endeavors on Earth, 2B and 9S soon encounter two human-like machine lifeforms named Adam and Eve. These two men quickly take control of the other machine lifeforms and become their leaders. We also meet Pascal, a peaceful machine who takes care of a small colony full of non-hostile machines. Soon after meeting Pascal, the city is attacked by Goliath class machines. The androids win the battle, but much of the city is destroyed even further to reveal an underground cavern.
2B and 9S go to explore the cavern, and this is where they discover the base from which the alien masterminds were operating. However, the aliens are dead, and we find out that they were killed by Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve’s intentions are unclear to the androids, but they quickly state that their next step is to wipe out the humans as well. Adam and Eve are soon defeated by 2B and 9S, though they end up escaping.
Speaking with Pascal, we also find out that there is another machine kingdom hidden in the Forest Zone. The forest machines have a king, and the androids speculate about how they could possibly harbor feelings of loyalty, especially since they’re just robots. When 2B and 9S reach the castle, they find out that the king that the machines were protecting was simply a small, baby machine. Before they can do anything, YoRHa unit A2 shows up and kills the baby. The Operator tells 2B and 9S that A2 is a wanted fugitive, and they’re ordered to kill her. A2 escapes after a heated battle, and 9S asks the YoRHa commander about A2’s crimes. The commander tells 9S that that’s classified information. After asking Pascal about A2, he reveals that he doesn’t know much either, just that she’s a very dangerous android.
Either way, a large machine lifeform soon makes an appearance at the coast of the city, and all YoRHa androids and resistance forces are tasked with taking it down. As 2B and 9S try to destroy the machine, 9S leaves the battlefield, saying that he’ll activate old missiles on the coast to help destroy it. The two are separated again, and while 9S’ plan works, 2B soon wakes up to find that he’s missing. With help from Operator 60 and the Pod, 2B heads down to the city caverns in search of 9S.
She soon finds an elevator that takes her up to a large white copied city. Here, we find the bodies of countless dead androids. In the meantime, 9S has been taken captive by Adam. While trying to restore his systems via the hacker space, 9S learns more about Adam’s motives and his desire to learn more about the purpose of the machines’ existence and the lifestyle of the humans. Unsure of his own purpose, Adam cut himself off from the machine network created by the aliens (just like Pascal and his colony), and is able to act independently. Through the hacker space, Adam also taunts 9S by stating that he’s driven by emotion as well, just like him, and calls him out for harboring feelings for 2B.
2B eventually finds Adam and defeats him. 9S is seriously wounded, however, so he’s sent back to the Bunker for repairs. In the meantime, 2B continues to hunt for Eve, and also attempts to broker a peace between the rogue machines who followed Adam and Eve, and the ones from Pascal’s colony.