NieR Automata: Story & All Endings Explained
Part Two: The Outcome of Project Gestalt and Eve’s Demise
The rogue machines tell 2B and Pascal to meet them at the Abandoned Factory, where they can discuss terms of peace. However, this turns out to be a trap of sorts. For an unknown reason (which will be revealed much later), the machines start to kill themselves and each other, along with anyone in their surrounding area. The machines start chanting about becoming gods through death. Realizing that there’s no way to discuss peace terms with these berserk machines whose eyes have started to glow an eerie red, 2B and Pascal attempt to escape the Abandoned Factory.
9S recovers from his injuries and immediately goes to 2B’s assistance by remotely controlling a machine unit from the safety of the Bunker. While securing an escape route for 2B, he hacks into the machine network and discovers a few files related to Project Gestalt. As it turns out, Project Gestalt ended up being a massive failure, and all of humanity was wiped out. The Replicant data from the project was gathered and fired off to the moon as a beacon. The moon beacon was then used as a relay point to consistently ping messages to Earth and the Bunker to make the androids think that the humans were still alive and well.
In order to perpetuate the lie and to keep the surviving androids’ morale from sinking to an all-time low, Project YoRHa was launched. This project sought to train elite androids to help take back the planet from the machines. By lying to the YoRHa units that humanity was still alive, the androids would feel that they still had a purpose and something to fight for. It’s important to understand that according to the game’s lore, an android’s basic instinct is to serve and protect the human beings. Knowing that all humans were dead would inevitably cause the androids to sink into depression, thus leading to their eventual extinction. Only a trusted few were privy to this information, like the YoRHa commander.
9S helps 2B escape the factory, but it isn’t long before they’re confronted by Eve. At this point, all of the machines, save for Pascal’s colony, have been overtaken by some sort of virus being spread by Eve himself. Eve’s tattoo has also started to expand, revealing the symbol of the Cult of the Watchers on his chest. Interestingly enough, all of the infected machines have glowing red eyes – a call back to the White Chlorination Syndrome in NieR and the mind controlled Empire in Drakengard. 9S takes his flight unit and returns to Earth to assist 2B.
During the battle with Eve, 9S is forced to hack into Eve’s system to stop him from regenerating his health through the machine network. However, 9S’ own systems are corrupted during this process. After defeating Eve, 9S is severely injured once again due to his systems going haywire from the hacking attempt. As a final wish, he asks 2B to end his life. As 9S’ consciousness fades, 2B begins to sob as she chokes him to death, uttering the words, “It always ends like this.” The significance of this line will be explained later on in the game.
However, 9S miraculously comes back to life as it’s soon revealed that he actually managed to upload his memory data into a machine’s body that was lying in the area. Filled with relief, 2B tells 9S that she’s glad he’s fine. All around them, the machines, now free from Eve’s control, start to regain some of their own consciousness and free will.
Back at the Bunker, 9S struggles with the question of whether or not he should tell 2B the truth about humanity and Project Gestalt. Before he can make a decision, the commander approaches him, and she already knows that he’s found out the truth. The commander gives him another report on Project Gestalt, and doesn’t say anything when 9S questions why she’s just giving him this information. Soon after, the YoRHa units receive reports that the machines seem to be launching an assault on the resistance forces, and they’re tasked with taking them down. The commander gives the androids a stirring speech, telling them that this is the true battle for Earth, and this is where they take back their homeland from the machines.