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Yoko Taro's Top 10 Games of 2017

NieR:Automata's creator has a few thoughts about the games he loved most in 2017.

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Yoko Taro is a video game writer and director best known for his work on Square-Enix's Drakengard and spin-off Nier franchises. His latest work, NieR:Automata, was developed in collaboration with PlatinumGames, and released in 2017 to critical acclaim. You can find him on Twitter at @yokotaro.

*The platforms mentioned are those that Yoko Taro purchased and played on, and do not represent all of the platforms that the titles have been released on.

10. INSIDE (Steam)

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Playdead’s previous title, LIMBO, was an artistic title that mixed high difficulty gameplay with philosophical questions. I cannot help but purchase a new game from them. That game made me think… while I may be busy every day, I want to make sure to set aside time to play games that are important.

That being said, in the end I wasn’t able to make the time. So although I purchased it on Steam, I haven’t been able to play it even once. Regardless, I am sure that it is a masterpiece. Not only because it is a game developed by Playdead, but also because everyone’s reviews are great as well.

9. Undertale (Steam)

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This game has been a hot topic for gamers in the West for quite a while now, and I have been anxious to play it. The game was first localized to Japanese in 2017, and so, I was finally able to play it. I don’t really need to re-introduce the game here, but I think that it is a masterpiece studded with complex sarcasm and love.

By the way, I was greatly surprised that Undertale had a similar gimmick in its staff credits to the one in NieR:Automata that I created. Undertale was of course released before NieR:Automata, so I wondered if people would think that “NieR copied Undertale” but… since NieR is a game that I made by taking from many other games, I don’t really care. Yeah, not a concern at all.

8. Gravity Rush 2 (PS4)

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As the Western gaming industry becomes more and more polarized to AAA titles and indie games, Japan, at a loss for what to do, reached the conclusion to create games that “exist between AAA titles and indie games.” Within that scope, I feel that Gravity Rush is a unique title where its core idea, game balance, and the world it creates are all much different from others.

By the way, I go drinking with Keiichiro Toyama, the director of this game, from time to time, and when he’s drunk he becomes extremely funny.

7. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony (VITA)

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This is the latest title by Kazutaka Kodaka, who continues to create quirky text adventure games. I can’t really say much about it, but the challenging, large-scale gimmicks that he creates throughout the series made me feel like “they got me!”

I feel like this is a title that deserves much more attention, considering its different destination in the evolution of games, with its art style, gameplay, and more.

6. DoDonPachi Resurrection (Steam)

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This is a game from the “vertical shooters” genre that I love. This title, known as DoDonPachi Resurrection in English, first appeared in the arcades in 2008.

The studio behind it, CAVE, is one of the leading shooter developers in Japan that created “bullet-hell shoot-‘em-ups”… well, one of the few shooter creators that survived. However, they stopped releasing games on consumer platforms after releasing the Xbox 360 version of this title in 2013.

This Steam version was released in 2016, but looking at this makes me feel sad as I wonder, “what could the Japanese vertical shooter industry have done to stay alive?”

5. Alienation (PS4)

4. Nex Machina: Death Machine (PS4)

3. MatterFall (PS4)

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I’d like to introduce Housemarque, a developer that I love, with my top third, fourth and fifth titles.

With these three releases, we were able to enjoy games with great craftsmanship and gameplay. However, Housemarque has recently released a statement that they are going to stop developing arcade style games.

Just as it is for CAVE, whom I mentioned earlier, this makes me really sad. I do want to believe that “a new era will be born, and I want to be excited for new styles of games that will come out of it.” However, I’m 47 already, and I can’t really imagine a future in which I’m devoted to a new genre.

This was an incident… that made me think that us, the players, will also fall and be left behind by the times as well.

2. Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)

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As you may already know, this is a super masterpiece from Guerrilla Games. Their release date was extremely close to NieR:Automata, it was a sci-fi genre title, an action game, and it featured a female protagonist. So much overlap. I thought, “Are you trying to kill me? Give me a break, seriously.”

By the way, the Machines in this game are different from more conventional Western designs of machines/robots, and they are constructed with a delicate physique and detail that Japanese players might like.

Guerrilla Games’ artistic sense has always been superb, even since Killzone, but I felt that their artistic sensibilities have reached a point where I wouldn’t be surprised if Horizon became an animated series.

1. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp (Smart Phone)

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I have been immersed in it for about two days now and it really is a great game. It is difficult to explain how I’m enjoying it, but I’ll leave a link here* to a page where someone has translated my posts.

(*I’m not sure if the translations are correct.)

From the 3DS title, I have felt that the Animal Crossing series has a weird strangeness, or many gaps, in it. What lies beyond that strangeness is never explained in the game, so we have to imagine it for ourselves. But that made me think of how Nintendo really is a great developer for being able to create a game that lets us imagine many things for ourselves, when the current trend in gaming is the sense of obligation to “explain everything” within the game.

The end.

81 Comments

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NoobSauceG7

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mrfluke

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mrfluke • 

Lot of this list having a lot a shoot em ups makes a ton of sense for Yoko Taro,

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niko_of_death

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niko_of_death • 

Oh my god it feels so good to finally have Gravity Rush 2 mentioned.

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elite49

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elite49 • 

Those AC:PC tweets where he basically has his own story going on is wonderful, not to mention the GR2/Horizon love.

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DonChipotle

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DonChipotle • 

Yoko Taro is an international treasure.

I just want to go drinking with him for like ten minutes.

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forteexe21

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forteexe21 • 

The twitter posts for AC: New Leaf is even better than what people were coming up when Villager was announced for Smash.

This was an incident… that made me think that us, the players, will also fall and be left behind by the times as well.

Well, i didnt expect to be depressed after reading a guest top 10 but here we are...

NIER WAS ROBBED

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Undeadpool

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Undeadpool • 

One of the ONLY artists/auteurs I feel like can pull off the whole "so eccentric I wear a mask" thing.

I can think of few people I wouldn't just roll my eyes at and assume they were just doing it for attention other than Yoko Taro.

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Edited By BrennRambles • 

I love how different this list is from so many other lists in the industry. A lot of games I've seen but just passed by. I might need to look into a few of these.

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MancombSeepgood

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gerrid

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gerrid • 

we do not deserve Yoko taro

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Amotter

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elite49

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elite49 • 

One of the ONLY artists/auteurs I feel like can pull off the whole "so eccentric I wear a mask" thing.

I can think of few people I wouldn't just roll my eyes at and assume they were just doing it for attention other than Yoko Taro.

His reasoning for wearing the mask is pretty funny and I feel he also just doesn't like all the attention (even though wearing the mask must give him more but doesn't want his face in the spotlight) and he's just the opposite of Kojima.

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Pepsiman

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Pepsiman • 

I can vouch for the translations of his tweets about Pocket Camp being legit, for those curious. His Japanese Twitter posts are beautiful and go the sorts of places you'd hope they go and then some.

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processr

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processr • 

Shout the heck out to ToastCrust

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Tanked

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Tanked • 

shouted hell yeah and started hysterically laughing at that number 1 pick. yoko taro continues to be a fuckin legend

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Solh0und

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Solh0und • 

This happens 2B a good list.

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DantronLesotho

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emphulio

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emphulio • 

Yoko Taro is just the best

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WilliamFlattener

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WilliamFlattener • 

Yoko Taro mentioning Gravity Rush 2 fills me with warmth and joyous emotions.

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Dray2k

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Dray2k • 

Neat list, especially the mentioning of Nex Machina!

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Pacmantis

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Pacmantis • 

@alex you are a true hero for the work you do getting these lists

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Edited By Sakr • 

This is great. Yoko Taro is great. This list is great. Thank you @alex

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stordoff • 

So although I purchased it on Steam, I haven’t been able to play it even once. Regardless, I am sure that it is a masterpiece. Not only because it is a game developed by Playdead, but also because everyone’s reviews are great as well.

Possibly the most honest (for lack of a better word) reason I've seen for a GOTY list entry (and reminds me of his thoughts on Tiny Metal). :p

I also appreciate the bluntness of "since NieR is a game that I made by taking from many other games, I don’t really care".

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Herk • 

This guy came out of nowhere for me but I'm already a huge fan lol

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Undeadpool • 

@elite49 said:
@undeadpool said:

One of the ONLY artists/auteurs I feel like can pull off the whole "so eccentric I wear a mask" thing.

I can think of few people I wouldn't just roll my eyes at and assume they were just doing it for attention other than Yoko Taro.

His reasoning for wearing the mask is pretty funny and I feel he also just doesn't like all the attention (even though wearing the mask must give him more but doesn't want his face in the spotlight) and he's just the opposite of Kojima.

WOW! You are 100% correct about that last part: in that same interview, when asked about the fact that 2B wears impractical high heels, instead of coming up with a weak narrative justification and passive-aggressively implying that the question is stupid, he flat-out says he likes how they look.

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TheWildCard • 

Of course Taro is a danganronpa fan. Nice to see Horizon up there too.

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NickFoley • 

#2. What a guy!!!

Love this dude, man.

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Edited By Ravelle • 

Pocket Camp on number one, the absolute madman!

Great list and amazing to see Yoko Taro on here!

Next year Kojima!

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Mystyr_E • 

I haven’t been able to play it even once. Regardless, I am sure that it is a masterpiece. Not only because it is a game developed by Playdead, but also because everyone’s reviews are great as well.


replace "Playdead" with big devs like Rockstar, Kojima, Naughty Dog etc and it perfectly encapsulates the fanboy nature of gamers.

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elite49

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elite49 • 

@elite49 said:
@undeadpool said:

One of the ONLY artists/auteurs I feel like can pull off the whole "so eccentric I wear a mask" thing.

I can think of few people I wouldn't just roll my eyes at and assume they were just doing it for attention other than Yoko Taro.

His reasoning for wearing the mask is pretty funny and I feel he also just doesn't like all the attention (even though wearing the mask must give him more but doesn't want his face in the spotlight) and he's just the opposite of Kojima.

WOW! You are 100% correct about that last part: in that same interview, when asked about the fact that 2B wears impractical high heels, instead of coming up with a weak narrative justification and passive-aggressively implying that the question is stupid, he flat-out says he likes how they look.

Not sure if you're being sarcastic but I ment opposite of Kojima in terms of not wanting to be a front and center 24/7 rockstar developer. I love Kojima (hence my avatar) but I respect Taro more in that sense.

Did Kojima or another developer do this?

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bybeach • 

Not sure if I am on the same page as Yoko taro in some respects, but that pic at the top just rocks. I would say definitely play Inside. Alex in another top 10 list has finally forced me over the top to Play NieR: Automata.

Done deal and my props to this guy.

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TheChris • 

Guess I shouldn't be surprised that Gravity Rush 2 is on the list when he drinks with the director of the game but still!

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Edited By Dunchad • 

@staplegun said:

Not satisfied with his game taking GOTY 2017, Yoko Taro posts a list to also claim top 10 games of 2017 list of the year.

...did you just spoil the GOTY podcast for me? *sigh*

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Max_Cherry • 

I'm surprised Zelda isn't on the list considering how he's dressed.

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WillyOD • 

Give that Animal Crossing one more week and you're done with it.

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staplegun • 

@dunchad said:
@staplegun said:

...

...did you just spoil the GOTY podcast for me? *sigh*

I actually haven't seen it yet, but I'll edit the post just because it was a poorly timed joke.

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Dunchad

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Dunchad • 

@staplegun: Phew. I was hoping it was a joke, but it sounded convincing enough I wasn't sure.

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Quicklyer

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Quicklyer • 

I am in awe of this list and this man. <3

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HisHeroIsGone • 

Great list, nice to see Gravity Rush on there. And fuck yeah CAVE shooters! and the 2013 Xbox port/CAVE's final game he mentions was DoDonPachi Saidaioujou not Resurrection.

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Mushida • 

Yoko Taro wins best scarf.

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Jibanyan • 

Great list.

I hope at least one duder ends up checking out Danganronpa V3 at some point next year.

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kerse • 

I'm glad to see Danganronpa V3 on at least one other person's list this year.

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