Music that Moves: NieR Automata “Weight of the World”
If ignorance is bliss, then its antithesis is misery. While the former unknowingly relishes in the idealistic, the latter forms a cold and callused demeanor. But what happens when a perceived lack of individual control is added to the equation? For those vexed with understanding, what starts as a small annoyance gradually crescendos into anger, resentment, and dread. Such is the case with the character 2B in NieR Automata’s ending theme “Weight of the World.”
Music that Moves is a series that examines the significance of melody and harmony in many of our favorite video games. We explore how themes and lyrics accentuate a game’s story arcs and add emotional depth to narratives.
The story of NieR Automata’s main protagonist, 2B, is one of hopeless discovery. As the game reveals its opening scene, we get a strong sense of 2B’s worldview:
Everything that lives is designed to end. We are perpetually trapped in a never ending spiral of life and death. Is this a curse? Or some kind of punishment? I often think about the god who blessed us with this cryptic puzzle… and wonder if we’ll ever get the chance to kill him.2B
She has been here before. Battered. Bruised. Watching her friends suffer and die multiple times. But what is the purpose behind this cruel and never ending spiral? And why would anyone create such a callused and cryptic riddle?
Throughout the game, 2B encounters multiple societies who try to answer these very same questions. While some flock to religion, others adhere to the autocratic and temporary. Defeated for what appears to be the last time, 2B embraces the ending theme: “Weight of the World.”
As 2B takes her last breath, she lets out one last helpless cry for understanding. While this plee seemingly falls unheard into the abyss, something special happens. The main protagonist is not alone. Others are just like her. Scared. Feeling helpless like no one cares. But all are separated by time, space, borders, and ideals.
As 2B struggles to defeat the game’s ending sequence, NieR Automata asks the players a simple question: Will you accept help from others? The answer to this simple question is the meaning behind the game’s opening sequence. The walls that divide us are never as strong as the bonds that unite. For at our core, we are one and the same: humans fighting to protect those we love the most.
Accepting help from other players results in not only additional combat resources but also a full orchestrated version of “Weight of the World.” But instead of additional instruments, NieR chooses to blend the voices of those singing in different languages. This adaptation symbolizes a destruction of political, social, economic, and cultural barriers. No longer is the protagonist left to fight alone. Reinforcements from the most unsuspected places have arrived.
As 2B conquers the final sequence, we are returned to the game’s beginning statement. But instead of anger and resentment, we find hope in embracing the help of others.
Everything that lives is designed to end. They are perpetually trapped in a never-ending spiral of life and death. However, life is all about the struggle within this cycle. The possibility of a different future exists. For a future is not given to you. It is something you must take for yourself.Pod 042
Although the moments leading up to NieR Automata’s ending are depressing, the conclusion is hopeful. None of us can solve the world’s greatest problems on our own because we need each other. While we may be separated by borders and ideals, we are fundamentally the same: individuals humans fighting for survival. But as a united front, we can conquer the challenges of uncertainty and dawn a new era of united response. Only then can we discover the answer to this cryptic puzzle, which is simply to love.
So what do you think? Did you enjoy NieR Automata’s ending theme “Weight of the World.” Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or the social media links on the right. Also, be sure to check out our other news items on Pokemon, Modern Warfare, Capcom, Blizzard and more.
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