NieR: Automata’s “final secret” allows players to skip the entire game

Beat the game just after the first boss.

Image via Square Enix

Over three years since NieR: Automata’s release, players have finally discovered all of the game’s hidden secrets. NieR: Automata has several of these “cheat codes” spread throughout, such as joke endings and tons of other surprising content. This time, NieR: Automata’s director, Yoko Taro, shares news of the final secret’s discovery at long last.

Spoilers for NieR: Automata’s final ending sequence below.

As part of NieR: Automata’s multiple ending format, Ending E’s story sends players on an emotional roller coaster and then gives them the ultimate test. Progressing past the bullet hell mini-game during the credits is the only way to actually “beat” the game. But this mini-game becomes progressively more difficult the farther you get. After a while, things can truly seem impossible. After all your struggling, you’re eventually presented with a choice. You may accept help from other players’ memories left behind to aid you, or you can continue fighting on alone.

After clearing the mini-game, you’re then faced with another choice. You may choose not to help other players, therefore keeping your save data and progressing with the usual New Game Plus paths. Or you may sacrifice your save data and give your aid to other, unknown players struggling with the bullet hell mini-game, leaving behind your own memories in a way. The choice to keep your data or sacrifice your save progress for someone you’ve never met is unique to the game’s Ending E. But there’s, of course, the expectation that you’ve played the entire game up to this point.

The final secret in NieR: Automata lets players skip the whole experience, sending them directly to the final ending sequence. A quick series of jumps, kicks, and sword slashes suddenly takes players to a mysterious yet familiar black screen.

After killing the first boss, performing this cheat code automatically sends players to Ending E, skipping the entire 30+ hours of NieR: Automata’s story. Expert game hacker Lance McDonald discovered this secret, retweeted by Director Yoko Taro himself. The 3 years and 10 months marks the total time taken for NieR: Automata players to discover every single secret in the game.

This arrives as NieR: Replicant, a remake of the first NieR game, is slated for release on April 23 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.