The PlatinumGames masterpiece Nier: Automata is only the most recent in a long line of video games that have been turned into anime, and it won't be the last. Unfortunately, anime, like movies, frequently fails to give these games their proper respect when adapting them into episodes. In actuality, the medium has a generally poor batting average.
Video game-based anime are typically far less enjoyable than the genuine thing, whether it's because they don't closely enough mimic the games or because they just mix its elements with other rubbish. However, given that many of the people working on Nier: Automata Ver1.1a were also engaged in the game, it may change the tide and deliver a show that successfully adapts the qualities of the source material into a fresh interpretation of the plot. Here are several ways that the Nier: Automata anime may alter the rules of the game.
When it comes to translating video games, anime fails just as badly as movies do.
As much criticism as Hollywood gets for often butchering video game movie adaptations, anime as a whole hasn't done much better. There are very few great or even good anime adaptations of video games, with most of them being in the "mediocre to poor" category instead. For instance, there's never really been a great Final Fantasy anime, despite most of the games having stories perfect for being retold in a more traditional medium. Likewise, even the anime adaptation of Persona 5 was criticized by fans, with many seeing it as far inferior to the modern classic Atlus RPG.
Video games with little story or with less "traditional" narratives leave a lot of room to succeed or fail, and ironically, it's fighting games that have the best track record. The Street Fighter II V anime is considered by many fans to be the best adaptation of the franchise, with the Street Fighter II anime movie as a close second. Though it isn't great, the '90s Virtua Fighter anime was arguably much better than it should have been, especially given the lack of any real plot or character in that franchise, even for a fighting game. With these titles getting decent adaptations, it's time for JRPGs and video games as a whole to have anime that are looked forward to instead of dreaded. A successful Nier show may be able to do that, namely by not repeating the mistakes of Persona.
JRPG and adventure game adaptations will be saved by a good Nier: Automata anime.
Nier: Automata doesn't just have a fairly firm storyline: it has several endings to said story that need to be unlocked in order to understand the entirety of the narrative and its themes. This material will obviously have to be made into a more straightforward method for the show, but this will still be a benefit, as the material is already there. By taking such a complex narrative and turning it into a hit show that gamers and non-fans alike can enjoy, Nier: Automata Ver1.1a will prove that video games can be turned into great anime.
Another recent example of such a feat is the popular Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, which essentially revived interest in the Cyberpunk 2077 video game. In doing so, it brought many new eyes to the franchise, turning the anime into a sort of gateway title. Nier: Automata Ver1.1a could function in much the same way, especially given that the game has been ported to most modern consoles by this point. It'd also be the second such adventure story to be made into a linear narrative.
Given how popular 2B and 9S have become, the onus is on the anime to do right by them and deliver something worthy of the game's legacy. This means giving the story the necessary time to be told, all while adding to the material in accurate ways when necessary. Simply abandoning the narrative of the games will only anger fans, but supplementing the story with elements that actually work is a way to appeal to everyone. If that happens, it could see fidelity to video games given the same treatment as respect for manga and other forms of source material.