Secret Church of Near Automata ain’t no secret anymore, and the mysterious Reddit account sadfutago has been exposed. The last few days of frantic theory crafting, fact-checking, and data mining were all started by just three inventive modders. This small team quietly redefined what Nier Automata mods could be and, less quietly, teased their work with secret breadcrumbs the internet couldn’t resist.
At the end of it all, Sadfutago and the people behind these revolutionary modern devices say they are feeling Touch Overwhelmed.
This memorable performance was presented by Woeful_Wolf, DevolasRevenge, and RaiderB Near modding disorder (opens in new tab), (Yes, Downhearted comes from Hi!And the futago, or twins in Japanese, come from Neroso’s Devola. twins Sisters.) I first spoke to Woeful_Wolf a few hours before a Twitch stream on July 28, which revealed the truth of the secret church. At the time, the mod team was still hiding its involvement, but actively participating in Discord, with Woeful_Wolf going so far To help other Nier modders try to rebuild the secret church while keeping secret. The weight behind that conversation still threatens to crush me in the dust, so I had to track down the team for the full story.
Edited responses for clarity and length.
Sadfutago. the glow of
“I wanted Sadfutago to appear flawless so that people wouldn’t assume he was capable of drawing a map,” Devolas told me on Discord. He also had to appear ignorant “so that he could avoid doubt.” Devolas was responsible for posting, but Wolf and Raider also occasionally helped with the material checks and workshop. For example, Wolf, who describes Devolus as “the mastermind behind the character,” once caught a misplaced mouse cursor in a video, which would have ruined Sadfutago’s claim of playing on the PS4.
The account’s charm and personality was also aided by its audience. Nearby fans love a good rabbit hole, and SadFutago took over their minds as people turned to traces of the person imaginable behind the post. The prevailing theory was that Sadfutago is a French Canadian minor with imperfect English language skills and limited technical understanding – a reasonable profile offered clues, but one that surprised even Devolas.
“I had a Canadian version of the game, I’m not sure why they thought it was French,” he jokes. “I’m glad it was reassuring.”
Sadfutago was also helped by the creators of Near Automata. Creative director and famous prankster Yoko Taros reacted (opens in new tab) With his usual detachment when asked if Sadfutago discovered some cut material. Producer Yosuke Saito Even jokingly said (opens in new tab) It seemed that such a thing would be done by Tarot himself. And when I reached out to Square Enix, a rep said: “Unfortunately we won’t be able to comment.” Because they didn’t shut down the wild theories floating around, such reactions hastened the rise of Sadfutago, not to mention the hopes that it might all lead to an official announcement.
“That changed the sentiment in our favor,” Rader says. “The first question was: real or modern? Then there was the new question: Is this a PR stunt?”
oh wow it’s flying
“The teasing was conceived as one to two days, maybe a week, until one of the data miners or someone knowledgeable in general shot us saying it didn’t exist,” Devolas says. Is.”
Instead, someone knowledgeable enthusiastically share (opens in new tab) Sadfutago’s opening post and countless eyes on him: iconic modder Lance McDonald. McDonald’s rightly criticized the tone and content of the post as more evidence emerged, but his initial tweets poured kerosene on the fire.
“It exploded soon after,” Raider says of Lance’s tweet. “At first the modding server was a cold place with some occasional conversation back in the day. Then suddenly every minute many people were connecting to the server and the chat was going faster than I could read.”
“I never expected things to be so big,” Wolf explains. “Our first target audience was just modding servers and maybe a hundred people from reddit. But it literally went viral overnight. I also thought it was crazy that we got any feedback from Saito, Tarot, and other Drakengard and nerd icons.”
“The servers would be so full that people would create additional voice channels,” Devolas says. “And I’ll listen to the voice channel as soon as I post as sadfutago. They knew right away that he posted.”
As the enthusiasm of the Near community peaked, Devolas began to worry that some would be disappointed with the truth. The response was “definitely a little more than what we were aiming for” and “kind of scary,” he says. “It makes me want to take a break and calm things down. The reaction is a little overwhelming.”
“Some people actually thought it was a Drakengard teaser,” Devolas continues. “A bit unfortunate, so there are some crazy people out there. The controversy about it is pretty positive, and Twitter too, but some people on Twitter aren’t so happy.”
If he can do it all over again, Devolas says he’d already made it clear it was about a mod. There were some clues in Sadfutago’s final posts – the Japanese text insists it’s not an ARG or even official – but just as there are some not-so-happy people for Twitter, people on the Internet seem to have missed some important details. obliged to. But overall, the ending was as good as it could have been.
“I love all the positive feedback from most people,” Wolf says. “I love covert hunts and I hope our show was great and enjoyable enough for you all!”
it can’t continue
Often, the revised content posted by Devolus was literally just finished. The team was flying from the seat of their pants to the climactic reveal stream. Like game developers preparing a trailer for a trade show, the mod team crafted the best looking things while scrambling in their shadows.
“I used it as an excuse to buy myself more time,” Devolas says of Sadfutago, referring to the contrast between the account’s June post and the July video, which actually showed Fuse. Used to burn “The church was not presentable – when I sent the first pictures, we didn’t even have the coveted first door.”
“That’s mostly what we had at the time we posted,” agrees Raider. “So things in the first screenshot looked different from the last video.”
“In that quiet month, we were rushing to develop scripting tools and figure out all the game logic and how we could build our own,” Wolf says. “We were literally making everything up as we were going along!”
Wolf is a veteran of mod tool design and Devolas worked more on the art and modeling, while acting as a de facto creative director and managing SadFootago. They were already collaborating on the mod as early as 2022, but in terms of assets, the secret church was only a few walls and walls as of early March. Wolf delayed the public release of some of the updated mod tools specifically to follow Devolus’s idea of creating Easter eggs for the Nearby community – something he still feels with “honestly a bit of guilt”. . Similarly, Raider says he would usually share updates immediately but “this was the exception.”
Raider didn’t join the team as a lead programmer, bringing up “major discoveries,” Wolf says. The mod never went beyond these three, although Wolf says that some people at Discord quickly solved the mystery and were told not to do so. Let’s spoil it, and Rader notes that “one group of people has contributed many other important things to the community.”
Preparing the manifest stream was particularly difficult. devolus intentionally broken character (opens in new tab) After more people worked out that it was meant to be a mod, and the rush was on for a fitting ending.
“I didn’t want it to end abruptly, so I quickly created the final scene with the 9S in that huge dark room by hand,” Devolas says. “I made the final live stream as well as the video. It was too late because [Woeful_Wolf] Wanted to see but he had to sleep. So I told him that I will stream it as soon as he wakes up. There were 13,000 people in it and I’m surprised it went smoothly because I did it without any tests.”
“The whole finale was done in a hurry,” admits Raider. “I worked late into the night to get some things working. Then in the morning I was quite surprised by what Devolas did – not in a bad way. I didn’t actually watch the final video until it was streamed It’s great to hear the voice chat responses.”
The members of Near Modding were among the most shocked spectators. Meowsandstuff and Grojdg, who had started working with Wolf to reconstruct the secret church using the usual modern equipment, were utterly astonished.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen anything so big,” Mevsandstuff says. “I never did a mod tug on either side thinking it was real then fake and back… it was very well done yet sometimes awkward. A lot of it probably just the master way was that the Sadfutago character was played.”
“I got juice unevenly, of course,” Grojdg tells me. “The embarrassment of having my name come out as a thank you at the end is something I’ve never experienced. I’m breaking down with envy that I wasn’t one of the people behind it. His talent is giving me so much drive NearModding To jump right back in and show them.”
be a mod
With the dust settled, we may finally see this mod for what it is: an unforgettable story, and a huge leap forward for fan-made Nier Automata content. As McDonald’s pointed out in its viral tweet, a key reason this trick worked is that such a mod was considered impossible. But Wolf and Raider – DeVolus clarified that they didn’t create any tools or scripts themselves – have opened up a sea of possibilities. Custom battlefields and boss fights, fast-paced gauntlets, original quests with cutscenes. Raider himself is already working out a mod that is “very massive” and separate from Secret Church, and should be out soon.
Woeful_Wolf, DevolasRevenge, and RaiderB will all be releasing these mod tools via GitHub and Nier Modding servers in the coming days. Everything will be open source, so anyone interested will be able to use and modify the tool. Wolf says that existing Nier Automata mods should work fine with the new tools, once they’re reimported, and that they’ve done “a few small backwards compatibility things for any edge cases.”
“Well, the initial goal was to troll the internet,” Raider jokes. “I would say we’ve achieved a lot more than that. I’m interested to see what all the new guys bring to the table. It’s a nice side effect of this whole thing. I’m not very good with words like that, I just Excited to see where things go from here.”
“We got the whole community excited and together, if only for a few days, and we got some new people interested in modifying in general, even if only temporarily,” Wolf says. “I would definitely call it a win for myself. I’ve been doing this for so long, with so little attention being paid to the modding community. In fact, it completely blew all sense of scale into the water !”
To end this awkward chapter, I asked Devolas if he had any final messages to share as Sadfutago.
“We love the Nier series, and it’s because we love the Nier and Drakengard series that we went out of our way to make this mod.”