In 2017, we saw the release of blockbuster titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizon Zero Dawn. Because of this, Nier: Automata flew under my radar. Nevertheless, last spring (2020) was the perfect time for me to finally traverse Automata’s desolate and beautiful open world. If someone had told me four years ago that Platinum Games’ thought-provoking action/RPG would play a large role in influencing my decision to pursue a master’s degree in game design, I wouldn't have believed them. And yet, here I am – back in school, and discovering all the ways Automata continues to influence my creative process.