History of the World - Project Gestalt
Project Gestalt begins
Three years later, in March 2014, the Gestalt Project is announced.
The Gestalt Project is a process by which the human soul is removed from its body. Research proves that a person can be transformed into a Gestalt semi-body and then returned back to their original body. This is seen as a potential way of stopping the spread of WCS.
The reason that this works is because of the nature of pact magic. The pacts must be formed through physical contact — thus requiring a body as a conduit — but are actually made with the individual souls. An errant soul lacking a body cannot be forced to undergo a pact; similarly, a body cannot undergo the pact if it lacks a soul to pact with.
- If I may briefly interject with some conjecture; the fate of Angelus’ body is never expounded upon. The Grimoire suggests that there were theories that an ‘American religious movement’ was responsible for the loss of her body; whatever the case, the implication to me seems to be that she fell to the Gestalt project supervisors. They then used her innate
- to introduce a different kind of pact to subjects, allowing them to undergo the Gestalt process. Just a theory, but given the nature of magic from Drakenard it seems possible.
During this time, humans learn how to gather maso from other worlds, allowing them to manipulate it in a more controllable form and create something out of nothing. This eventually becomes known colloquially as ‘magic’.
Unsurprisingly, when unveiled to the world, people are horrified at the prospect, and Gestalt research goes underground, quietly funded in case the procedure should be necessary. As part of the ongoing research, methods are considered in the case of a Gestalt soul somehow losing its body.
While that continues, Luciferase is produced, a chemical that slows the progress of WCS. The chemical is applied to a select group of people — specifically, soldiers — and they are sent into battle against Legion, as they are much less likely to be afflicted by WCS or turned into Legion soldiers.
The squad is killed in battle.
In December 2015, the Hamelin Organization is formed.
Hamlin finds that the application of Luciferase is more effective when used on younger individuals. They ‘obtain’ children with high physical potential and turn them into squadrons of child soldiers, bathed in Luciferase and sent out to fight Legion.
- If that name sounds familiar, it should; it’s a reference to the Pied Piper of Hamelin. If you forgot the story, the Pied Piper is hired by the town of Hamelin to rid them of their rodent infestation. He did so, but the town refused to pay him. As penance, the Piper returned the next night, using his melodies to spirit the children of the town away, never to be seen again.
- There may be a mild correlation.
While the Hamelin Organization works on raising and training its child soldiers, in Japan, sometime in 2018, the National Weapons Research Laboratory begins its own work into ways to stop Legion.
They take a slightly different tack; whereas Hamelin is training children to become supersoldiers, the Research Lab conducts experiments in ways to use maso as the foundation for weapons. More precisely, they begin research into the use of maso to augment human ability, and their experiments are conducted on human subjects.
Eventually, seven children.
Eventually, just two.
Given the nature of the laboratory’s work being decidedly unethical practices, they are codenamed Murasaki, as ‘National Weapons Institute’ would probably be a bit obvious to anybody looking through the finance books.
- Murasaki is Japanese for ‘purple’. In this context, I believe it’s a bit of a roundabout reference to the writer and heroine of
The Tale of Genji
- , who is nicknamed Murasaki by Genji when he uses the word in reference to the
- . Or rather, I should say it’s a roundabout reference to the purple gromwell; flowers are a bit of a motif in NIER (see: moonflowers, particularly Lunar Tears), and Halua is referred to by title of her short story as The Stone Flower.
In 2019, the Hamelin Organization released its child soldiers to combat Legion. Surprisingly, they hold strong against them; they are not able to push them back, but Legion is incapable of gaining the upper hand as well. The two armies are evenly matched, and a stalemate occurs.
Gestalt research continues until 2025, when a breakthrough is made in the creation of ‘Replicant’ vessels. Functionally identical to human bodies, Replicants are bio-magical clones that a Gestalt soul can be placed back into in the case of the loss or destruction of their original body. Replicants can be indefinitely re-created from stored data on the original human body, as long as that data exists. Work begins on making Replicants and Gestalts a fully viable possibility.
Meanwhile, the National Weapons Research Lab is doing… bad things to children. December 2025 (Christmas day, just a reminder) is the time they decide to increase their output and dedicate full experimentation to one of the seven children selected for Project Snow White. Documents in-game specifically mention that they thought this project would ultimately be able to help expand the field of Gestalt research.
It is unclear at this time what turning a twelve-year-old girl into a giant skeleton monster had to do with Gestalt research.
It is clear that in June 2026, Experimental Weapon Number 6 was unhappy with the results and rampaged through the laboratory, thus forcing the researchers to use a slightly different approach in the creation and deployment of Experimental Weapon Number 7 to seal her.
Direct experimentation on humans was found to be too dangerous to pursue, and the National Weapons Laboratory had the majority of its funding cut, reducing it to little more than a holding cell for the experiments they had output.
In 2030, the Hamelin’s Crusaders finally manage to corner Red Eye in Jerusalem. The leader of the 13th Crusaders is the one to at last kill the monster. The death of Red Eyes immediately destroys Legion’s unification, causing the army to dissolve into chaos.
The Crusader that delivered the killing blow dies of his injuries during battle. His second in command, a woman named Kali, is given the commendations for the victory.
Despite Red Eye — and, by extension, Legion — being defeated, WCS continues to spread.
Finding no other recourse, Project Gestalt is unveiled to the world again, this time alongside the process of Replicant creation. Realizing the desperation of the hour, public opinion slowly accepts the prospect of the Gestalt process, and plans are put into motion.
Project Gestalt’s fundamental basis is that human souls are separated from their bodies. The original bodies are then effectively destroyed, and in their place Replicants begin production.
Because of the potential lifetime of the WCS particles, it was anticipated that it would take centuries before it would fully clear the atmosphere. As a result, the Replicant bodies were set to be given basic programming; though they would be soulless, they would be capable of performing basic biological necessities in order to survive. They would be allowed to ‘live’ through generation after generation until WCS was cleared and the Gestalts could take the bodies themselves.
Androids were produced in order to watch over the Replicants and keep them in isolated, civilization-limited areas. These andoirds, referred to as Overseers, were distributed across the world to shepherd the Replicants that would eventually be born, and to watch over the Replicant system that governed their rebirth.
- On this note, Replicants — presumably up until the Gestalt re-assumes the body — are sterile. Though they still have a sex drive, the only way to produce more Replicants is for the overseers to craft and effectively decant new bodies.
Replicants could also be used as constantly re-created soldiers. While Gestalts were segregated and kept in safe areas, Replicants were produced and constantly cycled in order to combat the remnants of Legion with no loss to human life. When a Replicant was killed, it was simply re-made and sent out into the field.
Devola and Popola are commissioned at this point, to be put in charge as the overseers of the Kanto Region.
Despite the process being publicly unveiled, only certain members of high society can undergo the process due to the high costs involved. Slowly, however, the process begins to spread.
In 2033, the Hamelin Organization pits thirteen of its finest Crusaders — all no older than twenty — into combat against one other using a series of magically imbued books. Two of them win.
The eleven losers of the battle are sealed into their respective books and set aside for purposes unknown, considered ‘failures’. The two that won the battle are rewarded by being sealed into their respective books, but allowed to keep their fundamental personalities.
They would promptly lose the memory of their names and simply become known as Weiss and Noir.
Noir is imbued with power over the Gestalts. His first priority is to contain the magic programming that, when activated, will allow him to en mass force Gestalts back into their Replicant bodies (though this can be done on an individual level, the power within Noir allows him to do this on a universal level, re-uniting the proper Gestalts with the proper Replicants regardless of the distance between the two). This is done for simplicity’s sake; when the project comes to completion, he wills imply be able to reunite body and soul without having to try and contact and coordinates all of the Gestalts across the planet.
In order to prevent the program from going off prematurely, Weiss become the ‘lock’ program on Noir. In this way, only when the two Grimoires re-united themselves would the Gestalts return to their bodies. Weiss is given a secondary locking mechanism to prevent premature reunification, requiring fragments of magic known as the Sealed Verses to grant him his full power.
Shortly after the Gestalt process begins in earnest, something is found to go dreadfully wrong.
After a certain amount of time, variable depending on the individual but ultimately inevitable, the Gestalts exhibited a catastrophic loss of sentience. They became feral beasts, attacking unturned humans and Replicants alike. Once relapsed, it was only a matter of time before the Gestalt would die.
The World Purification Organization, in charge of the Gestalt process, found that Gestalts could be stabilized if only they could find one that was immune to the flaw that caused the relapse. They contracted the Hamelin Organization in order to find this one person, and the Hamelin Organization came up with a plan.
Nier ~ Gestalt
In 2049, they set up shelters in the worst-hit areas of Japan, drawing in the destitute and homeless that had suffered from WCS and Legion’s attacks. In these shelters, they distributed specialized copies of Grimoire Noir— copies that, when they came in contact with a human, would prompt a reaction that would convert them immediately into a Gestalt, willfully or not.
In this way, the Hamelin Organization began a mass canvassing attempt to catch as many people as possible, searching for the perfect (or ‘original’) Gestalt that could be used to stabilize the rest.
A man and his daughter (or, perhaps, a boy and his sister) sought refuge in one of these shelters. The man was searching for a cure to his daughter’s illness, but instead found himself tricked into the experiment. As it begins, however, and people are converted into Gestalts (and, in short order, relapses) around him, he takes his daughter and flees, two copies of Grimoire Noir giving chase.
They take shelter in a nearby destroyed convenience store. He warns his daughter not to touch the book, even as the copy following him tries to coerce him into undergoing the Gestalt process.
- Right at the beginning, Noir tells Nier that he’ll give him power, but “All I ask… is your soul”. This is meant to sound ominous (which is does), but it’s actually quite literal. It’s an invitation to become a Gestalt. Why didn’t he just say what would happen? I think the answer is twofold:
- First, they might have had this conversation before we join him and Noir is just saying things to make Nier undergo the process.
- Second, Noir is an asshole. And that might sound kind of like a joke except it’s 100% true and, I think, the motivation behind a lot of what he does.
- Also note, especially interesting, is that the snow in summer is not snow; it’s
- , the remnants of those that died from white chlorination syndrome. So that’s morbid.
The relapsed Gestalts follow them. Nier tries to fight them off but fails, and in his desperation he accepts that he has to become a Gestalt to have the power to fight them.
As fate would have it, Nier is the perfect Gestalt, retaining his human form far longer than any other convert and retaining his self-awareness indefinitely. Noir, programmed to ally itself with the perfect Gestalt (or, in a different light, automatically forming a pact with the perfect Gestalt) fights alongside him to hold the relapsed cases back.
Unfortunately, while Nier is the perfect Gestalt, Yonah’s sickly nature leaves her open to relapse the instant she touches the other copy of Grimoire Noir. Nier seeks assistance from the WPO to cure her condition before she fully relapses and dies, and the WPO strikes him an offer; they will keep Yonah’s Gestalt in suspended animation if Nier will provide them with stable maso. Desperate, Nier agrees to the proposal. They tell him they anticipate it will take a thousand years before the Gestalt Project can be fulfilled and he will be able to save his daughter by granting her a new body, free from the threat of Legion or WCS.
He vows to wait.
At this point, realizing how long the venture will take, the stabilized Gestalts are all set into stasis, to awaken in a thousand years when the WCS contagion is finally cleaned from the earth.
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