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Nier Automata Secret Church was a 2022 hoax that targeted the community of the 2017 video game Nier: Automata. The hoax started with Redditor sadfutago discovering what appeared to be a secret, previously never accessed, church area in the location Copied City, with sadfutago proceeding to provide increasingly more footage of the area in the following days. The alleged discovery became a subject of viral discussions and memes within the game's community as players theorized about its true nature and ways the area could be accessed. On July 29th, 2022, three modders admitted to their own hoax during a live stream.
On June 15th, 2022, Redditor sadfutago posted two screen photographs of what appeared to be a never discovered secret area, a church, found in the location Copied City in the 2017 video game NieR: Automata. In the post, sadfutago wrote that he can open doors leading to the area but his friend cannot, and asked how to open them. The post gained over 400 upvotes in the /r/nier subreddit in one month (shown below),
On June 18th, 2022, sadfutago uploaded footage of opening the door leading to the location in a post that gained over 660 upvotes on /r/nier in one month.
On July 25th, 2022, sadfutago posted a screen recording of the route to the secret area, with the post gaining over 4,900 upvotes on the subreddit in two days. Later that day, sadfutago uploaded a longer three-minute video exploring the area (shown below). The post gained over 11,900 upvotes in the /r/nier subreddit.
On July 26th, members of the NieR modding Discord compiled a ,multi-page document that pointed out inconsistences in sadfutago's story.
On Reddit, user sadfutago continued to post more footage of the supposed discovery. On July 27th, sadfutago posted a clip in which he reached the church area and engaged in a fight against a boss NPC (shown below).
On July 28th, sadfutago reported beating the boss. Later that day, sadfutago wrote that he thought his game had a glitch since after beating the boss and interacting with another NPC the game was sending him to the start of the level.
Later on July 28th, sadfutago made a series of posts with screenshots from another area, with the post titles, when combined, revealing the name of a Twitch channel (shown below, left). On the Twitch channel, modders Woeful_Wolf, DevolasRevenge and RaiderB, revealed that the entire thing was a hoax. The hoax was born of DevolasRevenge and Woeful_Wolf's idea to troll the NieR modding server before unveiling collision modding and new Blender Addons and scripting tools that allowed to create the custom area.
The discovery became a subject of viral discussions in the /r/nier subreddit and NieR and Drakengard Discord servers in mid-2022. In many posts and comments, users assumed that the discovery may be an elaborate hoax by sadfutago, or an alternate reality game viral marketing campaign.
On July 25th, 2022, Twitter user @manfightdragon made a thread about the discovery, reposting the video. The post gained over 3.1 million views, 25,000 retweets and 130,900 likes in two days (shown below).
Someone randomly posted a video on the Nier Automata subreddit showing they found a secret room in the Copied City. So far no one else has worked out how they managed to make this secret door appear. Literally 1 person on earth has accessed this room and we are uttered mind blown pic.twitter.com/g7W4JxiNDg
— Lance McDonald (@manfightdragon) July 25, 2022
Later that day on July 25th, Twitter user @DrakeNierTweets made an Out of the Loop thread about the discovery, with the first tweet gaining over 4,000 retweets and 20,400 likes in two days.
The discovery became the subject of memes within the NieR fandom, with multiple memes referencing it going viral in the subreddit and on Twitter. For example, on July 25th, 2022, Redditor UnknownChaser posted a Pepe Silvia meme that gained over 2,300 upvotes in two days (shown below, left). On July 26th, 2022, Twitter user @DrakeNierTweets posted a Today's Teens meme that received over 5,200 retweets and 30,000 likes in one day (shown below, right).
 Reddit – I played as 9s after doing missions to come back open the chest but the black blocky guy is strong I didn''t know he was gonna kill me but I can beat him this time I think you have to fight him far because of the squares. .
 Reddit – I think my game has a glitch since I keep going back the beginning I don't know how to fix it and the cup has random letters or korean. Maybe I need to restart ' the game or retry the boss again or maybe I took too long to beat him.