In a recent interview with director Yoko Taro, he revealed that while the setting of NieR New Project is connected to that of its predecessor, NieR, it does not necessarily mean the storylines are connected. He also said that some of the characters from the previous game would make a reappearance in the new game, but not as core characters.
“The setting is connected, but that doesn’t mean the story is connected. This game is set in the future, so it’s okay if you start with this game. Rather, people who played the previous game and come into this thinking it’s a sequel might be confused.” — Yoko Taro
Taro said that the original game was made with the intention of receiving a B or C CERO rating (CERO stands for Computer Entertainment Rating Organization, the Japanese equivalent of PEGI or ESRB), but received a D rating. They are hoping to get an A rating for NieR New Project.
Some notes from Famitsu have also revealed that weapons-based action is at the game's core, along with some familiar shooting. The game has a rotational element (suggesting 360° camera view), but it is apparently different from the previous game's. Drakengard's Weapon Story system will make a return. The game is roughly 10% completed thus far.