Developer miHoYo is preparing to launch Genshin Impact, a free-to-play action-RPG with lovely anime-style visuals.
It also comes with the interesting proposition of being on consoles, PC, and mobile, which is quite rare for a game of this genre.
In order to know more about the project, we talked with a group of developers at miHoYo, who offered more insight on a wide variety of topics.
Giuseppe: More often than not, developers create a game either for consoles or for mobile. A game for both is pretty rare. Why did you decide to tackle such different platforms at the same time?
miHoYo: The concept behind Genshin Impact has always been to create a cross-platform, open-world gaming experience. One of miHoYo’s main goals is to create games that are “out of imagination,” and Genshin Impact was conceived from the start as a cross-platform title.
Freedom is a hallmark of open-world games, and for us this means more than just having a wide-open world to explore in the game, but also to minimize restrictions that players may face in terms of the device that they play on, allowing players using different devices to explore the land of Teyvat, whether by themselves or with players on different platforms.
This is why we decided to develop for PC, mobile, and console at the same time, and to make cross-platform co-op a key part of development. We are working hard to ensure that the game runs smoothly on all these platforms, and to optimize for each one, treating all of them and their players with equal importance.
Giuseppe: As a free-to-play game, could you explain more in detail how the business model behind Genshin Impact will work?
miHoYo: We have strived to make Genshin Impact a friendly and accessible F2P experience. Players will be able to choose whether and how they want to spend money.
Players will be able to unlock four main characters to use for exploring the world by simply progressing through the storyline. Players may also obtain materials, equipment, weapons, and other characters by completing challenges and quests.
Of course, the Wish system is also available for players who want to have access to more characters and equipment. The in-game shop allows players to buy Genesis Crystals, supply packs, as well as Primogems.
Primogems are used to purchase Wish items, such as Intertwined Fate and Acquaint Fate, which in turn can be used to obtain rare weapons and characters. Other items like Gnostic Hymn and Gnostic Chorus are used to upgrade the Sojourner’s Battle Pass and obtain in-game items.
Giuseppe: Genshin Impact is an ongoing experience that will receive new content over time. What are your plans in terms of the pace and scope of such updates?
miHoYo: Genshin Impact has been conceived as a live service game, with continuous updates and new content that will improve the player experience.
We will be making continuous improvements based on player feedback and suggestions. More characters and stories are in the pipeline, as well as richer social interactions, more variety in the gameplay experience, and more optimized domain farming.
As new features are implemented, any materials required will be added to the game world, with the goal of having the open-world experience permeate every part of the game.
Domains will become increasingly dynamic, increasing player engagement and the importance of team planning. Ways to customize your appearance are also being discussed. Genshin Impact will launch with two of the seven major cities of Teyvat — Mondstadt and Liyue.
The third city is currently under development. As this game is a long-term operation, more content and other main cities will be released after the game is officially launched. Stay tuned!
Giuseppe: What do you think are the most attractive aspects of Genshin Impact for the western audience?
miHoYo: We hope that the inclusion of varying regional cultures may be interesting to players in the West, particularly in the case of Liyue Harbor, which draws on aspects of East Asian culture.
We drew inspiration from various sources — the pine and bamboo gardens of Suzhou, the ancient canal towns of Huizhou, the otherworldly natural beauty of Huanglong, and the symbolism of reeds, which often appear in period films — hoping to inject a dramatic feel as well as natural beauty, and convey the charm of an Eastern fantasy to the player.
We will be continually releasing new content, including the remaining cities, amongst other things, after Genshin Impact officially launches. Each major city will have a unique culture and history, conveyed through the sights and sounds in the game to bring players rich and diverse experiences.
Giuseppe: Back in January you announced a Switch version but we haven’t heard about it since. How is that coming along? Will Switch players have to wait long after the release on other platforms?
miHoYo: The Switch version of Genshin Impact is currently under development. More information regarding Switch beta testing and launch dates will be announced at a later time.
Giuseppe: Anime-style visuals are pretty much part of MiHoYo’s DNA. Is there a reason for that?
miHoYo: Our team loves ACG culture and the whole style of anime, so it is a joy for us to develop works in this genre.
Giuseppe: What are your main sources of inspiration for the setting of Genshin Impact?
miHoYo: “Something new, something exciting, something out of imagination” has been miHoYo’s motto since day 1. Open-world is something that we have always wanted to do. In 2017, we began to feel that a game that allowed players on different devices and platforms to play together was something that had the potential to exceed players’ expectations, and thus we embarked on the Genshin Impact project.
Giuseppe: You’re launching the game at the very end of a generation, but Genshin Impact is an ongoing experience. Have you already formulated any plans for the next generation of consoles like PS5 or Xbox Series X & S?
miHoYo: We have plans regarding next-gen consoles, and we will be announcing them as these plans take shape.
Giuseppe: Is there anything else you’d like to tell to Genshin Impact’s fans in the west?
miHoYo: Thank you for your support of Genshin Impact! We are scheduled for an official launch on Sept 28, with the European-style region of Mondstadt and the Eastern-influenced Liyue available for exploration from that date.
We look forward to players in the West being able to embark on adventures in these two regions and hope that they will have some unique experiences in Genshin Impact.
Genshin Impact currently supports 13 languages, and our dedicated community team will be interacting with local players actively. We hope that players will work with us as we continue to refine the game and improve the experience for players.