Genshin Impact miHoYo Interview – Striving For The Ultimate Anime Open World ARPG
Genshin Impact: DualShockers recently spoke with miHoYo regarding the company's creative process, the game's anime style, future updates, and more.
Genshin Impact by miHoYo is finally available worldwide on PC, PS4, iOS, and Android. A Switch version is also in development. Set in the fantasy world of Teyvat, Genshin Impact mixes an action battle system using elemental affinities, with open world RPG and gacha mechanics. Many eagerly awaited the release date of Genshin, seeing only Closed Beta Tests were held before the official launch on September 28, 2020. With an engaging single player adventure, fun co-op online multiplayer, and charismatic characters, Genshin Impact is a strong contender for being one of the best anime themed, Japanese-stylized open world Action RPG. And yet, Genshin Impact‘s developer miHoYo isn’t primarily based in Japan, but in Shangai, China.
The developers of Genshin Impact, miHoYo, is an independent game company founded in 2012 by three Shanghai Jiao Tong University graduate students. A trio of “Super Otaku”, who shared a passion for technology and ACG (anime, comics, and games) culture. While Genshin Impact was officially announced in June 2019, a Genshin Impact manga is actually ongoing since 2018, proving miHoYo’s wish to excel at all aspects of Otaku culture. Not only developing games such as Honkai Impact 3rd and Tears of Themis, miHoYo is also tech-driven, and is developing its own rendering technology and projects. Such as the VTuber Lumi N0VA, the Number 0 Virtual Actress of miHoYo. Using the fitting slogan “Tech Otakus Save The World”, miHoYo strives to develop new and original anime-stylized IPs.
In order to learn more on Genshin Impact, DualShockers recently had the opportunity to interview the development team at miHoYo. We most notably heard details regarding miHoYo’s creative process for Genshin Impact, and hints for future updates.
You can find our interview with miHoYo after the jump.
Iyane Agossah: The first thing players see when beginning their adventure in Genshin Impact is the amazing opening cutscene. Multiple incredible in-game engine cutscenes are included throughout the storyline of Genshin Impact. Could you tell us more regarding how these are created? Furthermore, do you have plans to add a Theater Mode feature for re-watching cutscenes?
miHoYo: Cutscenes in the game serve to build an original game world and story, helping players better understand both. After setting an overall direction for the story, we looked for places to add cutscenes in order to enhance the player’s understanding of the storyline. After that, we think about how to best present the cutscene. Getting the cutscenes right is the result of close collaboration between different teams working on the project. As for Theater Mode, we are keeping an eye on player feedback in order to determine whether to add such features to the game.
IA: Genshin Impact is an Action RPG. However, the game also includes completely different gameplay sequences. Such as Shoot ’em up sequences or stealth-based sequences. How did you decide to include these sequences? Can we expect even more different gameplay sequences like these in the future?
miHoYo: As an open-world ARPG, it is important that the player continues to experience new elements that draws them to explore the world further. There are many smaller features that are meant to keep the game fresh and deliver new surprises as you progress. The game will continue to receive ongoing updates to enrich its content, and it is up to the player to discover and experience them first-hand.
IA: Genshin Impact also includes an online co-op mode. Up to four players can adventure together in the same open-world. Could you tell us more about it?
miHoYo: Our goal is to deliver an immersive gaming experience, empowering the player to freely explore the vast land of Teyvat. Most of the time, each player has their game world to themselves, but can invite unknown players and friends to join their world as well. Invited players can gather items such as ore and plants on the world map. But more valuable items like chests, and the Oculi collectibles such as Anemoculi and Geoculi can only be gathered in your own game world. Maintaining the integrity of the immersive single-player experience. Of course, in Co-Op Mode, each participating player gets their fair share of rewards from the boss fights and Domain challenges.
IA: Regarding online matchmaking, we can chat with other players once we are in the same world. However, there is no method in-game to contact players before joining their world. Could we get additional communication methods in the future, like a Lobby to meet with other players?
miHoYo: Currently, Co-op mode supports text chat. We are listening to player feedback and looking to add more features to improve communication between players.
IA: In the city of Liyue Harbor, there are multiple NPCs who speak of a country across the ocean called Inazuma. Will we get to see that country at some point?
miHoYo: Perceptive players will have already noticed the hints that we dropped about the new city in development. We are working hard to bring it to players as soon as we can.
IA: Could you tell us more regarding the update schedule for Genshin Impact post release? Could we expect monthly updates?
miHoYo: Genshin Impact has been conceived as a live service game, with continuous updates and new content that will improve the player experience. However, we cannot comment on how frequently updates will be released at the moment.
IA: Genshin Impact is the most “Japanese” game not primarily made by Japanese developers I’ve ever seen. Everyone at miHoYo perfectly understood Otaku Culture and how to recreate it. Could you share some comments regarding that?
miHoYo: Anime, Comic and Games (ACG), has brought together fans from many different regions and cultures, making it a truly global cultural phenomenon. At its heart, miHoYo is a team of people who simply love ACG, and our product development is based on the principle of “Something new, something exciting, something out of imagination”. When developing a core product, our goal is to make a game that not only makes us want to play it, but also exceeds the expectations of our users. Genshin Impact is one such title that we feel has the potential to exceed players’ expectations.
IA: The character design of Genshin Impact is amazing. Each character is unique and charismatic. Could you tell us more regarding your creative process for characters? In particular, I was also interested in how the Japanese cast, full of popular seiyuu, was selected.
miHoYo: This is a very broad topic, but to put it simply, every character is the result of collaboration between numerous departments and staff, and every setting, personality trait, action and dialogue has been carefully thought out and refined. The devil is in the details, so to speak, and we believe that the effort we put in will make a difference when you interact with the characters in various ways in-game. As for the Japanese cast selection, we can’t comment on this subject yet.
IA: Another interesting aspect is how you integrated many fanservice elements in the game for male and female characters. Including sexual fanservice elements like jiggle physics. I personally believe Japanese-stylized IP which weren’t developed by Japanese developers tend to exaggerate these aspects of Otaku culture or miss the point by being too obvious. However, Genshin Impact has the subtlety characteristic of Japan developed IPs.
miHoYo: Every product on the market has its own characteristics and target audience, and we will not comment on the styles of other games. For Genshin Impact, it has been gratifying to see that some of our characters have already developed fan followings, and we continue to develop new characters that we hope players will love just as much.
IA: Recently, there are many anime-stylized IPs originating from China which managed to become even more popular than IPs made by Japanese creators. How do you feel about Genshin Impact entering this highly competitive world?
miHoYo: As an ACG company founded in 2012, we are keenly aware of the importance of building and accumulating. It is our shared love of ACG that pushes us forward ,as our young company continues to establish itself.
IA: In May 2020, miHoYo launched its own Virtual YouTuber, YoYo Lumi. Over 10 videos of the VTuber were published so far on the Lumi_N0va Desktop YouTube Channel. Moreover, an animated desktop app featuring Lumi was also published. Is it possible Lumi will make appearance in Genshin Impact at some point?
miHoYo: We are very happy that players around the world are already beginning to discover and fall in love with our virtual avatar, Lumi N0va. While we do not yet have any plans for cross-over cooperation, please feel free to leave us feedback about your thoughts and where you might want to see Lumi N0va in the future.
IA: Gacha games are very popular and accepted in Asia. However, many players outside Asia are very skeptical regarding Genshin Impact because of the gacha elements. Could you tell us more on this subject?
miHoYo: The F2P system allows the game to be accessible to more players, and players are free to choose whether and how they want to spend money based on their experience with the game. Our goal is to allow players to experience Genshin Impact for themselves, and to let everyone enjoy it in their own way.
IA: Do you have a message you’d like to share with our readers?
miHoYo: Thank you for supporting Genshin Impact and miHoYo. We are eagerly looking forward to launch, when we can finally bring the vast open world of Genshin Impact to players worldwide. We always appreciate feedback to help us make improvements to the game and deliver a better experience for players.
Genshin Impact is available now on PC, iOS, Android, and PS4. The game supports the following languages: Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Korean, English, French, German, Spanish (Spain), Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Indonesian. The game includes voiceovers in Chinese, English, Japanese, and Korean.