Genshin Impact is an action role-playing video game developed by miHoYo, but is perhaps best known to Nintendo fans as the title which caused one Zelda enthusiast to smash up his PS4 due to the close similarities between the game and Breath of the Wild. Eek.
Originally announced for PS4, iOS, Android and PC, it's now been confirmed that the game will also be coming to the Nintendo Switch. But what's the big deal, exactly? Allow us to enlighten you with everything we know about Genshin Impact so far.
What's The Big Deal About Genshin Impact?
Despite the fact that this is shaping up to be quite an interesting JRPG, the main reason Genshin Impact is known in the west is due to the fact that when it was initially announced for PS4, one Zelda fan was so upset about how closely it resembled Nintendo's title that he actually smashed up his PS4 console in disgust.
Fans at the ChinaJoy event also expressed their displeasure at the Genshin Impact booth:
Is Genshin Impact REALLY A Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Clone?
Genshin Impact certainly has some cool ideas of its own – such as a massive cast of characters, sprawling cities to explore and much more besides – but the initial gameplay trailer does make the game look a lot like Breath of the Wild.
Check out these shots to see what we mean:
When Did Genshin Impact Begin Development?
miHoYo announced work on a new Unity-based title at the close of January 2017, three months the release of its title Honkai Impact 3rd. miHoYo has cited both The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and the Grand Theft Auto as titles which inspired the development of Genshin Impact. The game was formally announced in June 2019.
What's The Story Behind Genshin Impact?
Here's the plot summary, direct from developer miHoYo:
Teyvat is a world blessed by the 7 Elemental Archons.Though the calamity the world suffered has ceased, and the lands have slowly healed, peace has yet to be restored to Mondstadt, the city of wind. The domineering Fatui have been oppressing the surrounding city-states, under the guise of protection, while an ancient darkness is seeking a chance for revenge...
You have arrived in Teyvat — a fantasy world where the seven elements flow and converge.
In the distant past, the Archons granted mortals unique elemental abilities. With the help of such powers, people formed a bountiful homeland out of the wilderness. However, 500 years ago, the collapse of an ancient civilization turned the universe upside down... Though the calamity the world suffered has ceased, peace has yet to be restored.
You, as the main character, are a traveler drifted from another world who has awoken in this land. You will explore this wondrous world freely, make friends along the way, and look for "The Seven" — Archons of the seven elements. Every piece of your adventure will unearth something miraculous, and the lost will eventually be found.
A superb manga series has been running since before development on the game officially started; you can read it here. It does a great job of introducing the game's cast.
What Will The Gameplay Be Like In Genshin Impact?
The game is described as being an action-adventure set in a large open world, not unlike Breath of the Wild. Combat is real-time and players can use a wide range of weapons and magic to defeat enemies. Cities and towns will play a larger role in Genshin Impact than they do in Breath of the Wild, and you'll be able to cook meals to boost your stats (although these meals can have a negative impact on your character, too).
What Characters Are In Genshin Impact?
There will apparently be 30 characters in the final game. The ones confirmed so far are:
A perky, straightforward girl, who is also the only Outrider of the Knights of Favonius. Her amazing mastery of the glider has made her a three-time winner of the Gliding Champion in Mondstadt. As a rising star within the Knights of Favonius, Amber is always ready for any challenging tasks.
In the Knights of Favonius, Kaeya is the most trusted aide for the Acting Grand Master Jean. You can always count on him to solve any intractable problems. Everyone in Mondstadt loves Kaeya, but no one knows what secrets this witty, charming knight has...
As the Acting Grand Master of the Knights, Jean has always been devoted to her duties and maintaining peace in Mondstadt. She had taken precautions long before the onset of Stormterror's assault, and she will guard Mondstadt with her life as always.
She is an intellectual witch who can never get enough naps. As the Librarian of the Knights of Favonius, Lisa is smart in that she always knows exactly what to do with whatever troubles her. As much as she loves her sleep, she still manages to keep everything under control in a calm, composed manner.
Knights of Favonius Spark Knight! Forever with a bang and a flash! And then disappearing from the stern gaze of Acting Grand Master Jean. Sure, time in solitary confinement gives lots of time to think about new gunpowder formulas...
The Deaconess of the Knights of Favonius and a shining starlet adored by all. Although the concept of a starlet is rather novel in a city of bards, the people of Mondstadt love Barbara nonetheless.
A bard that seems to have arrived on some unknown wind — sometimes sing songs as old as the hills, and other times sing poems fresh and new. Likes apples and lively places, but is not a fan of cheese or anything sticky. When using his Anemo power to control the wind, it often appears as feathers, as he's fond of that which appears light and breezy.
As the wealthiest gentleman in Mondstadt, the ever-dapper Diluc always presents himself as the epitome of perfection. But behind the courteous visage burns a zealous soul that has sworn to protect Mondstadt at all costs, allowing him to mercilessly vanquish all who threaten his city.
Some say he is an orphan raised by wolves. Others say he is a wolf spirit in human form. He is most at home in the wild, fighting with claw and thunder. To this day the wolf boy can be found prowling the forest, where he and his wolf pack hunt to survive using nothing more than their animal instincts.
What Locations Are In Genshin Impact?
Teyvat's largest city and one of the main hubs in the game. It is dominated by its grand cathedral.
The greatest trading port in all of Teyvat.
"Until this very day, the presence of the adepti can be noticed in the area, adepti which the people of Liyue believe to be lead by the Geo God, Rex Lapis."
When Is Genshin Impact Being Released On Switch?
Upon Genshin Impact's initial announcement, the original release target for the game was 2020, with a beta test happening at the end of June 2019. Following the confirmation of a Switch version on January 13th, 2020, the release date has changed to "coming soon".