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).
You can check out the game’s opening cutscene below.
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.
One of the "Mighty and Illuminated Adepti" guarding Liyue, also heralded as the "Guardian yaksha." Despite his appearance as a young man, occasional legends about him have been documented in ancient books for thousands of years.
There are those who say she can split mountains and part the sea. Others say she draws lightning through her sword. Some say that even the mightiest of sea beasts are no match for her. For those not from Liyue, it may sound like a hearty joke, but those that have sailed with her will say— "No matter what sea beasts there may be, Beidou will be sure to split them all in two."
The few young adventurers that the Mondstadt Adventurers’ Guild has always find themselves tangled up in baffling bouts of bad luck. He is the only active member of his own adventure group, known as “Benny’s Adventure Team,” after all the other members decided to “take leave” following a series of unfortunate incidents. As a result, the team is currently on the verge of being dissolved. Being unable to break the poor boy’s heart, Katheryne of the Adventurers’ Guild has kept “Benny’s Adventure Team” on the books, whilst also hiding from him the fact that all the other members have long since officially left the team.
Like most of Mondstadt’s young people, Noelle always dreamed of being a knight of Favonius when she grew up.
She may not have what it takes to be a knight just yet, but she is learning. Working as a maid at the Knights’ headquarters, she is constantly taking notes on what constitutes knightly speech, knightly conduct, and knightly customs.
She holds firm to her belief that one day she will join their ranks — she just needs to keep trying her hardest at everything she does.
Owner of the Jade Chamber in the skies above Liyue, there are stories abound about Ningguang, with her elegance and mysterious smile.
As the Tianquan of the Liyue Qixing, not only does she embody law and order, she also represents fortune and wit.
A mysterious girl who calls herself “Prinzessin der Verurteilung” and travels with a night raven named Oz.
Currently serves as an investigator in the Adventurers’ Guild.
Through her unique abilities, eccentric character, and (while she would never admit it herself) hard work, Fischl has become a rising star among the Adventurers’ Guild’s investigators, earning the recognition of all.
Fischl even has her own trailer, which you can check out below.
Second son of the Feiyun Commerce Guild, Xingqiu has had a reputation for being studious and polite ever since he was a young child.
But there is another side to the mild-mannered Xingqiu everyone knows. A daring, adventurous and much more mischievous side…
The Head Chef at the Wanmin Restaurant and also a waitress there, Xiangling is extremely passionate about cooking and excels at her signature hot and spicy dishes.
Though still young, Xiangling is a true master of the culinary arts with all the skills of a kitchen veteran. She enjoys a good reputation among the hearty eaters at Chihu Rock.
There’s absolutely no need to be nervous if she wants you to sample her latest creation. It will not disappoint. Promise.
What Locations Are In Genshin Impact?
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.
A city of freedom that lies in the northeast of Teyvat. From amongst mountains and wide-open plains, carefree breezes carry the scent of dandelions—a gift from the Anemo God, Barbatos—across Cider Lake to Mondstadt, which sits on an island in the middle of the lake.
A natural freshwater lake. The lake’s wide, crystalline appearance has remained unchanged for eons—so clear you can see the bottom, and cool and refreshing to drink. It is none other than these headwaters that brought Mondstadt’s ciders and wines to fame and made the lake the symbol of Mondstadt that it is today.
Stretching eastward from Windrise to the sea, Falcon coast—together with Cape Oath—shelters the sea from three sides, creating a bay that sits east of Mondstadt. Given the long coastline and shallow waters, citizens of Mondstadt often come here to enjoy a nice stroll. On occasion, you can see falcons soaring high above the blue waves that brush upon the white sand.
In the southeast corner of Mondstadt’s surrounds lies a cape that borders with Galesong Hill. Legend has it two lovers made an oath to each other here and left behind a deeply touching story. To this day the area is still known to be popular amongst young lovebirds. Other than being a great vantage point for watching sunrises and sunsets, the drop in terrain makes it easy to see Windrise, which sits facing the sea.
Nestled in the land southwest of Mondstadt sits the winery that has passed down the legacy of Mondstadt’s traditional wines and ciders for generations. The grapes grown here are used to produce a range of wines that are popular right across Teyvat. Every year’s products are split, with a portion being sold locally within Mondstadt, the rest is sold off via the trade route that sits south of the city.
A sleepy little village to the south of Mondstadt, that sits facing the lake that surrounds the city. Most of the village’s residents are hunters that provide fresh meat for all the big restaurants of Mondstadt. Springvale’s rustic appeal attracts many tourists. If you are lucky in your travels, you may come across a restaurant that truly knows how to bring out the best qualities of Springvale.
Thousand Winds Temple
A collection of temple ruins that sits northeast of Mondstadt. According to local legend, millennia ago this area was a temple for worshipping the Anemo God. Though it has been left to waste for centuries, leaving the ruins you see today. If you look closely at some of the stone pillars, you can still faintly make out some elegant carvings. This long-forgotten symbol of commemoration is engraved with the maxim: “Wind brings the seeds of tales, time allows them to take root.”
The establishment of the harbor kicked off Liyue’s seafaring trade. As Teyvat’s largest market harbor, the sheer amount of goods that flow to and from it is simply incomparable for other ports. Every year during the Lantern Rite you can see thousands of lanterns ascend into the night sky—a Liyue event that you can’t afford to miss.
A bountiful harbor that lies in the east of Teyvat. Mountains stand tall and proud alongside the stone forest, that together with the open plains and lively rivers make up Liyue’s bountiful landscape, which shows its unique beauty through each of the four seasons. Just how many gifts from the Geo God lie in wait amongst the rocks of Liyue’s mountains?
The pride of the mountain range that shelters Liyue Harbor from the west, acting as a natural shield against any enemies that may come that way. There are uncountable records of wars both big and small whereby enemies have been blocked by this barrier. As such you can still see ancient ruins of city walls, forts, and defensive structures. Liyue’s earliest mining operations are also believed to have started in this area.
Dihua Marsh, a wetland area north of Liyue, gets its name from the silvergrass (“dihua” in the local language) that grows in the shallows of the marsh. The scrambling web of rivers has grown into a flourishing and wide-spread ecosystem full of flora and fauna—an awe-inspiring sight for travelers to the area. The area also acts as the road from Mondstadt to Liyue, and as such many merchant caravans choose to stop here to rest. Wangshu Inn stands within the area, a symbolic structure from all directions.
A landmark within Dihua Marsh, built upon a massive stone pillar. As most of the patrons that stop here are traveling merchants, the inn provides an area for them to trade and set up stalls. The view from the top of the inn is jaw-dropping—weather permitting you can see all the way to Mt. Qingce and Jueyunjian in the distance. Legend amongst the stalls says that the tower of the inn hides a mysterious secret, but that’s as far as the legend goes, as no-one has ever been able to validify the claims.
At the northernmost point of Liyue, hidden between the hills and the bamboo forests sits Qingce Village. White rolling clouds that sit in the valleys between the mountains are embellished with row upon row of crescent-moon water paddies. When the wind blows, the ripples in the water give off an array of colors.
Dizzying peaks that sit shrouded in mist and clouds in the northwest of Liyue. The area hides many stunning views, but owing to tracks found on the complex paths leading up the peaks, a legend has formed that the hidden home of the Adepti lies somewhere in the area. Though another factor may simply be the hopes of those that seek blessings from the Adepti. Given the dangers within, the area is not suitable for outsiders. Best viewed from afar at Wangshu Inn.
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".
The PS4, Android and PC versions launch on September 28th, 2020.