How Genshin Impact's devs were driven to tears

MiHoYo's president reveals how comparisons to Nintendo's Zelda Breath of the Wild were a major concern pre-release

How Genshin Impact's devs were driven to tears

Comparisons to flagship Nintendo title The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild drove team members developing MiHoYo's iconic title Genshin Impact to tears, a conference talk has revealed.

Speaking at miHoYo's recent Genshin Impact FES event, president and Genshin Impact developer team member Liu "Dawei" Wei, gave insights into the concerns that the company had pre-release. Response to the closed beta draw numerous comparisons to, and criticisms of the perceived similarity, to Nintendo's high-profile title.

Wei said, "I remember many young colleagues crying and saying to me, 'Why is this happening? What did we do wrong?' But [with] this youthful innocence; you could say we were fearless. We thought and acted."

For many Chinese gamers, there has been a increasing stance against companies taking inspiration from other genres. It has been suggested that their industry will be seen as derivative as a result and the game did have a  strong initial negative backlash that even saw one individual destroying his PlayStation 4 in public protest.

Breathing freely

Of course, it goes without saying that - regardless of criticism - Genshin Impact proved to be a huge smash-hit. Although few could predict the dire global circumstances that saw swathes of the game's audience confined indoors as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, this effectively "captive" audience contributed strongly to the game's success.

With their subsequent support of the title contributing to its continued dominance, MiHoYo also made last year's Top 50 Game Makers thanks to their work.

Ironically, Genshin Impact itself has a new rival in the form of MiHoYo's latest title, Honkai: Star Rail, which has itself taken the formula established by the previous title and expanded upon it. With The Legend of Zelda itself increasingly innovating in recent entry Tears of the Kingdom, it seems that regardless of their original similarities both series have earned their reputations.

Staff Writer

Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who joined the Pocket Gamer Biz site fresh-faced from University before moving to the editorial team in November of 2023.