When the gacha game Genshin Impact was originally unveiled to the world, there were a lot of comparisons to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Some even accused it of being a “clone” of Link’s new open-world adventure.
Overcoming Initial Misunderstandings
Now, a number of years later, after the game has raked in billions, miHoYo’s president Liu Wei has reflected on this stage of the game’s life, at the latest ‘Genshin Impact FES’ event – noting how proud the team was when it initially launched the closed beta, but the feedback and “misunderstandings” eventually had some colleagues in tears.
An Unprecedented Crisis
Although Zelda wasn’t specifically mentioned, Wei made reference to the early phases of the project’s reveal – calling it an “unprecedented crisis”. As you might remember, a Zelda fan at the time of the reveal went to the extent of smashing a PlayStation 4 in protest of Genshin Impact’s similarities.
“When I put out the closed beta I was pretty proud, full of hope and thinking we did well but the closed beta’s response is, it’s like it’s different from our assumptions, it’s completely different. So when we did the closed beta we faced an unprecedented crisis. Everyone just saw the video of the closed beta and said, ‘we don’t really understand what Genshin is trying to do.’ Not many understood, and there were a lot of misunderstandings. So at the time, in our team, everyone was really worried. I remember many young colleagues crying and saying to me, ‘Why is this happening? What did we do wrong?’ But this youthful innocence – you could say we are fearless. We thought and acted.”
Differentiating from Breath of the Wild
Developer miHoYo previously admitted it took inspiration from Breath of the Wild, but has always insisted it was a “very different” experience. And even though it wasn’t a very pleasant experience leading up to the game’s launch and in the earlier years, Genshin Impact has gone on to become a live service powerhouse.
Status of the Switch Release
As for the promised Switch release, it’s seemingly gone missing in action. An update dating back to May last year suggested the project was still in development for Nintendo’s hybrid platform, but since then there haven’t been any updates. A rumour in 2021 suggested this version may have encountered some technical issues.