Genshin Impact: A Love Letter to Anime and Gaming

Genshin Impact was released on Sept 28, 2020, sending the gaming community into a frenzy


Andrea Chen

Aether (the MC also named Traveler) in Liyue, a region based on China

On September 28th, a new challenger entered the gaming arena, accumulating more than 17 million downloads in its first week of launch. Genshin Impact, created by Chinese company miHoYo, is a free open world action role playing game (RPG) compatible on PC, mobile and PS4. In a future update, the game will be available on Nintendo Switch.

The storyline centers around a protagonist, or Traveler, who is separated from their sibling while world hopping, effectively leaving the protagonist stranded in lands that are foreign to them. Each region in the world is based on a real country, with Liyue taking inspiration from China and Mondstadt from Germany.

The game’s storyline and regions are incomplete, but additional content is added in every major patch.

What makes Genshin Impact so phenomenal are a multitude of factors, but one key factor in its success is the passion behind the project — that is, to say, what essentially makes Genshin Impact a love letter to anime and gaming influence. There is no shortage of homages to various works throughout the game, spanning from tributes to animations from the beginning cutscenes to the bright character designs influenced by anime culture.

For sophomore Aylani Tran, one of her favorite aspects of the game is the combat system.

“Most games make the main character overpowered…but in Genshin, if you attack the wrong monster, your whole party can die,” Tran said.

Genshin utilizes an elemental combat system, where elements can synergize to produce an additional effect, such as how hydro (water) and cryo (ice) can freeze an enemy. The concept of elemental magic is not one unique to Genshin, though— there are so many other instances in media such as fantasy anime, novels, and even boardtop games like Dungeon and Dragons. However, by honing the combat system on character skills, weapon diversity, stat-boosting gear, the elemental system adds another layer while still retaining a fairly straightforward concept. Playable characters can be earned through a gacha system, where players try to roll for their desired character by spending Primogems, a consumable in game currency.

The monsters and environment presented throughout the world take influence from other games and animes as well— ruin guards, for example, have a design similar to Studio Ghibli’s robots in the film Castle in the Sky.

Teacher Will Buckley recognizes various references and influences in the game.

“The game has clear Breath of the Wild inspirations, which aren’t a bad thing,” Mr. Buckley said.

When asked about his favorite aspect of the game, he also added that the storylines in Genshin were well built. Genshin Impact, in addition to main quests and subquests, offers collectable books of lore around the map which then can be read in order to gain more insight into the world of Teyvat. In addition, NPCs will sometimes offer dialogue that supplements lore.

Junior Anthony Chhil holds the storyline and the soundtrack of the game in high regard.

“All of the landscaping and development of the geography is just amazing,” Chhil said. “Combining the beautiful landscaping with excellent orchestra pieces really makes you just want to stand on a cliff and just admire the view while taking in the music.”

A huge part of Genshin Impact is the soundtrack. Composer Yu-Peng Chen collaborated with music director Zoe Cai to create the HOYO-MiX team. Together they developed the soundtrack with meticulous detail, even creating different themes in areas based on the time of the day. HOYO-MiX commissioned the London Philharmonic Orchestra to play the soundtrack.

What formulates the explosive success of Genshin Impact? There are many factors— audience satisfaction in various parts of the production being a major one. The love and passion in the Genshin Impact development team are also another important factor. Without the shared love of anime between players and dev team alike, Genshin Impact would not contain the charm it has today.