Feb 21, 2023 - Technology

Genshin Impact creators prep their next big game

Video game screenshot of a young man flying through the clouds while an armored enemy throws energy swords at him

Honkai: Star Rail. Screenshot: MiHoYo

The creators of the phenomenally successful Genshin Impact are getting close to releasing their next game, Honkai: Star Rail, and already have 10 million people signed up to play.

Why it matters: Chinese gaming powerhouse MiHoYo is rewriting the rules about how to thrive in the industry, and competitors are struggling to keep up.

  • The company specializes in lushly rendered, free-to-play games that run on phones and higher-end home hardware and draw comparisons to $60 console staples like Zelda and Final Fantasy.
  • Genshin Impact was released in late 2020 for PS4, iOS, Android and PC, an unusual platform split at the time.
  • While MiHoYo doesn’t release metrics for Genshin Impact, tracking firm Sensor Tower believes it generated $3.7 billion in player spending on mobile alone in its first two years of release.

Details: Honkai: Star Rail is a single-player, sci-fi adventure with turn-based combat and is announced just for phones and PC for now.

  • Some 500 developers are making the game, according to Fish Ling, senior director of global development for HoYoverse, the company’s gaming brand.
  • It’s currently in its third closed beta where players can use the space train “Star Rail” to go on combat missions and solve puzzles across three locations, including a space station and planets.
  • More than 10 million people have pre-registered to download and play the game once it is released, including more than 2.5 million outside of China, Ling told Axios during a brief demo of the game in New York.

Between the lines: As with Genshin Impact, MiHoYo plans to give Star Rail players access to a generously detailed and continuously expanded adventure at no cost, while encouraging them to pay money for extra and better characters.

  • MiHoYo has expanded Genshin Impact’s world several times since launch, adding new characters each time.
  • Long-term support for the company’s games is essential, Ling says. “We do intend to run the game, like all of our titles, as long as possible.”

What’s next: Ling wouldn’t confirm if a recently spotted iOS App Store listing of April 26 indicated the game’s real release date but said the team hoped to offer an update soon.

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