Genshin Impact (Chinese: 原神) is a free-to-play action role-playing game developed and published by miHoYo. The game features a fantasy-based open world environment and action based battle system, using elemental magic, character switching and uses gacha game monetization for players to obtain rare characters, weapons, and other resources. A multiplayer mode currently allows up to four players to play together in the world and also tackle certain dungeons within the game. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Android and iOS on September 28, 2020. The game will be available on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5 on an unannounced date.
Genshin Impact takes place on the fictional world of Teyvat, which is home to several nations. Each nation is associated with an element and worships a god associated with that element. A pair of twins arrive on Teyvat in the distant past, but are barred from leaving by an unknown god. After trapping one, she seals the other for some time. After the sealed twin, who is referred to as 'Traveler,' awakens, they travel across Teyvat with their newfound companion, Paimon, in a search for the other twin.
The game received fairly positive reception at release, with journalists praising the open world direction and the combat; however, criticisms were raised at its monetization. The game grossed over $100 million in twelve days, recouping its development and marketing budget of around $100 million. The game's largest markets are China, Japan, South Korea, and the United States.
The game features an open-world map, which the player explores by walking, climbing, swimming and gliding as necessary. Many objects and places of significance are spread throughout the map. Players can control up to four of their characters at any one time. By completing quests to advance the story, the player is able to unlock a total of 24 playable characters. A similarly styled multiplayer mode is available. The game features cross-platform play as well as cross-save options.
Each character has two unique combat skills: a normal and a special skill. The normal skill can be used at any time except for the cooldown period immediately after use, while the special skill has an energy cost, requiring the user to amass sufficient elemental energy first.
Characters have control over one of seven natural elements: Cryo, Dendro, Pyro, Hydro, Anemo, Electro and Geo, which correspond to ice, life, fire, water, air, electricity, and earth, respectively. These elements can interact in different ways, for example if a Hydro attack is followed up by a Cryo attack, it will inflict a frozen status, so the target will be unable to move or perform actions temporarily.
Cooking is another significant aspect of Genshin Impact's gameplay. Players gather many resources in the course of their adventure, some of which can be turned into dishes via cooking. Some dishes regenerate characters' health, while others boost attack or defensive abilities.
Genshin Impact takes place on the world of Teyvat, which is divided into several nations and regions. Currently, there are two nations within the game that the player can visit: Mondstadt and Liyue. Mondstadt, known as the city of freedom, worships Barbatos, the wind archon and sits on an island in the middle of a lake. Mondstadt's region occupies the northeastern half of the map, and in the southeastern half of the map lies the nation of Liyue, which worships the geo archon Rex Lapis and is the largest market harbor in Teyvat. Each nation takes inspiration from a real world region, incorporating regional aesthetics. Mondstadt uses central European influences, while Liyue uses many common Chinese elements, such as the Stone Forest.
In a world called Teyvat, certain individuals chosen by the gods are given a Vision — magical gemstones that give their bearers the ability to control an element. The player starts out as a Traveler of unknown origin who is searching for a lost sibling. The player can choose between a male or a female version of the Traveler. As the adventure progresses, the player controls several other characters met by the Traveler on their journey, each with unique personalities and special abilities, as they undertake quests to understand the truth about the primordial gods of this world.
The game starts as two twins traveling across the stars arrive in Teyvat and find that it is ablaze with the fires of war. However, as they attempt to leave, they encounter and fight a mysterious god. The god captures one of the twins and seals away the other one, depending on the choice of the player. Some undisclosed amount of time later, the twin awakens, and meets Paimon while fishing. On their way, they encounter a dragon named Stormterror, which later attacks the town of Mondstadt. After saving the town, the twin meets Jean, the leader of the Knights of Favonius, joins the Knights and is sent to numerous temples to restore stability to the region. It is discovered that the dragon's true name is Dvalin, and that he was once a guardian of Mondstadt. The Traveler encounters a bard named Venti, who is actually Barbatos, the archon presiding over Mondstadt. Venti develops a plan to quell Dvalin's rage, for which they need to steal a holy lyre, that by playing it to Dvalin would calm his rage. However, they are beaten to it by a member of the Fatui, a group of secret agents from the nation of Snezhnaya, and are framed for the robbery. The Traveler and Venti take refuge with bar owner Diluc, where they are reunited with Jean, who is working unofficially with the group to avoid destroying diplomatic relations with Snezhnaya. The group retrieves the lyre from a nearby Fatui hideout, and repairs it. Venti plays the lyre to summon Dvalin, but it is revealed he is under the influences of the Abyss Mages, sorcerers who are a part of the Abyss Order that despise humanity. The group pursues Dvalin to his hideout, and frees him from the Abyss Mages' influence. After returning the lyre, the Traveler and Venti are ambushed by the Fatui, and Venti's Gnosis, a conduit that allows Venti to use magic, is stolen. The Traveler resolves to meet all seven of the archons, and Venti advises the Traveler to travel to Liyue to meet Rex Lapis, the god presiding over the city, as he may have information on the other twins' whereabouts. However, Rex Lapis is assassinated, and the twin petitions the adepti, spiritual guardians of Liyue, for help. Once they return to Liyue, they contact several officials to meet the body of Rex Lapis, which has been hidden away for unknown reasons. Helping prepare the ritual for the fallen archon, they receive an invitation to meet the Liyue Qixing, the person in charge of the commerce within Liyue.
miHoYo announced work on a new project using the Unity development platform at the end of January 2017, three months after the initial release of Honkai Impact 3rd. The company stated its intention for the new project was to strengthen the company's R&D capabilities and produce higher-quality games. The project in question was Genshin Impact.
Genshin Impact was announced in June 2019, with a release target of 2020, on both Windows and iOS. The reveal trailer showed an open world heavily inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in terms of presentation and gameplay. The similarities sparked controversy and protests at Genshin Impact's booth at 2019's ChinaJoy convention among some fans of Breath of the Wild. A beta test was to be run at the end of June. The game had a budget, for both development and marketing, of around $100 million.
The game's developers sought to create a game that was distinct from Honkai Impact 3rd in terms of its quest and combat systems as well as its random events and mode of exploration.
Genshin Impact is available in Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Korean, English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Thai, Vietnamese and Indonesian, with voiceovers available in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and English. Players can choose user interface (UI) and voice-over languages independently. (Voiceover language does not change automatically with UI language change.)
Genshin Impact takes a different title in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, being simply shortened to the first word of the international title (i.e., Yuánshén 原神 in Chinese, Genshin 原神 in Japanese and Wonsin 원신 in Korean). The different pronunciations simply reflect the local way of pronouncing the original Chinese title, which literally means Primordial Gods.
Genshin Impact received generally favorable reviews for PC and PS4, according to review aggregator Metacritic. Game Informer's Daniel Tack praised the open world direction and design of the game, and Destructoid's Chris Carter called the combat system "one of the most interesting things about Genshin Impact". Gene Park of The Washington Post notes that the game wears its inspiration from Breath of the Wild "proudly," but also criticized its gacha system. Paul Tassi of Forbes noted that to progress past a certain point one must "spend an absurd amount of money to get around the last few timegates of the game."
Prior to its release, the game saw 21.3 million preregistrations - of which, 16 million were from China. According to experts in the video games industry, Genshin Impact was the biggest international release of a Chinese video game. 
In the first four days after it was released, it is estimated that Genshin Impact had over 17 million downloads. In the week following it was released, it was the second highest-grossing mobile game for that time period, generating approximately $60 million, with China generating the most, followed by Japan and the United States. According to analyst firm App Annie, the game was downloaded more than 23 million times in its first week. According to Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad, the game grossed over $100 million worldwide in less than two weeks. The game's largest markets are China, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. PC Gamer reports that the game grossed over $100 million in twelve days, recouping its budget.
On October 6, 2020, journalist and Twitch streamer Kazuma Hashimoto published a video on social media site Twitter demonstrating how Chinese political terms such as 'Hong Kong' and 'Taiwan' are censored within the in-game chat. As the developer of the game, miHoYo, is based in China, they are subject to China's censorship policy, which includes complying with a list of banned words that cannot be used in game or via chat.  Other terms not related to Chinese politics are banned as well, such as 'Putin', 'Hitler', and 'Stalin'. Several threads on the game's subreddit discussed the censorship, with various users noting that innocuous terms such as 'enemies' and 'words' were also being censored.
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