Genshin Impact devs confess to crying over ‘Zelda: Breath of the Wild clone’ accusations

A screenshot from Lantern Rite 2023 in Genshin ImpactHoYoverse

Genshin Impact’s devs confessed to crying over accusations of being nothing more than a “Zelda: Breath of the Wild clone” during the game’s early days. 

When Genshin Impact was first released in 2020 it drew many comparisons to Nintendo’s smash-hit, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for a number of reasons. 

From its graphics which take clear inspiration from BOTW to its fighting mechanics sharing some similarities. However, nearly three years removed from its release, we now know that both games couldn’t be more different from one another.

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Though during this early stage, Genshin and the developers, miHoYo, drew the ire of both international and Chinese players for being a ‘BOTW clone’. And at Shanghai’s 2023 Genshin Impact Festival, the devs finally opened up about their experiences working on the game at this point in time. 

In a translated clip of miHoYo’s president, Liu Wei or better known as Dawei, discussed Genshin’s early days, opening up about the reception they received when their closed beta came out. 

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Genshin Impact devs open up about crying over Zelda: Breath of the Wild clone accusations

“When I put out the closed beta trailer, I was pretty proud, full of hope, and thinking we did well. But the closed beta’s response, it’s like, it’s different from our assumptions, it’s completely different.”

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Dawei continued to recount the reactions from the relatively young dev team, “We faced an unprecedented crisis. Everyone just saw the trailer of the closed beta, [didn’t] really understand what “Genshin” was trying to do.”

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“Not [many] understood, and there was a lot of misunderstanding. So at that time, 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 Dawei recounted that the dev team in 2019 decided to continue work despite the criticisms and protests by players to create their vision of Genshin Impact. 

Needless to say, Genshin Impact has now become one of the most successful games out of China, with millions playing every week. It’s even big enough to have its own festivals around the world. And many of its clone accusations of BOTW have now been mostly forgotten. 

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