Genshin Impact is not a year old yet, and it has seen incredible success.
The open-world free-to-play RPG was the largest international launch of a Chinese game, driving developer MiHoYo’s revenue to nearly $ 800 million by the end of the year – more than double what the company achieved during the year. last year.
The success of mobile has been particularly remarkable, with Sensor Tower estimated to generate over $ 1 billion in revenue across iOS and Android. The game has been held up as a great example of delivering a first-class console experience on smart devices, delivering an open world compared to many with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
But while the mobile version can sometimes be at the center, it̵
“Genshin Impact was seen as a platform from the beginning because we want to give players the freedom to how and where they continue the game.”
According to Zhenzhong Yi, the game’s technical director, MiHoYo keeps all the platforms in mind as they create new content and improvements for the game, aiming for parity across everything from mobile phones to Sony’s new generation console.
“Genshin Impact was seen as a platform game from the beginning because we want to give players more freedom in how and where they want to continue their game,” he says. GamesIndustry.biz. “When we designed Genshin Impact, we made sure that all the games that were added were not heavily hardware dependent, so players can experience the complete and authentic Genshin Impact on existing platforms.
“In addition to delivering consistent gameplay to all players, we have sought to leverage the benefits and features of different hardware to deliver better graphics and performance on each platform. However, graphics directly related to game mechanics must be matched across platforms. The PS5 version is a great example: We’ve improved the graphics and performance to create a richer and more seamless open world experience on the PS5, but with the same game design, players can still play with friends on other platforms, or continue their adventure on PlayStation , PC and mobile without any problems. ”
Yi also cites MiHoYo’s close relationship with Unity as a key contributor to its platform strategy, adding that Genshin Impact is built on a specific and highly customized version of Unity tailored to the game’s needs. He adds: “It is very important for us to work on an evolving engine with a cheerful and knowledgeable partner in the long run.”
The recent PS5 version is perhaps the best example of the balance MiHoYo has to strike. Sony’s console is the most advanced on the market, with a host of unique features and technology designed to make games stand out from competing platforms. The Genshin Impact studio aimed to exploit these, but without doing so in a way that would make other versions work worse.
MiHoYo learned a lot about console development and Sony’s architecture from the development of the PS4 version, but working with the PS5 “takes a very effective but clear approach,” according to Yi.
“We actually had to recreate the basic PS5 framework, including the graphics library and the custom file loading system from scratch”
“We actually had to recreate the basic PS5 development framework, including the graphics library and the custom file loading system from scratch,” he says. “PlayStation 5 has impressed us with many exciting features and technologies, and we still have a lot to explore.
“Faster loading has been a feature we intended to deliver from early on. Playing Genshin Impact through backward compatibility on PS5 has much less loading time than playing on PS4, thanks to SSD on PS5. But with our custom file loading system [built specifically] for SSD, the native PS5 version has even shorter screens. Long loading can be a big rejection for experiences in the open world, and that level of improvement is definitely worth the team’s efforts to develop a custom file loading system from scratch. ”
Haptic feedback via the DualSense controller is also something the studio was keen to work on, with this functionality improved in the upcoming 2.0 release. The team hopes to use the gamepad’s haptics to “[build] more physical perception of space and interactions between players and the game world. “For example, players closer to an exploding barrel will feel stronger rumbling from DualSense than those farther away. When players spread their wings or pull the bow, the triggers will match the excitement of those actions in the game.
“Haptic feedback is a great feature to make players feel more cohesive, so we can continue to add more experiences to the game,” adds Yi.
But despite the power available to PS5 developers, MiHoYo has avoided putting effort into a graphic overhaul, instead of maintaining the sterilized look seen in all versions of the game. This is not to say that there are no visual improvements, of course. MiHoYo has used the PS5 GPU and its experience on the PS4 version to improve the level of detail and textures in the game
“We hope to create a game world with massive landscapes full of landmarks and mysteries and lots of details in every corner,” explains Yi. “With the improved LOD distance, players now have a better view of what awaits and is waiting to be discovered. Meanwhile, high-resolution textures allow us to wrap more details and stories in everything you see. By running all of these in native 4K resolution and HDR support, we hope to give players a deeper, sharper and smoother insight into the gaming world. ”
The team has also played with new visual features, such as volumetric clouds and more representative lighting on signs as the time of day changes. But Yi insists that maintaining Genshin Impact’s original art style is “the most important prerequisite before we make any changes to the graphics.”
For example, the team decided not to rush into the kind of features that new generation games already use as a technical showcase, such as beam tracking.
“Beam tracking on the PS5 can help create more realistic rendering images,” says Yi. “However, adding it to Genshin Impact will require tremendous effort from both our artists and developers if we want to be with our current art style to present the authentic look of Teyvat. So given the necessary effort in relation to the actual level of improvement it can provide in player experiences, we decided to bring out some other features that can enhance the player experiences in the first place. ”
Version 2.0 of Genshin Impact launches on July 21, and also adds a new region, Inazuma, expands the story and introduces new characters and weapons, marking a new chapter for the live service game. There are no words on whether the game will be brought to new platforms, but Yi wants the challenge if this opportunity arises.
“Creating new versions on multiple platforms always means new challenges and more workload. However, it refreshes our skills for future development.”