After the hugely successful Genshin Impact, it was certainly exciting to speculate on what Shanghai-based development studio miHoYo would be working on next. While the recently announced Zenless Zone Zero certainly looks stylish as hell, fans would be remiss to pass up Honkai: Star Rail, the latest entry in miHoYo’s popular Honkai series.
However, unlike the Honkai Impact games, Star Rail is said to be a much more ambitious project than its predecessors, and it also has some important differences, such as the implementation of turn-based combat and even open-world environments similar to what we’ve seen in Genshin Impact. We had the chance to speak to miHoYo and ask a few questions about what to expect from this upcoming free-to-play RPG, and you can check out the full interview below.
Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited slightly for clarity.
Zhiqing: Honkai Impact series games are largely isolated, standalone experiences. Will that also be the case with Honkai: Star Rail? Is this a good start for series newcomers?
miHoYo: Yes, the gameplay and story of Honkai: Star Rail will be independent from the other titles in the Honkai series.
We highly recommend this title to new players as our original intent is to make Honkai: Star Rail a title that is easily accessible for new players so that they too can experience the beauty of the Honkai universe.
Zhiqing: How did the idea of Star Rail come about? Was it something the writers always wanted to work towards, or is it a development that came naturally to the team?
miHoYo: The inspiration for Honkai: Star Rail was a natural process.
After Honkai Impact 3rd, the team came up with the idea for the next title in the Honkai franchise. We hope not only to continue the spiritual core of the Honkai series – the symbiosis and confrontation between humans and fate – but also to bring players a refreshing gaming experience. That’s why we chose the sci-fi theme. We hope to inspire players’ desire to explore the universe and introduce an extraordinary experience of journeys across the galaxy.
After several collisions of ideas and perspectives, Honkai: Star Rail was finally born.
Zhiqing: How long has miHoYo been working on the game and can you give us an idea of the size of the development team?
miHoYo: The project has been continuously developed over several years since its inception. Currently our total project team is over 400 members and we continue to have excellent talent joining us.
Zhiqing: Can you also tell us more about the development team? Is anyone from the Genshin Impact team working on Star Rail and is it mostly the main writers and developers who worked on Honkai Impact?
miHoYo: Honkai: Star Rail is a major HoYoverse title. That’s why we assembled a relatively independent team to be responsible for development and production, and we’re committed to presenting an excellent spiritual sequel to the Honkai franchise. It’s another challenge for the team to make the storytelling more immersive and exciting while embracing the turn-based strategy gameplay.
We have accumulated and consolidated experiences related to the technical pipeline, project development and content delivery of the previous titles and these valuable experiences have played an important role in the development of the project. However, since this time we’re developing a brand new turn-based product that we’ve never tried before, we’re still sharing ideas and continuously exploring our ways.
Zhiqing: In the trailers, we see some hints and teasers about making decisions and forging your own path. Are there any decision elements in Star Rail that can change the story experience for each player?
miHoYo: The game is still in beta testing, so we are mainly focusing on optimizing and customizing game features. Players may not be able to experience the full story of the game for now.
However, the players’ varied choices and choices in the game affect the attitudes of the other characters as they get along with the player, which explains part of the need for players to “make choices”.
As for the other aspects, we’d rather not reveal too much at this point. Since Honkai: Star Rail is a long-term operation, we will definitely continue to enrich the story and plot in the future, so let’s leave some surprises in the sequel!
Zhiqing: Will Star Rail have different game modes for players to try? Or will it be more like Genshin Impact, where the focus is more on exploration?
miHoYo: Honkai: Star Rail aims to provide a complete experience of the main features including turn-based strategy combat, huge maps, maze exploration, puzzle solving and more.
Overall, Honkai: Star Rail hopes to showcase the display capability and performance of a 3D game. We’ve included maze exploration along with some action RPG combat and gameplay elements to increase the immersion and thrill of a turn-based strategy game.
Ultimately, whatever the game mode, it’s just one of the ways for us to shape the play style and immersion. We hope that the upcoming closed beta will include a more comprehensive gameplay demonstration.
Zhiqing: Can you tell us about potential PvP and multiplayer modes? Will players be able to team up with friends to take on raids and dungeons, and will there be any guild systems?
miHoYo: There is no multiplayer mode in this closed beta. If such a mechanism is added in the future, please stay tuned for our later updates.
Zhiqing: Can you tell us about the gear and leveling system? Will there be a resin cap on obtaining resources and materials similar to Genshin Impact?
miHoYo: As soon as we have factual information on this, we will release such updates as soon as possible. Players can also get a sneak peek at the upcoming closed beta.
Zhiqing: How did the developers and writers decide to implement turn-based combat in Star Rail as opposed to traditional action gameplay?
miHoYo: Turn-based strategy has always been a genre we wanted to try. As one of the classic game genres, the turn-based genre has a long-lasting charm. There have been countless wonderful turn-based strategy titles in the past, loved by gamers around the world.
Unlike the intoxicating hit-feedback of real-time action games, the excitement of turn-based strategy games stems from careful planning and deliberation to defeat the enemy. While easy to get started, it allows for more diverse and flexible playstyles and strategies. Even when it comes to the same stage, different characters can offer different combinations and party setups.
As such, turn-based games are not only very friendly to players with slow hands, but also offer experienced players who prefer to strategize the opportunity to gradually develop a playing style that suits their own pace and personality.
We are very grateful that HoYoverse action games have received attention and love from majority of gamers. However, we also hope to continue to challenge ourselves to develop products of different kinds to improve the player’s experience and choices, which was also our original intention when developing Honkai: Star Rail.
Zhiqing: Will there be an “Auto” function in Star Rail?
miHoYo: Yes, there will be an auto battle feature in the game. It will improve accessibility for inexperienced players and allow other players to enjoy a relatively simple in-game experience.
In addition, we will also offer a double-speed option, which not only accommodates players who want to pursue a fast-paced experience, but also enhances the excitement and coherence of the battle scene.
Zhiqing: Regarding the gacha system, how will double pulls work? Will it also be similar to Genshin Impact’s Constellations? And aside from the characters, will players be able to draw for weapons?
miHoYo: We’re hoping to focus more on optimizing the combat and puzzle-solving gameplay for now, so we don’t have any comments on the monetization system yet.
Zhiqing: Regarding the global release, do you have any plans to bring the game to consoles? And are there any plans for Mac support?
miHoYo: The upcoming closed beta test will support PC, iOS and Android devices and is not currently available on consoles and Mac devices.
As for other platform releases, please stay tuned. We will keep you informed of future updates.
Zhiqing: Are there any plans for collaborations with other series and IPs?
miHoYo: The game is still in beta testing, so it’s too early to talk about franchise crossovers. That being said, we believe anything is possible!
Zhiqing: Finally, this is a question many fans have been asking: will Kiana be in this game?
miHoYo: As a spiritual continuation of the Honkai series, some of the Honkai series characters, such as Himeko and Soul, will appear in Star Rail in new identities and reunite with old players. We know it’s no longer a secret as we’ve already seen an overwhelming reaction from players via social media.
As for the other characters, we hope to keep them a little mysterious for now and make the follow-up adventure full of surprises!
While Honkai: Star Rail doesn’t have an official release date yet, the game’s closed beta test is now live. We’ll be looking at the beta over the next few days, so you can expect a preview from us soon too. In the meantime, stay tuned to Twinfinite for more Honkai: Star Rail news and information.
https://twinfinite.net/2022/05/honkai-star-rail-interview-mihoyo-discusses-shift-to-turn-based-combat-player-choices-more/ Honkai: Star Rail Interview – miHoYo discusses the move to turn-based combat, player choices, and more