Honkai: Star Rail Exclusive Interview – HoYoverse Talks About the Next Honkai Chapter

Honkai Star Rail interview

After taking the world by storm with Genshin Impact – for those who weren't paying attention to Honkai Impact 3rd -, HoYoverse/MiHoYo is back with Honkai: Star Rail. This time the pressure is palpable and the China-based studio has a lot of high expectations upon them. We talked with the team to see how this Honkai spin-off is coming and what you can expect when it releases.

FreeMMOStation: How large is the team currently working on Honkai: Star Rail? And when did development start?

HoYoverse: We currently have more than 400 people on the team of Honkai: Star Rail. Since the project was launched, the team has spent years bouncing off ideas and developing together.

FreeMMOStation: Did you learn a lot from the development of Genshin Impact and used some of its lessons in Honkai: Star Rail? If so, can you give us some examples?

HoYoverse: We hope to create an excellent spiritual sequel to the Honkai series for everyone, while also incorporating turn-based gameplay that we have not tried before. This is an area that we have not explored before, so it brings different challenges to the development team.

In the process of development and production, we continue to have excellent new R&D members joining us; at the same time, the development experience of the other products under HoYoverse/miHoYo, including the production and management of platform resources, rational use of hardware features of each platform for optimization, as well as through experiencing the combat performance and game performance, and so on, have brought us great help in the development of Honkai: Star Rail.

FreeMMOStation: Would you describe Honkai: Star Rail as a hero collector RPG? And why did you decide to go for a turn-based combat system, after mastering real-time action combat in Honkai Impact 3rd and Genshin Impact?

HoYoverse: Honkai: Star Rail aims to provide a complete experience of the main features including turn-based strategy combat, vast maps, maze exploration, puzzle-solving, and more.

As mentioned above, the two titles of HoYoverse focus on action-oriented games, and we are also very honored to receive the attention and love of the majority of players. In fact, after Honkai Impact 3rd, the team has been thinking about ways to create titles with new gameplays while continuing the spiritual core of the Honkai series to improve the player's experience and choice. This is also a new challenge for us.

In terms of turn-based strategy, it has always been a genre we've wanted to try. As one of the classic game genres, the turn-based genre has a prolonged charm of its own. There have been countless marvelous turn-based strategy titles in the past that are loved by players around the world. Unlike the exhilarating on-hit feedback of real-time action games, the excitement of turn-based strategy games come from careful planning, thinking and defeating the enemy. Despite being easy to get started, it allows diverse and flexible playstyles and strategies. Even for the same stage, different characters may make varied combinations. Therefore, turn-based games are not only very friendly to the player with slow hands, but also provide space for expert players who prefer to strategize, allowing them to gradually form a playstyle that suits their own pace and personality. Not only that, while retaining the core of turn-based strategy gameplay, we have also added some new elements such as maze exploration, real-time action, roguelike, and so on to continuously enrich the player's gaming experience.

After all, whether it's real-time action or turn-based strategy, it is just how we shape the style and immersion of the game. We also hope to organically combine the turn-based gameplay with the lore and narrative of Honkai: Star Rail, so as to reach a wider player base, so that more players may experience the beauty of the Honkai franchise.

FreeMMOStation: What is the exact relationship between Honkai: Star Rail and Honkai Impact 3rd? Where does the new game picks up in terms of lore, what returning characters can we expect, and other things?

HoYoverse: The gameplay, story and lore of Honkai: Star Rail will be independent of the other titles from the Honkai series. However, the spiritual core of the Honkai series – the symbiosis and confrontation between human beings and destiny – will continue to accompany players in an extraordinary experience of journeys of the galaxy.

As the spiritual sequel to the Honkai series, some old friends in Honkai Impact 3rd – such as Himeko and Seele, will appear in Star Rail in new identities, reuniting with old players. We believe that a lot of players are already aware of this based on the overwhelming response we have seen through social media.

As for other Honkai Impact 3rd “Easter Eggs”, we will keep them a little mystery for now and we hope to bring more surprises to you in the future adventures!

Honkai: Star Rail Exclusive Interview

FreeMMOStation: How will players who never tried Honkai Impact 3rd be introduced into the game? Is it heavy on lore that new players will find difficult to follow, or does it stand as its very own game?

HoYoverse: Honkai: Star Rail is new player friendly, even players who have never played the Honkai series would find it easy to start with.

Our original intention is to make Honkai: Star Rail a title that is easily accessible to new players, so they too can experience the beauty of the Honkai Universe. Therefore, the gameplay and story setting of Honkai: Star Rail are independent of themselves.

FreeMMOStation: Are you considering a release in other platforms besides PC and mobile? In other words, is a console release planned?

HoYoverse: The upcoming Closed Beta test will support PC, iOS and Android devices, but it is currently not available on consoles. As for other platform releases, please stay tuned for any new updates. Once we have factual information on that, we will share such updates as soon as possible.

FreeMMOStation: Do you see Honkai: Star Rail as a game with the scope of Genshin Impact, or do you consider it something of a more intimate, smaller budget labor of love?

HoYoverse: Honkai: Star Rail is a very important product of HoYoverse. It not only continues the spirit of the Honkai franchise, but also represents our new attempt at incorporating the turn-based strategy game track. While challenging ourselves, we hope to provide players with games of different varieties to improve the player's experience and choice.

Different players have different expectations for different products, and we hope that players will be able to gain a unique gaming experience in Honkai: Star Rail.

FreeMMOStation: What kind of multiplayer options, including PvP, can we expect? Do we go on our adventure alone or is there the option to join other player world, just like in Genshin Impact?

HoYoverse: This Closed Beta does not include multiplayer content.

As for whether the multiplayer mode and online feature will be added in the future, please stay tuned for any new updates.

FreeMMOStation: Some sort of summon system is expected in Honkai: Star Rail. Can you reveal anything about it, such as if it’s going to be separate character and weapon banners?

HoYoverse: At this stage, we are mainly focusing on testing and optimizing the core gameplay of the game, thus we don't have any comments on it.

FreeMMOStation: How many playable characters are you planning to get ready for the official release, including those eventually behind a banner?

HoYoverse: We believe that everyone has already gained a preliminary understanding through the information released on the trailors, social platform and official website. The characters who will go on the galactic adventure with the players next, including new partners and some old faces of the Honkai series, will meet you in new identities.

As for the specific playable characters, we are not able to give specific numbers for the time being. However, one thing is certain, the game Honkai: Star Rail will be operated for the long term, and we will continue to introduce new content for players after the official launch, and these, of course, include characters.

FreeMMOStation: What is the estimated release date for Honkai: Star Rail?

HoYoverse: We don't have a specific launch date yet.

We are focusing more on the upcoming Closed Beta, and hope to have a more comprehensive understanding of our players by collecting valuable suggestions from them.

We will share with you the news as soon as possible once we have factual information on the release date.

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