Game Zone, The Wikipedia Forum – Honkai: Star Rail is a role-playing gacha video game developed by miHoYo, published by miHoYo in mainland China and worldwide by Cognosphere, HoYoverse. It features the main character, referred to as the “Trailblazer”, traveling across worlds resolving disasters caused by the “Stellaron”. The first closed beta test was launched on October 27, 2021. It was publicly released internationally on April 26, 2023, for Windows and mobile devices; with the PlayStation 5 port released on October 11, 2023. The PlayStation 4 version is still yet to be announced, as revealed at the latest Summer Game Fest with a trailer. It is the fourth installment in the Honkai series, drawing on characters from Honkai Impact 3rd and gameplay elements from Genshin Impact (although with significant adjustments to the characters’ background and personality and changes to the gameplay elements). It is miHoYo’s first turn-based game.
Partially due to the popularity of miHoYo’s previous game, Genshin Impact, the game received widespread expectations before its launch. It was nominated for the Most Wanted Game Award at the Golden Joystick Awards in 2022 and won the Best Popularity Award of World Science Fiction Game Annual Awards in 2023.
Gameplay Honkai: Star Rail
Honkai: Star Rail follows the gameplay style of classic Japanese role-playing games: players build up a lineup of characters and control a team of up to four in turn-based combat. In addition to various stats that affect characters’ strength, each character has an elemental type that affects the kind of damage dealt to targets, a character class referred to as a Path that defines their combat role, and a set of unique abilities called Traces used in combat. Each character can equip a weapon known as a Light Cone, that has various effects that activate if the Paths of both the character and Light Cone match. Characters can also equip various Relics, similar to Artifacts in Genshin Impact.
Elements of open-world and dungeon exploration are present, with multiple mechanics, including the gacha system, carried over (with slight differences) from HoYoverse’s previous action RPG Genshin Impact.
Development Honkai: Star Rail
Honkai: Star Rail began development in 2019 with the goal of “exploring new directions for the Honkai series”. The production team has about 500 people, most of whom are fans of science fiction works and turn-based role-playing games. This project is HoYoverse’s first attempt at a turn-based combat mechanism game. The team has stated that this genre is very popular in the game market and can lower the difficulty threshold for players to get started. In previous surveys conducted by HoYoverse, there were many players that expressed that they enjoy this type of game. There were concerns about whether this type of game is too retro, but the production team believes that as long as the quality of the game is enjoyable, it can attract players.
Persona 5 was the team’s inspiration when making the decision to develop a turn-based role-playing game.
The design of the planet “Xianzhou Luofu” is based on East Asian fantasy, and has been described as “silkpunk”. Like other works in the Honkai series, it is in no way “too hard-core science fiction”. The setting of the previous game Honkai Impact 3rd is Earth, but the plot mentioned that there were other planets in this world view. Therefore, the production team of Honkai: Star Rail decided to expand on this concept of “a universe”. The basic setting revolves around to take a train and travel around the major planets in the universe. The production of each planet in the game takes around one year. The production sequence is to first determine the world view and theme of the planet, then create the characters and detailed setting information, and then finally write the plot. Producer David Jiang hopes that Honkai: Star Rail can achieve the immersive feeling of “as if you are in the world of the work”, and create a “playable animated series”.
In terms of combat mechanism, producer David Jiang said that this game adopts “command-based combat.” He said that HoYoverse’s previous titles Honkai Impact 3rd and Genshin Impact were heavy on the role-playing aspect, but they did not include command-based and turn-based combat. In addition, some players reported that Honkai Impact 3rd was too action-oriented and too difficult to operate. Therefore, Honkai: Star Rail pays more attention to strategy than the player’s operational skills.
In order to enhance player immersion, the production team integrated artificial intelligence technology into the behavior patterns of non-player characters.