Staff at Genshin Impact developer miHoYo were left in tears by the negative response to the game's reveal, when many accused it of being a The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild clone.
As reported by CBR, miHoYo president Lie Wei said at the Genshin Impact FES event that the team was deeply affected by the criticism and copycat accusations received early on. Breath of the Wild fans even took to a Genshin Impact showcase to protest the PlayStation RPG, with one attendee smashing his PS4 in front of the booth.
Wei didn't mention Breath of the Wild specifically, though did laugh as he brought up the "unprecedented crisis". His speech was shared on Twitter by @tokinohikaru_00 (below).
[for every traveller]
Genshin Impact FES 2023 in Shanghai (English Version)
MiHoYo president Daiwei is deeply moved and talks about his thoughts on Genshin Impact
I feel like crying while watching 😭
・There were difficult times, but he says that he was able to come this far… pic.twitter.com/4H2YLWSaIp
— ときのひかる (@tokinohikaru_00) August 13, 2023
"When I put out the [closed beta] I was pretty proud, but [the closed beta's] response is, it's like it's different from our assumptions, it's completely different," Wei said.
"When we did [the closed beta] we faced an unprecedented crisis. Everyone just saw the video of [the closed beta and said]: 'we don't really understand what Genshin is trying to do.' Not many understood, and there was a lot of misunderstanding. So at the time, [in] 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 this youthful innocence; you could say we are fearless. We thought and acted."
Wei explained he and the team used the criticism as motivation to prove themselves, and as time went on, and more of Genshin Impact was revealed, they managed to win round fans.
Genshin Impact went on to become one of the biggest live service games available, with its action RPG gameplay and anime-inspired open world setting drawing in millions of fans. Microsoft reportedly passed up the chance to make Genshin Impact an Xbox exclusive, something it now regrets.
The game's also seen a ton of updates since it first launched, adding new characters, quests, items, and more, and has even seen crossovers with other franchises including Horizon: Zero Dawn.
In our 9/10 review, IGN said: "An incredible open-world and addictive exploration make Genshin Impact anime-zing adventure."
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelance reporter. He'll talk about The Witcher all day.