Honkai: Star Rail, the newest entry to HoYoverse's Honkai series after Honkai Impact 3rd, began its latest closed beta phase on Wednesday (25 May).
Players who managed to get into the closed beta were immediately greeted with a beautiful opening cutscene, striking visuals, as well as their first experience with the game and its mechanics.
As an avid fan of the Honkai series, what I've seen thus far from Honkai: Star Rail's closed beta has really shown me how much both the series and the developer have grown over the years.
In an interview with Yahoo Gaming SEA, developer HoYoverse affirmed my thoughts by stating that Honkai: Star Rail is, in fact, a spiritual successor to Honkai Impact 3rd, but one that will still have its own game and story.
Honkai Impact 3rd was first released six years ago, and time has been good to this HoyoVerse classic. The developer said that they are glad that the game is still loved by global gamers to this day and getting approved by an increasing number of new players.
But while they hope to continue to develop the core of the Honkai franchise — "the symbiosis and confrontation between human beings and destiny", according to HoYoverse — they also hope to bring a refreshing gaming experience to players with Honkai: Star Rail.
Thus, the developer started the exploration and development of its newest title in the hopes of continuing the spirit of the Honkai series in a new lens.
"Honkai: Star Rail will continue to incorporate the consistent spiritual core of the Honkai series, showing the symbiosis and confrontation between human beings and destiny," HoYoverse told Yahoo Gaming SEA in an email interview.
"Meanwhile, and more importantly, the gameplay and story of Honkai: Star Rail is independent of the other titles from the Honkai series."
One of the ways HoYoverse will continue the spirit of Honkai Impact 3rd in Honkai: Star Rail is by having past characters appear in the new game.
For example, in the closed beta, familiar faces like Murata Himeko and Seele Vollerei appear with new identities.
Meanwhile, non-playable characters from Honkai Impact 3rd like Sushang and Welt Yang will be stepping into the spotlight as playable characters in Honkai: Star Rail.
But appreciation of this new title won’t be exclusive to veteran Honkai Impact 3rd players.
HoYoverse hopes to bring the Honkai series to all-new heights in Honkai: Star Rail by being literally out of this world.
If it wasn't already obvious from its title, for this game we’re going to space! On a train!
"To venture towards the stellaris is a classic theme of the Sci-Fi genre. Honkai: Star Rail tells a story of an adventure through the galaxy and travels to unknown stars," HoYoverse said.
Using the Astral Express, players will travel to "magnificent new worlds and make new interesting companions, work together to solve disputes revolving around the Stellaron", and "depart on new adventures deep into the galaxy", said HoYoverse.
Honkai: Star Rail also marks the beginning of a new series that HoyoVerse will develop, so the story is wholly independent from the other titles in the Honkai franchise.
The game will allow all players — both Honkai veterans and newcomers to the series alike — to enjoy this galactic adventure, giving a sense of wonder at the new story unfolding, as well as nostalgia when reuniting with "old friends".
Being the beginning of a new series also means that Honkai: Star Rail will incorporate a different style of gameplay than the standard that veteran Honkai players are familiar with.
For this title, HoYoverse will incorporate a turn-based mechanic for the first time.
The turn-based mechanic is a tried and true formula that the developer hopes will both appeal to the casual player base and provide expert players more areas to strategize with their battles.
However, HoyoVerse hopes to add a different spin to the turn-based mechanic while maintaining its core elements, with the hopes that this will let players enjoy the journey "across the galaxy".
“As one of the most classic game genres, turn-based games are not only very friendly to the casual gamers, but also provide space for expert players who prefer to strategize," said HoYoverse.
"Therefore, while retaining the core of turn-based strategy gameplay, we hope to add more different gameplay and elements, and at the same time organically integrate with the worldview and narrative of Honkai: Star Rail to create a special journey for players.”
As a Honkai Impact 3rd player, I’m excited to see where this new foray into the Honkai universe will take me.
Of course, I’ll miss my Valkyries along the way, but I also can’t wait to meet the new friends that Honkai: Star Rail has in store.
But while I admit that I'm not yet ready to leave my position as Captain in Honkai Impact 3rd behind, I already have my ticket ready for the Astral Express in Honkai: Star Rail.
Honkai: Star Rail is now in its second closed beta phase. HoYoverse has yet to announce a release date for the game.
Yan Ku is a full-time dog parent, part-time (gacha) gamer, and part-time writer.