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Update (June 21, 2023): HoYoverse has responded with the following comment about the situation at our request:

“We appreciate and understand people's attention and eagerness to learn more about future updates. However, information leakages and all forms of illegal data theft have caused serious harm to our developers and have spoiled the in-game experience for players who would like to see the new content for themselves. We will continue to work with security and legal experts around the world, and we will pursue the legal responsibility of these individuals and organizations on a long-term basis.”

Original (June 20, 2023): Despite attempts to quell the amount of Genshin Impact leaks, HoYoverse has not managed to quite shut down the rivers of inside information flowing into the world wide web – and now the company has been hit with what can only be described as a leak tsunami. Dozens of concept pieces depicting past and upcoming characters, skins, locations, and more have somehow found their way into the public eye. It seems very likely that someone from inside the studio’s facilities is responsible for this flood of leaks, but that’s just speculation at this point.

The person who leaked all of this information even left a message to both their fellow information gatherers and HoYoverse: “[...] People will backstab and share things they are not supposed to, people will share things without knowing the true context around them to be the one who did it first. This has gotten way too far [...]. This is to end that, no more looking up to XYZ in hopes of getting a better-quality image. No more of that, as it is almost all here.”

Towards the studio, they wrote: “You are a multimillion company. You could tighten your security. You do not, however. [...] It is ridiculous and I hope that from this you may change this miHoYo/Hoyoverse. And while we are here, you should really release an art book for Genshin to show off concepts that never made it to be. Just like Honkai which you have no issue doing, Genshin should not be an issue at all. Your company is so open to how easy it is to breach so it's just a matter of time before somebody creates their own art book, you should try and get a profit at least.”

Now, if you want to go into the future completely blind, you should not read any further and best keep away from many Genshin Impact-related places over the next couple of weeks, because there is bound to be discussion about what has leaked there. We won’t go into any great detail or show any of the material, but let this be your final warning regardless.

Warning: Mild spoilers ahead!

With leaks like these it’s always difficult to ascertain which pieces of art are final or have long been thrown out, but it’s certainly interesting to get a glimpse behind the scenes. There is the mysterious character nicknamed Captain R, for example, who has long been known to anyone following Genshin Impact leaks. She’s a badass looking lady with a cool hat, a coat, and a real swashbuckling vibe. Even before this big leak, several versions of her design had been known – now we have no fewer than 16 variations of her and no idea if any of them will make it into the game.

There is also Arlecchino, one of the Fatui Harbingers, who is said to show up in the next story arc taking place in Fontaine. A big debate is revolving around the question of her becoming a playable character or not or perhaps even dying over the course of the story. There have been leaks in all of these directions and we still have no idea which one is true – but we do have the incredibly cool looking character design for her now.

One thing that can probably be said for sure is that Fontaine won’t lack any of the memorable character designs the other regions have – it’s perhaps best described as a mixture of styles taking inspiration from Revolutionary France, Victorian England, and Goth subculture. Lots of amazing hats and coats are present. The design of Arlecchino we know about certainly fits perfectly into this vibe.

There are also indications that HoYoverse is working on adding another male character model into the game – a big, buff, and burly body type.

Finally, the leaks allow us a rare look into the inspirations behind some of the designs. Recent release Baizhu, for example, was partly inspired by Dota 2’s Medusa, who has a similar snake attack as him.

Genshin Impact Baizhu and Changsheng.

Baizhu's attack using his pet snake, Changsheng, was inspired by Dota 2's Medusa.

Other reference points for various designs include The Godfather, Overlord, The Three Musketeers, the military uniforms of European powers from the Napoleonic age (specifically the British redcoats and the Prussian death’s head hussars), and a penguin – yes, the cute animal, not the comic book character.

While this is certainly a big blow for HoYoverse and this leak surely contains a lot of information the studio does not want to be out there, it could be worse – there are no story spoilers. Sure, some surprises in regards to characters and what Fontaine looks like might have been ruined, but no one’s forced to look up the leaks. Perhaps this will even have a positive effect in generating further interest in the 4.0 update over the summer as findings are discussed. We aren't all the much wiser despite the leaks.

For official information on what's coming up in Genshin Impact, check out the newest developer update.