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HoYoverse rickrolls players with lore book in Honkai Star Rail

You got us this time
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HoYoverse is currently running a final closed beta of Honkai Star Rail, its new turn-based RPG, which left us with a very good first impression. Standing out from many of the positive aspects the game has to offer is its humor – it’s very tongue-in-cheek in a lot of ways.

It also references HoYoverse’s flagship title, Genshin Impact, a bunch of times, perhaps hoping to interest players of the action RPG in their newest offering as well. However, the studio also uses this cross-promotion aspect to troll players in the most classic of ways: by rickrolling them.

You can find lots of books, letters, and notes in Honkai Star Rail that detail some of the lore and contribute to world building. One of these works, “Masked Fools – Elation”, immediately stood out to Genshin Impact players as a possible reference to one that game’s antagonist factions, the Fatui. We have a big lore explainer on the Fatui Harbingers you can read, but to give a very short explanation: The characters are based on an old Italian form of comedic theater called commedia dell’arte, in which the actors would don masks, hence become “Masked Fools”.

Having their curiosity peaked, players naturally had a look into the book and faced a surprising introduction: “Even an organization like the Masked Fools sing praises of their Aeon. The Aeon will never give you up, never let you down, or abandon you. They will never make you cry, say goodbye, or tell a lie and hurt you.” The author, apparently, is a guy called Ast Rickley.

Book from Honkai Star Rail containing a rickroll.

Thank you for the wise words, Ast Rickley.

You got me, HoYoverse, you got me.

On the lore-side of things, the text does indeed turn out to be a vague reference to the Fatui and their worldview, though the book doesn’t exactly contain any huge revelations that might give us a clue about their future role in Genshin Impact. The book describes the “stars operating like machinery” – a hint that the sky of Teyvat in Genshin Impact may indeed be artificial.

While it has been heavily theorized by the community that Genshin Impact’s world may actually be a bubble universe inside the Honkai universe, it seems now more likely that we’re faced by a more common multiverse scenario, when it comes to HoYoverse’s franchises. Some characters and organizations are clearly very similar to each other, but have no direct connection.