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miHoYo producer talks about the behind-the-scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

Game Grape 2024/06/24 21:32

ranslated by Wang Dan & Repaired

Approaching the global public beta on July 4, Li Zhenyu, the producer of "Zenless Zone Zero" (hereinafter referred to as ZZZ), recently accepted an interview with a number of foreign media.

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

Li Zhenyu

Judging from foreign media information, this time Li Zhenyu took ZZZ from beginning to end from project approval to research and development to the future. He recalled his original intention of proposing ZZZ and wanting to let pan-users enjoy action games; explained that a large part of ZZZ's design inspiration actually comes from "Street Fighter", "Digimon World", and the works of Vanillaware; We talked about the parts of ZZZ that need to be tweaked and improved, such as the slightly controversial hollow exploration gameplay in the previous test.

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

Hollow exploration, the more squares you walk, the greater the player's stress value, and some squares will provide buffs

In addition to introducing the game project establishment and R&D ideas, Li Zhenyu also talked about pressure - the great success of "Genshin Impact" and "Honkai: Star Dome Railway" in the past, plus the big difference between ZZZ and miHoYo's previous products, he naturally felt pressure; Some foreign media also pointed out that there are a large number of Gacha (gacha) games on the market, and the launch of ZZZ may face more severe market competition.

However, Li Zhenyu said that he did not think too much about category competition and track crowding, because in his opinion, as long as the game is fun and interesting enough, it doesn't matter which genre it belongs to, and whether there are many competitors in this genre.

Moreover, the pressure brought by "Genshin Impact" and "Honkai: Star Dome Railway" is also a motivation for him to force himself to "do better".

The following is the content of the integrated foreign media interview (there is a link to the foreign media interview at the end of the article):


Complexity ≠ Fun:

Pan-users should also enjoy action games

Li Zhenyu said that the reason why he proposed ZZZ is because he loves action games.

He is very fond of games such as the Black Souls trilogy, the Devil May Cry series, and the Monster Hunter series. According to foreign media descriptions, Li Zhenyu showed great enthusiasm when talking about "Devil May Cry", "Bayonetta", "Hades", "CS", "Overwatch", "Street Fighter", "Monster Hunter" and Hidetaka Miyazaki's works, and he had the posture of "being able to talk for several days".

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

It's just that when he set up ZZZ, Li Zhenyu did not continue the hardcore characteristics of the above games - he realized that many action games have quite high challenges and entry thresholds, but he hopes that the products he makes can allow more pan-users to experience the fun of action games:

"In my opinion, complexity doesn't equate to fun. For example, just because Super Mario has a simple run or jump doesn't mean it's not fun," he adds, "I remember a quote from Nintendo that resonated with me, to the effect that using fewer [buttons/actions] to make the player more happy." So even if the game is not too complicated, it can provide a great experience for the player. ”

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

To achieve this goal, it is not enough to simply reduce the difficulty of the game.

On the one hand, the team needed to ensure that action games should have the striking experience. Regarding this, Li Zhenyu mentioned to many foreign media the influence of "Street Fighter" on him - Li Zhenyu has played "Street Fighter" for more than 2,000 hours, and the game's design in combos, duels, frame animations, etc., also provided some inspiration for the design of ZZZ.

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

For example, combos are one of the core operations in fighting games, while in ZZZ, players need to combine the abilities of different characters to deal maximum damage through combos and QTEs.

For another example, the ZZZ team learned and optimized the motion feedback design in "Street Fighter", so that the character "feels like every punch is hitting the flesh", and even in the character's animation movements (especially the ultimate animation), it is necessary to cut and change frame by frame, and strive to make the punch to the flesh. Li Zhenyu explained, "The player's experience can be measured in frames. (the feelings can be measured in a frame.)”

On the other hand, the ZZZ team tried to make the learning curve of action games smoother.

Lee said that Street Fighter taught him the difference between "hardcore action games" and "action games designed for beginners": "Some players don't play action games often and are not familiar with them, not because they really don't like the genre, but because it usually takes longer and more effort to learn these kinds of games. What I've learned in Street Fighter is that it's important to provide the right tutorial in the right reality. So, in ZZZ, we didn't stuff everything to the player at the beginning, but provided different tutorials and different action instructions at different points in time. ”

In ZZZ's flow, the game will first teach the player how to attack, and then slowly introduce defense mechanics such as dodging and parrying...... Li Zhenyu explained that the purpose of ZZZ's learning curve design is not to show players too difficult content until they are familiar with and firmly grasp the action mechanics they are learning.

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

It may be that for veteran action game veterans, ZZZ is not challenging enough to play in the early days; But in other words, ZZZ is also easier for pan-users and new players to get started.

Of course, it's not that ZZZ doesn't care about action veterans at all - at the moment, the game offers players both easy and difficult modes. Veterans can choose Hardmode directly; Newbies can also try it, as "there is no penalty if you fail in Hardmode." ”

In order to make an action game that "can be easily used by pan-users" in his heart, Li Zhenyu did not only look at the other party's work ability when forming a team and interviewing new members, but also to examine their recognition and love for the direction of ZZZ:

"When interviewing new members, I need to find out if they really like and are willing to push ZZZ, not just looking for a job." Because "only if you also like the game, you have the ability to make something that players will love." (you can only produce something that the players will like if you like it too.)”

He recalls that when the ZZZ project first started in 2020, the team consisted of only 12 people, which later grew to 60 and now exceeds 400 people.

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one


It's not like miHoYo's previous products

However, tracing back to the establishment of ZZZ, some foreign media raised questions about category competition to Li Zhenyu: There are so many Gacha (gacha) games on the market now, why did you decide to make a gacha game in the first place?

Li Zhenyu said that when they first set up the project, they did not think too much about the competition in the category and vertical market:

"When we started making ZZZ early on, we didn't know if the market would be saturated. My focus is on making a game that is fun and playful, and then letting the players choose to try it out for themselves. I think that's enough, the type of game doesn't matter. As long as the product I'm making is fun enough, no matter what genre it is – as long as it's a fun game, that's fine. ”

At the same time, Li Zhenyu emphasized: "When I designed ZZZ, I didn't expect it to be an inspiration for other practitioners – I just tried my best to make a product with a unique design." ”

Compared with other gacha games in the past, ZZZ's gameplay experience is indeed somewhat unique.

First of all, ZZZ's combat system is more focused on teamwork.

Using role switching as an example, Lee Jin Woo explained: "In Genshin Impact, if you switch roles, the new character will appear where the previous character disappeared. However, in ZZZ, in order to emphasize the cooperation between the characters, the new character after the player switches may appear in another place that is more convenient for attacking and continue the battle...... When it comes to the combat system, we're focused on creating that sense of teamwork. ”

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

Secondly, ZZZ is more focused on presenting the urban life of ordinary people, and is not in a hurry for players to save the world.

In many games, players take on the role of a great savior, a hero destined to change everything. In ZZZ, although most of the main city of New Erido has been invaded by the Void of Super Natural Disasters, many people (NPCs) living in New Eridu are living a comfortable life and can coexist peacefully with the Hollow.

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

They ask the player (the protagonist) to entrust the task, and it is often to solve some troubles in life. For example, if you lose your delivery, you need to find someone to play the latest arcade game together, etc......

Moreover, unlike "Genshin Impact", many of the NPCs that players (protagonists) encounter in ZZZ are not well-known heroes and warriors, they are really just ordinary people. "When making ZZZ, we deliberately avoided emphasizing any core values and instead chose to show a group of 'ordinary' people who are struggling in the post-apocalyptic era," Lee said. It's not like other post-apocalyptic worlds full of heavy themes, questions of right and wrong. Here, no one needs to try to save the world. To put it simply, we hope to explore the value of 'ordinary' people through these urban stories. ”

"It will be closer to the lives of ordinary people," he added. "If ZZZ just keeps players in the hollow and fighting, and doesn't do anything other than fighting, then players will get bored. So, outside the hollow, in New Eridu, we want players to experience a different kind of urban life. ”

"This point (and other products of miHoYo in the past) will be different. As you can see, a large part of ZZZ's content revolves around urban life. In Honkai: Star Railway, players must engage in combat to complete missions; But in ZZZ, your daily tasks might include going for a coffee in the morning or going to some event in town. ”

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

Finally, in terms of urban design, ZZZ doesn't just want to make the city seem real, but also wants to make it seem popular and pyrotechnic.

In fact, when designing the new Eridu, Li Zhenyu incorporated a lot of nostalgic scenes from his own childhood memories, which also explains why many places in ZZZ are easy to associate with reality: "The nostalgic and retro elements of the new Erido are closely related to my own childhood memories. For example, when I was a kid, I would play with friends in arcades, discuss movies in VHS stores, or share music in CD stores. In the past, these stores may be difficult to find now, so I wanted to make retro elements such as arcades and old radios into the game, and share these joyful and growing experiences with today's players. ”

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

In addition to mapping reality and enhancing the city's realism, the ZZZ team also pays great attention to the vitality of the city: "It's more like a lived-in city than a real city. ”

For this reason, they don't want to just do something that players are familiar with, but want to update the city with something that players have not seen before, and integrate elements of different cultures and eras to reflect the changing development of the city. For example, they will open a new area in the game, Lumina Square, which will be a bustling business district with many bizarre shops, restaurants, and one of which will be a hot pot restaurant.

At the same time, in terms of making the city come alive, Li Zhenyu has also been influenced and inspired by some other games:

He mentioned that the inspiration for ZZZ's time mechanic (a specific event occurs at a specific time) came from the Digimon World he played in his childhood;

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

"Digimon World", source network

In addition, the games of the Vanilla Society, especially "Masamura: The Legend of the Demon Blade" and "Odin Domain", made Li Zhenyu realize the importance of picking out details: "Some players have noticed the careful thinking we put into the game, such as the art details of New Eridu or other regions, as well as the details of the action feedback. ”

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

Details such as graffiti, posters, and advertisements in the streets and alleys of ZZZ

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

"Hazy Village Zheng: The Legend of the Demon Knife", source network

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

"Odin Field", source network


Auto-battle is in consideration, and multiplayer gameplay is in development

ZZZ has experienced many trade-offs in the research and development process.

Li Zhenyu said that the team had considered making the battle squad of 4 or 2 people, but due to the complexity of the characters' combat movements, if they were made into a 4-person squad, the battle scene would become very chaotic. As for the 2-player squad, it may be added as a new mode in the future.

In addition, when ZZZ first designed its characters, the first consideration was aesthetic style. However, as the development progressed, the planning team and the art team responsible for the character gameplay began to work closely together, and the creation of new characters needed to be completed by both parties.

Because Lee Jin-woo demanded that all of his characters must conform to his design vision of fast-paced, stylized combat – to find joy in simplicity. Therefore, in addition to being visually appealing, the character must also have a set of matching mechanics and abilities around a specific design concept.

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

For example, the current lack of healing characters in ZZZ is because the team needs more time to integrate the visuals and combat mechanics of the healing characters with the high-speed and refreshing combat rhythm of the game.

"We didn't mean not to do a therapy role." Lee Jin-woo said, "I just haven't found the right appearance image and fighting style yet." ”

It is not difficult to see that the ZZZ team is quite insistent on the action design of the game. "Genshin Impact has epic visuals with a lot of special effects around the characters, but we're actually trying to avoid that," Lee said. Because for an action game, we need the graphics to be clean enough so that the player can see the character movements and combat situations more clearly.

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

Because of this, ZZZ's character design costs are relatively high, and the number of characters starting in the open beta will be less than that of Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail - the game currently showcases 15 characters, while Genshin Impact and Star Track had more than 20 characters in the open beta.

"We are looking for quality rather than quantity. "The team is constantly tweaking the combat and animations to make the characters' movements more detailed. At the same time, the team is also working to improve and refine the cast of characters so that its final number can match that of Genshin Impact.

Can AI help improve efficiency? Li Zhenyu said that AI does not play much role in ZZZ, but only tries to assist in programming and lubricate the production process to improve development efficiency.

After all, the game's signature and unique art style is the key to distinguishing it from other miHoYo products such as Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Railway, so it will not be generated by AI. Li Zhenyu said that when it comes to art-related content, such as art, music, and dubbing, the team wants to create something from their own heads.

"I think the human touch is becoming more meaningful these days, and that's something the whole team believes."

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

Of course, the ZZZ is not so perfect. The first few tests revealed a number of problems.

For example, in the previous tests, many players were not very happy with the empty exploration (meat pigeon mode). Because in this mode, players need to constantly go through the grid, make choices, fight, decrypt and explore, and improve their abilities...... The whole process is long and tedious, and many people just want to fight.

Li Zhenyu agrees: "For me, the first or second time I played Hollow Exploration, it was very interesting and meaningful. But then the next few times I started to feel tired, and I realized that the experience was not ideal. Then I went to sleep and woke up to find it interesting again. So, I found that this model was not fun, but that the team didn't get the pace right. ”

But at the same time, there are some users who find this mode very interesting. This left the team in a quandary. "Who are we supposed to satisfy? If we cater to any one of these groups, the other group has something to lose. And this mode is one of the core selling points of the game. ”

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

In the end, the team researched and found a solution, which was to give players a choice. Let players who just want to fight fight, and let those who like to explore also be satisfied. Lee said his goal is to give players the freedom to choose how they want to play.

Therefore, in the latest three tests, the hollow exploration mode is divided into two missions, one is pure combat, and players can directly enter the battle without any further action; The other is pure exploration, based on grid-based gameplay.

That's why ZZZ Triple Test didn't add anything new. Because the team realized that there were some problems with the product, such as some players had some negative feelings about the "grid walking" in the empty exploration. Therefore, the team's three tests are mainly to optimize the existing content and make the experience curve smoother.

Talking about the future, Li Zhenyu said that ZZZ's multiplayer mode is already under development. However, this mode is not a major part of the game, and is more of a mini-game.

As for the auto-battle that everyone cares about, the team is still thinking about making it, but it hasn't thought about it. "We don't want to take a step in that direction before we can judge what players really want," Lee said. Because we wanted to do something really fun for the players, not just make it easier for them to get off the keyboard. ”


The only way to survive is to do the content correctly,

And make it the best

After "Genshin Impact" and "Honkai: Star Dome Railway", ZZZ is facing a lot of pressure.

One is that this set of gameplay, cultivation and commercialization models will make players feel tired. Players still need to log in every day to complete the daily and weekly routines, and then collect gacha resources in a limited time, and then exchange them for the characters they want; Second, there are two unprecedentedly successful products in front of it, how good can ZZZ achieve in order to meet everyone's expectations?

"The pressure is there, but it's also the motivation of the team. His guiding principle for turning pressure into motivation is simple: "Do better." (Be better.) ”

Moreover, ZZZ is designed to cater to fans of action games, offering fast-paced real-time combat and a unique urban visual style that sets it apart from miHoYo's previous titles.

Game Grape, miHoYo producer talks behind the scenes of "Jeopardy Zero": the most informative one

In today's era when players have so many choices and peers are competing for users' attention, Li Zhenyu believes that it is very important not to ask players for too much time.

"I don't want players to feel like they have to achieve an ultimate goal. We're trying to create something that allows players to come back from a period of time and have fun again and get back into the mood to enjoy the game, rather than just focusing on achieving the ultimate goal or completing the latest mission. ”

For example, similar to the approach used in Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Railway, players can quickly launch events and jump to certain bosses without having to rush through certain preconditions and story quests.

Of course, in addition to this, ZZZ still has to face many challenges, the expectations of players, the expectations of the market, and the expectations of the company, but Li Zhenyu said: "The only way to survive is to make the content right and make it the best."

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