In a break from HoYoverse tradition, Zenless Zone Zero doesn't aim to punish you for taking breaks

3 weeks ago 40

ZZZ's producer likes being able to walk away from a game for a while, and thinks you should be allowed to as well.

A HDD TV board, one of the zone exploration board types available in Zenless Zone Zero. Stylised as a bank of surveillance TV sets, a variety of screens indicate that a particular area contains certain activities, boons, or challenges. Image credit: HoYoverse

Like most live service titles, the gacha RPGs created by HoYoverse tend to run on FOMO. They encourage players to log in every single day by offering little daily rewards that can add up substantially over time, but also by putting out regular time-limited content that becomes unavailable forever if the player doesn't make sure to get around to a certain questline or event before it expires.

However, Zenless Zone Zero producer Zhenyu Li has a "special design" in place to reduce the grindiness that can make playing every day feel more like a chore than a hobby you're meant to be doing for fun. "Our game revolves around urban living in contrast to, for example, Honkai: Star Rail where the players will have to do core combat," Li said when referring to daily quests in the different HoYoverse games, in an interview conducted via translator.

"But our product is focused on urban living, for example, you can have a coffee in the morning or do some urban related activities and you can complete the daily 'grinding'." In other words, daily login missions in ZZZ are a little bit lighter, and aim to offer a slice of your character's daily life that you might not otherwise get to appreciate, instead of the usual rounds of beating up bad guys for levelling materials.

Even more surprisingly, Li expressed a keen interest in finding ways to engage players who choose to take extended breaks from the game. "When the players feel that they are not into this game any more, they could let go of the product at any time," he explained. "For [me] as a player, [I] would prefer to step away for a little bit and then come back and find out 'Oh my gosh, I have so many new contents to explore' - it's like following a TV series and leaving for a while and then coming back to find out they have several dozen new episodes."

It's not entirely clear how this approach will mesh with HoYoverse's usual business model, but Li seems eager to ensure that as many different kinds of players are catered to as possible, including those who choose to dip in and out of ZZZ as the mood strikes them. "The team will try their best for players who step away for a little bit already and then when they come back, maybe the team will try to get some new ways to let them experience the latest content without finishing some pre-conditioned missions," Li said as one suggestion.

HoYoverse games are notoriously difficult to keep up with sometimes thanks to their regular update schedules, and this is especially good news for players who are trying to follow multiple live service titles at once - Zenless Zone Zero will bring HoYo's offering alone up to five concurrently active games when it launches on July 4.

Continue reading