More game studios are actively discussing and considering the implications of new AI technologies in development, and Honkai: Star Rail developer miHoYo is one of them.
The fourth entry in the Honkai series, released last week for PC and mobile, brings gacha and other systems known from its previous open-world hit Genshin Impact into a classic RPG format with familiar nods to before Honkai Games.
And like Genshin Impact, Honkai: Star Rail is a massive game that aims to continue to grow over time. It’s being created by a development team of over 500 people, but even with so many on board given its size, it’s not surprising that the developers used at least a few AI techniques to brush up on certain otherwise handcrafted design elements.
“Our team pays a lot of attention to AI, especially its impact on the gaming industry,” said Honkai: Star Rail’s development team when asked by IGN about advancements in AI technology. “In fact, we’ve already incorporated some of the latest AI technologies into Honkai: Star Rail. These techniques have been implemented to enhance characters’ facial features and behavior patterns, enhancing the immersive gaming experience with an overall more natural representation.”
That said, there are some areas of Honkai: Star Rail that miHoYo feels the AI isn’t necessarily ready to touch just yet, although it may be in the future. Content scripting in particular – you won’t find any AI writing in Honkai: Star Rail, especially given how story-driven the game is. Still, miHoYo says it finds a deeper AI use for scripting “definitely intriguing.”
“We also found that the current application of AI is still limited. It’s more of a “cherry on the top” technique to complement what we already had, rather than solving problems fundamentally from scratch. We focus on those [repercussions] and developing AI to find a more robust implementation in the future.”
What’s next for Honkai: Star Rail
In the same interview, we also asked about upcoming content plans for Honkai: Star Rail. MiHoYo didn’t offer too many new specific details, noting that future plans would be revealed once the studio was complete. But it confirmed that Honkai: Star Rail is a long-term game with an “eternal plan and goal” that, like Genshin Impact, will have future special programs to announce major updates and introduce new content in the game.
We also learned that while Honkai: Star Rail features a handful of familiar faces from previous Honkai games and is a spiritual continuation of this series, other crossovers like with Genshin Impact or other games aren’t off the table. However, MiHoYo says it’s too early to think about it for now. So no Paimon in Honkai: Star Rail… for now.
Finally, when we asked about releases for Xbox and Switch consoles, miHoYo also reiterated that there are no “concrete updates for other platforms.” However, a PlayStation release is still in the works for a yet unannounced date. Notably, Genshin Impact was announced for a Nintendo Switch release but is still missing in action on handheld over two years after its initial release for PC, PlayStation and mobile.
We’ve kept tabs on Honkai: Star Rail since its release, including its fans’ inexplicable fondness for a particular trash can. If you’re working through Honkai: Star Rail yourself, our wiki guides are here to help.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.