What we can expect in Genshin Impact 4.0
We’re only one version update away from 4.0 and the new region Fontaine in Genshin Impact. Much information has been revealed since we now have a clearer picture of the area. Though we’re only given small snippets, they show many exciting things about the city.
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Separation of the Citizens
The teaser from the 3.8 livestream shows two drastically different city areas. One was pristine and clean, with the citizens obviously being middle to upper-class. They had trendy dresses and were looking at storefronts. Overall, the ‘upper’ city has the atmosphere that there’s nothing wrong in Fontaine, and everything is well. It has the air of the wealthy not being able to understand or see the struggles of the lower classes.
There’s also the ignorance of what’s happening for them to enjoy these luxuries. Then there’s the sewers, the ‘lower’ city. It’s in the city’s canals and sewage system, meaning the people live in squalor. The people living there obviously have lower-quality clothes, which are very different from those in the upper class.
It’s reminiscent of other segregated cities, such as Zaun and Pilover in Arcane or even Belobog in Honkai: Star Rail. One is clean and pristine, while the other is a seedy underbelly. It’s worth noting that the teaser showed more of the nice sides of Fontaine, with only a glimpse of the sewers. There could be more industrialization and pollution (as mentioned by other NPCs) that weren’t shown.
If you’ve found the painter in the Hills of Barsom in the Realm of Farakhkert, he mentions living in a metal box. (Spoilers for the world quest) he gained a mysterious power from ‘Caterpillar’ that lets him precisely replicate anything he sees as it is, except for his colorblindness. The latter kept him from being a famous painter, but he could make convincing counterfeits. That last part could’ve landed him a guilty verdict in the Court and segregated him to live apart from the rest of Fontaine.
The 3.8 livestream showed a Melusine from Fontaine as Alice narrated what she’s like. They’re diligent and have a strong sense of justice as a race, which lets them be excellent police and law enforcement. The specific one in the teaser has pink and white ‘fur,’ two pointed horn-like ears, wing-like appendages on her back, and a tufted tail. She’s also wearing a blue uniform speculated to be for the police.
The Melusine may be the Aranara counterpart of Fontaine. However, we won’t be sure until the region’s release.
Oceanids used to be this. They served the former Hydro Archon until they rebelled against the current one and fled Fontaine in self-imposed exile. They’ve scattered across Teyvat, the main one being Rhodea of Loch, who is now in Liyue. Other sightings/mentioned Lochfolk are:
- The Spring Fairy in Springvale, Mondstadt
- Several who helped create the Amrita Pool in Vourukasha Oasis, Sumeru
- Endora, a small Lochfolk the Traveler helped during the Wishful Drops event and is now accompanying them
- Urania, the Hateful Oceanid from the Legend of the Vagabond Sword event (located in Liyue)
- Possibly Caterpillar, the mysterious being who bestowed a replication ability on Julien
The current Hydro Archon, Focalors, might’ve created the Melusine to replace the Lochfolk. Otherwise, they could be Fontaine natives analogous to adepti in Liyue or yokai in Inazuma.
They’re based on European folklore. In the real world, they’re female spirits of rivers and lakes, usually depicted with a fish or serpentine tail. Sometimes artists interpret them as having two snake tails or even wings. It fits with the water-themed Fontaine.
Folklore isn’t too specific about their function aside from being freshwater spirits. Stories about them usually involve marrying a mortal and providing blessings for as long as a condition is upheld. One way or another, the human goes against that promise, and the Melusine disappears or flees.
From the various Fontaine-native NPCs we’ve met, we can infer that it is technologically advanced. It’s not that obvious in the teaser, but we see two things that corroborate this. One is the automaton walking on the street (visible only for a split second), and the other is the boat transportation shown.
The robot is a given since we already see various mechanical stuff from Fontaine. The Kamera is mentioned to be invented in the region. Also, Felix Yogue’s Evermotion Mechanical Paintings and Bertrand’s toys are good examples of mechanical creations. Lastly, a building in the teaser could be a charging station for the automaton.
The boat transport has no sail, so an engine must propel it. In that scene, bigger ships are also seen in deeper waters under the elevated waterway. These also seem engine-powered, as they don’t have sails. The Alcor has sails, propellers, and oars, but it needs to be clarified if an engine or human power turns the middle mechanism.
Fontaine NPCs have mentioned the Fontaine Research Institute (of Kinetic Energy Engineering). It’s a scholarly body similar to the Akademiya with one glaring difference: it does not govern the citizens. The Court has that honor. The FRI is primarily for research and development, though a catastrophic experiment has blasted a hole in its structure.
As for the steampunk themes, it’s more evident in the sewer areas, though the surface presents another side to the aesthetic. There might be a heavily industrialized location in Fontaine that will show it in all its glory.
We get to see the thing that everybody likely looked forward to the most: the diving feature. It seems seamless as Aether (the Traveler in the teaser) dives into the water and stays underwater. Sharp eyes notice a glowing orb near him, which is speculated to be Hydrograna.
While we could climb and glide off-shore, being underwater is a new exploration dimension. It allows for proper 3D movement. You can swim deeper underwater or toward the surface and move backward, forward, or strafe to the sides.
Even Wanderer can’t provide that, as his Elemental Skill lacks the ability to go down. He can only do so when his gauge runs out. Kazuha is limited by his E’s cooldown times, and Xiao needs to activate his Burst. If these Anemo characters can’t provide it, what more are the other element characters, who are ground-bound?
It’s unknown whether the game will use a breathing system. It’s also possible that the speculated Hydrograna will assist the player with that. There’s limited underwater combat, as Aether is seen releasing water slashes or producing shields for protection. The slicing movement can also be used to solve puzzles, as the Traveler is shown doing it to unlock a chest.
Aside from the Hydrograna, it could be a requirement to have the Traveler be in their Hydro attunement to dive underwater. This would make the feature specific to them, unfortunately. There’s still hope, though, that other characters can be used. Many players want to see Kokomi in her natural habitat.
New wildlife can also be seen, from red crabs to the seal-looking thing that swims toward the camera. More than those are some mimic-like creatures and hostile stingrays.
This feature was hinted at by an NPC in Port Ormos, who mentions a ‘diving license.’ However, we need to know precisely the scope and breadth of the underwater areas. Will it be like the underground locations in Sumeru, which are rather extensive? Or are they smaller pockets filled with treasure? There’s also the possibility that some underground areas can only be accessed through diving.
There are always new characters during the release of a new region. So far, the only confirmed characters are:
- Lyney (Travail Trailer)
- Lynette (Travail Trailer)
- Charlotte (version 3.7 character with a Fontaine Cryo Vision)
- The Hydro Archon
What needs to be confirmed is when their release is. One questionable leak says Lyney is possibly the featured character in 4.0, ala Ayaka in 2.0. The similarity is that they were featured characters in the Travail trailer and were released in the version their region premiers in.
Diluc was the featured character in Mondstadt, but he’s obtainable through the standard banner. Ningguang is the one for Liyue, but she’s a 4-star. Ayaka fits the pattern, but Cyno, the character for Sumeru, was made available in 3.1 instead. According to leaks, Lynette is a 4-star, making Lyney the 5-star of the pair. We can only wait for confirmation (it’s only a little more than six weeks away!). Drip marketing might appear when 3.8 comes out, too.
Various characters have also been leaked, but they are subject to change since no official announcements about them exist. Take the following information with a grain of salt.
- Clorinde (nicknamed Captain R, 5-star)
- Neuvillette (5-star, might be a Hydro Catalyst)
- Wriothesley (5-star, possibly Cyro Polearm)
- Waghild (5-star)
- An unnamed character nicknamed ‘Lion Dance Boy’ (4-star)
- A girl who looks like a mummy (4-star)
- Sertice (4-star)
- A prisoner-looking girl (4-star)
- Arlecchino (5-star Fatui Harbinger)
They are also not all from Fontaine. However, they will likely be released during the 4.x cycle of the game. The Lion Dance Boy is obviously from Liyue, though the leak says he’ll be released during the Lantern Rite Festival in 2024. Obviously, Arlecchino, as a Fatui Harbinger, is from Snezhnaya.
Coming from the recent success of the Sumeru Archon Quests, here’s to hoping the HYV continues that trend in Fontaine. While it’s unlikely that the Hydro Archon has information about the sibling, if the region has exciting enough problems, it can match the approval of Sumeru.
The diving feature looks cool but can’t carry the players’ excitement level if the quests prove tiresome. It also goes the same for great music and environments. Hopefully, diving doesn’t become a second underground exploration, which became old too fast in Sumeru.
The hype may be real, but you can achieve a calm acceptance through careful expectation management no matter how the release goes. Still, having everything other than the quests be excellent would be disappointing.
There’s more than a week to go until version 3.8, and then six weeks after for 4.0. That’s close, but we can continue enjoying Genshin Impact while waiting.