Zenless Zone Zero's launch roster won't quite match the numbers of Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail, but its producer says the team is going for 'quality not quantity'

A quartet of posing Zenless Zone Zero proxies.
(Image credit: HoYoVerse)

Those who are well-versed with miHoYo's library of games may have noticed that Zenless Zone Zero's base roster is looking a touch anaemic in comparison to what Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail launched with. The action-RPG is launching with 15 agents, which isn't a low number by any means, but it is notably less than Genshin's 22 characters and Honkai: Star Rail's 23.

It's pretty normal for these games to trickle in new characters every few weeks, giving us regular opportunities to open our wallets and pray to RNGesus for our new favourites. That will no doubt be happening with Zenless Zone Zero, but it's still surprising to see less than 20 characters making their way to New Eridu at launch.

Despite the game looking a little shorter in the waifu and husbando department, it doesn't seem to concern producer Li Zhenyu too much. I had the opportunity to speak with him during a recent roundtable interview, where he said the team was opting for "quality over quantity" when it comes to the game's characters, adding "We are trying to make [the combat] as original as possible."

Despite that, it sounds like there are already a number of characters being worked on to be thrown to the gacha gods soon after Zenless Zone Zero's launch, with the team "working on refinements to make the movement more delicate" for the ones currently in development. It makes sense that the team wants every little movement and action to feel the best it can for this game—the parry-heavy action combat lends itself to fluidity and precise inputs, and that kinda thing quickly falls apart the moment it starts to feel a little clunky. 

Zenless Zone Zero characters hanging out in parking lot looking at camera

(Image credit: MiHoYo)

To be fair to miHoYo, I would prefer a smaller gang of well-rounded agents to pull from initially rather than a dizzying array of underbaked characters. Having a ton of different anime people to fawn over is ultimately the developer's moneymaker though, something I'm sure Li is aware of. He clarified that while Zenless Zone Zero's roster is lagging behind right now, that won't be the case forever, saying that "the quantity will match Genshin and Star Rail."

When that'll happen is unknown, and it'll have a lot of catching up to do to reach that point—Genshin's had nearly four years to rack up 87 playable characters, while Honkai has managed to cook up a whopping 52-character cast since it launched last April. I have a feeling the process may be a little longer and tougher when it comes to new agents in Zenless Zone Zero—I reckon it's easier to whip up characters for a turn-based deal like Honkai: Star Rail, while Genshin's combat isn't as reliant on tight movement as Zenless Zone Zero appears to be. 

Thankfully I'm already loving a lot of the folk in the base roster—Lycaon and Rina already have my whole heart, and I can see myself getting way too attached to the likes of Nicole and Grace too. It makes me even more excited to see what'll be coming post-launch. I just hope we don't have to wait too long for the fine-tuning to happen.

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.