Zenless Zone Zero's producer has spent an ungodly amount of time playing Street Fighter 6, which makes the whisperings of a collaboration even more understandable

Zenless Zone Zero — three of the game's characters lounging in (and on) a car between missions.
(Image credit: HoYoVerse)

Taking a peek at screenshots of New Eridu—Zenless Zone Zero's main hub—I couldn't help but get some mild Street Fighter 6 Metro City vibes. Turns out they aren't totally misplaced, as producer Zhenyu Li is a huge fan of the fighting game and has put a lotta hours into playing it. Considering the two games seem set to collaborate with each other, it makes even more sense that Street Fighter 6 has served as an inspiration for Li during Zenless Zone Zero's development.

I was able to chat with Li during a roundtable interview recently, where he shared some insight into how Street Fighter's combat helped shape miHoYo's upcoming action RPG. Speaking through a translator, Li called himself a "loyal player" of Street Fighter 6, admitting he'd racked up thousands of hours across the series. Listen, as someone who also suffers from severe fighting game brain rot, I get it. Those things are time-suckers.

All those hours of quarter-circles and dragon punches are inevitably going to worm their way into your creative work, with Li saying he learned several lessons from his time playing Street Fighter 6. One of the biggest things that he carried over to Zenless Zone Zero, he says, is the weightiness and feedback of every hit, and "how every punch feels like it's on your own flesh." He also briefly touched on how each move feels different based on the frame data—like moves with more startup frames having longer windup animations compared to short, snappy jabs which have less frames. "[We] tried [our] best to make all the animations different [frames]," Li said.

Zenless Zone Zero -

(Image credit: HoYoverse)

That's not the only takeaway he's had from Street Fighter, either. Li also discussed how Street Fighter 6 specifically handles its approach to genre veterans compared to newcomers. Fighting games have traditionally been notoriously difficult to get into in a serious capacity, but newer iterations like Street Fighter 6 and Tekken 8 have tried to bridge that gap with easier input options and more digestible tutorials. It's another aspect that Li has paid attention to, trying to implement it into his own work. 

"For some players who are not really familiar with action games, it's not because they're not into action, it's more because they might need some time, maybe a slightly longer learning curve," Li said. "So this is something [I] also learned from Street Fighter."

While Li doesn't specifically discuss whether the Street Fighter 6's visuals lent a hand in shaping some of Zenless Zone Zero's urban vibes, I'm certainly theorising some inspiration is there considering how much impact other aspects of the game has had. I'm hoping that will become even more apparent once the Zenless Zone Zero x Street Fighter 6 creators roundtable happens on June 29.

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.