Genshin Impact sets bizarre Elon Musk challenge, then deletes it

Elon Musk pulling a jokey face at the camera.
(Image credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Developer miHoYo regularly sets community challenges on social media for Genshin Impact fans. The drill is usually that the Genshin Impact Twitter account will set milestones, such as gaining a certain number of followers, the community obliges, and there'll be some in-game unlocks or whatever as a prize. It's a pretty standard format these days, but someone at miHoYo had clearly been smoking some fine stuff when they came up with the latest one.

Earlier today Genshin Impact posted a challenge to celebrate the main account reaching two million followers, and centred it around an in-game character called Ella Musk who has her 'own' Twitter account and is obviously named in tribute to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The idea was clearly just to get a load of followers for this NPC's account: so the first 'challenge', for example, was for it to reach 500,000 followers, after which the main Genshin Impact account would be renamed Paimon (Paimon is the player's guide in Genshin, beloved by some while others think she's an 'ear-splitting toddler fairy').

Then things took a bizarre turn.

(Image credit: miHoYo)

The next milestones are one, three, and five million followers, and each has an Elon Musk 'reward' attached to it. That's the actual person Elon Musk, not Ella Musk. At one million Genshin Impact would follow Elon Musk on Twitter; at three million miHoYo would invite him to stream the game; at five million miHoYo CEO Liu Wei would invite Elon Musk to the miHoYo offices.

The community reaction to this was not good, and the challenge was hastily scrubbed from Genshin Impact's history shortly after being posted. To be fair to miHoYo, some of the behaviours it was accused of after posting this challenge seem extreme: this was clearly a badly judged joke, based on little more than word association with an in-game character's name, and there's little more to say about it.

Elon Musk himself doesn't seem too bothered.

Musk does love a good gaming session, reflected in the fact you can play everything from Cuphead to Cyberpunk 2077 in a Tesla, and is a big anime fan too. But even if he is a bit of weeb, he's too busy building a robot army right now for a grindfest like Genshin.


Genshin Impact guide: Beginner tips
Genshin Impact characters: Full tier list
Genshin Impact code: Redeem for free rewards
Genshin Impact build: Best of the bunch

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."