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Too easy? Zenless Zone Zero producer defends 'simple' combat in Hoyoverse's new action game

Too easy? Zenless Zone Zero producer defends 'simple' combat in Hoyoverse's new action game
Li Zhenyu, producer of HoYoverse's newest game, Zenless Zone Zero, shares with the media his thoughts on game difficulty and how this new game will appeal to hardcore and casual gamers alike.
PHOTO: HoYoverse

Easy to learn, hard to master — that's what Zenless Zone Zero (ZZZ)'s producer is hoping to achieve with Hoyoverse's upcoming action game.

A game can have simple gameplay but still be fun to play and engaging, said ZZZ producer Li Zhenyu in an interview with international media on June 18.

"The fun that players can derive from a game is not entirely dependent on the complexity of the game and its mechanics," Zhenyu explained.

"You won't find Mario boring just because all you get to press is 'jump' and 'run'," he added.

Zenless Zone Zero, slated for release on July 4, is an action game that features fast-paced combat and combos packaged neatly with an anime art style and an urban fantasy world.

But not everyone is on board with ZZZ's simple combat system, it appears. 

Based on impressions from earlier closed beta test periods, some have come to the conclusion that the game has "trivially easy combat that lasts mere seconds", or that the "execution of gameplay for every team feels very similar".

Defending his game, Zhenyu explained: "ZZZ is a product that we don't want to complicate from the get-go in terms of combat design, but it is able to retain the core characteristics that make up an action game that everyone loves.

"We want more people to enjoy the game," he said.

Break them down, build them up

Players may stop playing an action game if they find the gameplay too difficult, and miss out on what it can truly offer, the producer said.

But if the gameplay is easy, it doesn't mean that players won't stop playing a game either, Zhenyu explained.

Instead of creating a game that's just simple, ZZZ takes a gradual approach to building up its players' skills and enjoyment of the game.

Because ZZZ may be their first foray into action games, players will gain a sense of accomplishment as they learn to play the game, Zhenyu said.

"As long as players are able to adequately master the underlying rules of combat, we can slowly raise both the depth and difficulty of the game," he added. "I can promise that ZZZ will eventually become a very difficult game."


The community of players who have tried playing the game during closed beta tests have also gotten a taste of that difficulty, too. On Reddit, a netizen has even compiled a list to guide players on how to chain attacks together to optimise gameplay at a very high level.

"Combat will get much harder than what you have seen on Twitch… and it may continue to get harder and harder content as the game develops," the Redditor commented.

With Zhenyu himself taking inspiration from games like Street Fighter, Devil May Cry and Yakuza, combat is expected to get tough where it matters, but still look and feel fun.

"I hope ZZZ can show players that the action game genre is both extremely charming and fun," Zhenyu said.

Zenless Zone Zero will launch on July 4, 2024 at 10am for iOS, Android, PC and PlayStation 5.


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