A new wave of leaks that emerged Wednesday evening has revealed information about the upcoming 3.0 patch, which will bring the Dendro-inspired region of Sumeru to the game. The patch is a ways out — it doesn’t have a release date yet, but the typical release schedule indicates that it could be around Aug. 24. However, fans are already reacting to the new content leaks with criticisms that developers have whitewashed new characters.
Genshin Impact has an a robust leaking community that shares details about updates before they roll out. (For example, the latest set of new characters, Yelan and Kuki Shinobu, were accurately leaked by multiple accounts before they were officially released.) Several characters from this forthcoming 3.0 patch have been leaked, with varying credibility. These include a render of the Dendro archon, Kusanali, who serves as the leader of the new region. Twitter user Sagiri, who leaked the image, said that it “is not the final version.”
Fans have already responded critically to the leaked images, with some saying that the light-skinned models suggest that the designers are whitewashing the characters from this region. Hoyoverse has not confirmed that Sumeru is based on any specific real-world region. Characters in Genshin Impact have described it in-game as a land of scholars that has both deserts and rainforests, so some fans have theorized that it could be based on Middle Eastern and South Asian cultures.
Fans have also previously criticized Genshin Impact for having only two visibly darker-skinned characters: Xinyan and Kaeya. Wednesday’s leak inspired similar concerns. In one reply to the tweeted leak, a user wrote, “really...all my hopes for a brown milf are gone to a pale kid.” Other responses are just clowning on the designs, or they include jokey images like a screenshot of the The Beatles’ White Album.
Polygon reached out to Hoyoverse to confirm the veracity of the leaks and for comment on this matter. We will update the article if we receive comment.
Some fans have also responded by sharing their own drawings of the characters that darken their skin tones.
!! SPOILER NEW CHARACTERS!!— qwuox (@tb_wwl5) June 29, 2022
I'm sad that hoyoverse are afraid to make their characters who are literally rangers and work under the sun a little darker than normal white#GenshinImpact #Genshin pic.twitter.com/vhboD3ctP4
This isn’t Genshin Impact fandom’s first brush with controversy. In 2021, fans started a hashtag called “#boycottgenshinimpact,” which prompted members of the community to criticize the company for allegedly using Indigenous people as models for the Hilichurl grunts.