Zenless Zone Zero: here's what we know about HoYoverse's next action game

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

Zenless Zone Zero, one of the upcoming projects from the studio behind Genshin Impact, looks set to bring yet more character-collecting anime action. Zenless Zone Zero still seems like a long way off, but HoYoverse has been dealing out crumbs of character info—presumably so fans can start arranging their tier lists in advance.

There's still plenty to be clarified about Zenless Zone Zero: How much of a gacha is it? What's the progression like? We can't be sure, but with any luck, there'll be more Tuning Tests—the game's equivalent of beta periods—to help demystify things. Here's what we've learned so far from poring through footage and from the official character sheets.

Zenless Zone Zero release date

When will Zenless Zone Zero release?

We don't have a release date yet for Zenless Zone Zero. But since HoYoverse will shortly be running their Tuning Test, we can hope that it's an indication that the game's development is chugging along steadily, and hopefully its final stages before release won't take too long to follow.

Will there be a Zenless Zone Zero beta? When can we play it?

HoYoverse will be running "Tuning Tests"—closed betas, basically—for Zenless Zone Zero. The first finished on August 8th, but HoYoverse has indicated that additional Tuning Tests will follow. Tuning Tests require a sign-up in advance, so if you're interested, keep an eye on the Zenless Zone Zero website.

Zenless Zone Zero Trailers

The reveal trailer for Zenless Zone Zero gives away a lot of its characters, if not their names, some of the factions, and a lot of action combat.

The second trailer for Zenless Zone Zero gives another look at combat, and this time at what might be some combo moves or more elemental reactions between characters.

Zenless Zone Zero Gameplay

(Image credit: HoYoverse)

Zenless Zone Zero gameplay 

Before we get to the details, here's the Zenless setting, in brief: Urban fantasy city New Eridu, known as the "last oasis" is overrun by troublesome dimensional holes called Hollows. You'll be hopping in these holes to extract the resource known as Ether, battle the nasty monsters that live there called Ethereals, and try not to get corrupted yourself. Oh, also there are "lawless thugs" and "hollow raiders", Proxies, and the agents of the Hollow Investigative Association in there.

No surprise that Zenless is going to have action combat that feels familiar to Genshin Impact. The gameplay we've seen so far show off melee and ranged attacks with pistols, swords, hammers, and more.

Each commission is a separate event, which you'll control as your Proxy character Belle or Wise by navigating through a series of TV screens that represent nodes like a dungeon crawler. At some points you'll pick up buffs for the run and at others you'll be drawn into combat.

How does combat work?

Zenless is an action combat game similar to Genshin, though without the same focus on elemental combos. Instead, you'll use successive attacks to wear down an enemy's stagger bar and use heavy or ultimate attacks to finish them off. Like Genshin, you'll have a party of characters and only use one at a time, switching back and forth to make use of each one's special abilities or weapons.

Early gameplay videos from the tuning test in August have shown some pretty neat ultimate abilities complete with quick showcase cutscenes the way a turn-based RPG might.

At the end of each encounter, you'll get a score rating for things like number of combos, speed, and taking as few hits as possible.

Is it open world?

Nope, this isn't a big open world exploration fest like Genshin. Zenless Zone Zero is more of a run-based dungeon crawler. You'll take your characters through commissions in those otherworldly Hollow portals, which cart you off to dangerous, labyrinthine sections of the city. Between commissions, you can walk around part of New Eridu city to buy food buffs, watch cutscenes, and other bits you'll recognize from the cities in Genshin. What we've seen of New Eridu in the tuning test looks pretty small honestly, so definitely don't go in expecting a world like Genshin's.

Is Zenless a gacha game? 

HoYoverse hasn't explained just yet how it's planning to monetize Zenless. Given that Genshin Impact and Honkai Impact 3rd are both free-to-play with gacha mechanics, we can likely expect the same of the studio's next action game.

Zenless Zone Zero characters & Factions

Like Genshin, ZZZ looks like it'll be all about its characters—backstories, voice actor reveals, and probably a big fandom full of folks adoring their faves. Yes, I have seen that everyone loves the wolf man already. Of course you love the wolf man with his muzzle and eyepatch and sad boy hair. Where's the love for the bear, folks? 

HoYoverse is slowly doling out info on the many characters and the factions they're a part of. Here's everybody we've seen so far, and the names we have (or don't) to go with them.

Gentle House (Cunning Hares) 

(Image credit: HoYoverse)

This group of freelance odd job-ers was founded by Nicole Demara and handles Hollow-related commissions, though apparently the group is constantly dealing with debt piling up.

  • Billy Kid - A handsome and carefree cyborg with custom dual revolvers. "He may look unreliable, but once he gets serious Billy can take on any challenge."
  • Nicole Demara - Cunning founder of the Hares with a hammer. "She loves money, but is surprisingly bad at managing it." Same.
  • Anby Demara - Calm and enigmatic young girl with a lightning sword. "A mysterious young girl who never talks about her past."
  • Nekomiya Mana - A "spirited and mischievous" catgirl who loves fish.

Defense Force 

(Image credit: HoYoverse)

 We don't know anything about the Defense Force yet, only that Soldier 11 is a member.

  • Soldier 11 - An efficient soldier who has no name with a flaming sword. ZZZ's website says "No matter how strong the enemy, just get fired up and face it head on... At least that's what Soldier 11 does."

Victoria Housekeeping 

(Image credit: HoYoverse)

Victoria Housekeeping Co's characters had a, well, let's say 'devoted' fan base even before their characters were named in a full reveal. The high-end company offers attendant services—apparently by way of wolf-men and chainsaw-toting maids. For Victoria Housekeeping, it seems that "domestic service" can entail some more, well, violent forms of assistance.

  • Corin Wickes - Corin looks to be a maid in the "nervous and flustered" archetype, apparently distressed by Victoria Housekeeping exaggerating about her capabilities to customers. Unclear how the chainsaw-scythe factors in. 
  • Von Lycaon - Lycaon is described as "rational and wise, a true gentleman." That's all fine, but he's also a wolfman with jet legs, which you might be surprised to learn has earned him plenty of interest.

Belobog Heavy Industries 

(Image credit: HoYoverse)

Belobog Industries seems to be a contruction concern in Zenless Zone Zero's scifi cityscape. Meaning they'll probably be hitting things with oversized construction tools.

  • Koleda Belobog - The axe-and-hammer-wielding executive of Belobog Industries. As eloquently described on the ZZZ website, "a fierce young girl who's also a president."
  • Anton Ivanov - He's wielding protagonist hair and what looks like a drill fist? "Open and honest, nothing can seem to upset him."
  • Ben Bigger - A bear with a chain, wields a battering ram. "Those paws could shatter bones, luckily they're busy tapping away on a calculator."


(Image credit: HoYoverse)

The faction of the demon girl and catgirl appears to be H.SOS.6, based on the combat trailer from June 2022. We've also learned their first names in the tuning test, though HoYoverse will likely reveal more about them on Twitter later.

  • Soukaku - A blue demon girl with a mask and greathammer. The ZZZ website describes her as someone who "Loves to eat, and gets angry when seeing others waste food. Totally."
  • Miyabi - Cat ears and katana? Check.

Random Play Managers

(Image credit: HoYoverse)

These two siblings are the owners managers of the Random Play video store in New Eridu who you'll choose between as your "proxy" character. From the video store, they control how your group of Hollow explorers move through each dungeon but unlike Genshin Impact's Traveller main characters, they won't go into combat with the rest of the group. Instead, you'll play as them while walking around New Erido preparing between commissions.

  • Belle: Perceptive and alert, a cheerful and easygoing girl. Sister to Wise.
  • Wise: Thoughtful and reassuring, a gentle and reserved young man. Brother to Belle.
  • Phaethon: A well-known Proxy for their unique guidance technology.

One more wolf guy, just for all of you

HoYo fans only want one thing. (Image credit: HoYoverse)
Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor and Chief Minecraft Liker in 2021. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, multiplayer cryptids, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.