Fontaine, Focalors, and new characters: 9 things Genshin Impact has in store for 2023

It's shaping up to be an exciting 2023 for players

A new region, new characters, and long-awaited banner reruns are just some of the things Genshin Impact has in store for players in 2023. (Photos: HoYoverse)
A new region, new characters, and long-awaited banner reruns are just some of the things Genshin Impact has in store for players in 2023. (Photos: HoYoverse)

2022 was a wild and wonderful year for Genshin Impact. Players have been treated to badass moments, heart-breaking tragedies, jaw-dropping additions, and tons of new characters this year. But now that we're done looking back at the now-closing year, it's time to look forward to new things in 2023.

While much is still a mystery about what Genshin Impact has in store for Travelers next year, here are the nine things that already have us excited.

A new region: Fontaine

Every new year brings a new version and a new region to Genshin Impact, even if it usually comes in the latter half of said year. In 2023, the Traveler's adventures will take them to Fontaine, the fifth of the seven nations in their journey through Teyvat.

So, when can we expect Fontaine? HoYoverse has not revealed a detailed roadmap for the future of Genshin Impact, so we're gonna have to look at previous releases for clues.

Version 2 in Inazuma, which was comprised of versions 2.0 through 2.8, lasted from July 2021 to July 2022. Barring any major changes to the game's development schedule, we can expect version 3 in Sumeru to follow a similar timeline.

With Version 3 beginning with version 3.0 in August 2022 and assuming that, like its predecessor, it will last until version 3.8, then Version 4 and Fontaine should be released around the beginning of the last quarter of 2023, either in July or August.

But while we have no definite release date for Fontaine, we do know quite a bit about the next nation in the Traveler's journey.

Fontaine is the domain of the Hydro Archon, known as Focalors, and its chief ideal is 'Justice'.

Fontaine also prides itself as the hub of culture and the arts, as evidenced by the fact that it was where the Kamera was invented and where a new filmmaking culture has began, among many other artistic developments.

In addition, Fontaine is also more technologically-developed compared to most of the other nations we've seen so far. Multiple technologies, such as the previously-mentioned Kamera, the Mikage Furnace in Inazuma, and the Wisdom Orb in the 'Fabulous Fungus Frenzy' event in Sumeru, among others, were developed by Fontaine's engineers and inventors.

Of course, Fontaine is also inspired by a real-life civilization, much like how Inazuma, for example, was inspired by Feudal Japan.

Fontaine seems to be inspired by France during the early 1900's, or at least a steampunk version of that, judging from the clothing of the Fontaine NPC's we've seen so far.

The name Fontaine is also of French origin, meaning 'fountain', which is fitting considering that it is the domain of the Hydro Archon.

The Fifth Archon: Focalors

As with every new nation released, a new Archon will also be unveiled and made playable. As previously stated, Fontaine is ruled by the Hydro Archon Focalors, who is also known as the God of Justice.

While we don't know much about Focalors right now, including what she looks like, we do have some clues about her ideals and personality.

In the Teyvat Chapter Storyline Preview: Travail, Dainsleif's narration describes the God of Justice as "[living] for the spectacle of the courtroom, seeking to judge all other gods".

However, he also noted that even Focalors "knows not to make an enemy of the divine", which may hint at her subservience to Celestia.

At the end of the Sumeru Archon Quest, Nahida also told the Traveler that Focalors is present in Fontaine's trials and has the right to influence the final verdict, though she doesn't directly preside over them.

The Varunada Lazurite Gemstone, which is used to ascend Hydro characters, also gives insight into the Hydro Archon's ideals. The item's description bears the following statement:

"My ideals have no stains. I must correct you. People here bear no sins in the eyes of the gods... Only laws and the Tribunal can judge someone. They can judge even me. So praise my magnificence and purity."

From that, we can surmise that Focalors may embody the concept of 'blind justice', in that justice is impartial and should be applied regardless of status, wealth, or power. After all, the God of Justice did say that she herself can be judged.

However, that very same concept also shows that the pursuit of justice may blind someone to injustice. Perhaps this will be the core conflict in Fontaine?

Another detail about Focalors is that she is the second Hydro Archon and that her servant's predecessors, the Lochfolk (also known as Oceanids), did not recognize her and have cut off ties from Fontaine since she ascended to power.

New Fontaine characters

Lyney and Lynette are the poster characters for Fontaine in the Teyvat Chapter Storyline Preview: Travail. (Photo: HoYoverse)
Lyney and Lynette are the poster characters for Fontaine in the Teyvat Chapter Storyline Preview: Travail. (Photo: HoYoverse)

Aside from Focalors, other playable characters we can expect from Fontaine are Lyney and Lynette. The two appeared in the Travail teaser as the poster characters for Fontaine, like how Kamisato Ayaka and Cyno were the poster characters for Inazuma and Sumeru, respectively.

Similar to how Ayaka and Cyno featured prominently in the Archon Quests of their respective regions, we can expect the same for Lyney and Lynette.

In addition, many are expecting that these two characters are actually going to be just one playable character, judging from how they're portrayed together in the teaser. Now that's an interesting way to implement a new playable character!

Another figure from Fontaine that may become a playable character is Neuvillette. She was first referred to by name in the official introduction for Nahida and was revealed to be the Chief Justice of Fontaine, suggesting she'll be another prominent character in the region. Other than that, we don't know anything else about her.

Of course, we're sure that HoYoverse has plenty of Fontaine characters in the pipeline that they haven't revealed yet, so there's still lots to look forward to in that department.

Upcoming playable characters Alhaitham, Yao Yao, Dehya

Alhaitham and Yaoyao have been revealed to be the new playable characters coming in Genshin Impact version 3.4, which is expected to be released in mid-January 2023. (Photos: HoYoverse)
Alhaitham and Yaoyao have been revealed to be the new playable characters coming in Genshin Impact version 3.4, which is expected to be released in mid-January 2023. (Photos: HoYoverse)

While we've already talked about new characters from Fontaine above, we can't forget that there are still new characters from Sumeru and other regions that will be released before we move on to the next region.

HoYoverse has already confirmed that version 3.4, which is expected in mid-January 2023, will see the debuts of Alhaitham and Yaoyao. The two will be the latest additions to the game's roster of Dendro characters, with Alhaitham likely to be of 5-star rarity while Yaoyao is looking like a 4-star.

Other expected playable characters to be released before Fontaine arrives are Dehya, Kaveh, and Mika. Expect them in versions 3.5 and beyond.

Long-awaited reruns for Hu Tao, Yelan, Eula, Shenhe

Of course, aside from the release of new characters, 2023 will also see previously-released 5-star characters get much-awaited reruns.

The list of characters who haven't had recent reruns include Xiao, Hu Tao, Yelan, Yelan, Eula, and Shenhe.

We expect Xiao, Hu Tao, Yelan, and Shenhe to get their reruns the earliest considering that Lantern Rite, which is expected to take place in January 2023, will likely see reruns for Liyue characters. Eula should get hers in a Mondstadt-centric event prior to the release of Fontaine.

And in what is looking to be a tradition, Kaedera Kazuha might get his rerun in the version before the release of Fontaine. He debuted in the version before Inazuma released then had his first rerun in the version before Sumeru released.

Sumeru characters like Nahida, Cyno, and Nilou are also likely to get reruns either before the release or during the duration of the Fontaine version.

The story continues

With the main Sumeru Archon Quest storyline concluded, the Traveler is now over halfway through their journey through Teyvat's seven nations.

And while we have discovered many things about the world and its many denizens, it has only opened more and more mysteries.

There are still so many questions to be answered, like what has the Abyss Twin and the Abyss Order been up to? Who was the mysterious voice at the end of the Archon Interlude Quest? What do the Fatui know about the Descenders? What's the next step in their plan? Is Celestia truly silent? What caused this inactivity from the Sustainer of Heavenly Principles? Will I ever get an on-set artifact with all its substats rolling to Crit Rate and Crit DMG?

I'm sure at least some of those questions will be answered in the coming year.

More Fatui Harbingers take the stage

Who among the remaining Fatui Harbingers will we encounter in Fontaine? (Photo: HoYoverse)
Who among the remaining Fatui Harbingers will we encounter in Fontaine? (Photo: HoYoverse)

While HoYoverse has already revealed all of the Fatui Harbingers in the Teyvat Chapter Interlude Teaser: A Winter Night's Lazzo, we have only encountered four of them in the game so far: La Signora (RIP) in Mondstadt, Tartaglia in Liyue, Scaramouche (who?) in Inazuma, and Il Dottore in Sumeru.

Capitano was revealed to be on his way to Natlan, so we're unlikely to encounter him in Fontaine.

That leaves Pierro, Columbina, Arlecchino, Pulcinella, Sandrone, and Regrator as possible Harbingers we can encounter.

We're crossing out Pierro and Pulcinella already as they are both likely to be encountered first in Snezhnaya, with the former looking like the region's big boss while the latter was featured as the region's poster character in the Travail teaser.

Our money is on Sandrone, the Harbinger being carried around by what appears to be a modified Ruin Guard. With her apparent inclination towards technology, we think she'll fit nicely in Fontaine.

New TCG content

Genshin Impact got even bigger with the release of the Genius Invokation TCG game mode in version 3.3, and it has been a smash-hit among many players that were looking for something new to do in between Archon Quests and Spiral Abyss runs.

Much like how HoYoverse has implemented regular content updates for the Serenitea Pot mechanic, we also expect Genius Invokation TCG to get the same treatment.

After all, a fair few Travelers have been du-du-du-du-dueling their way across Teyvat because they like playing the new game mode so much, and not just because of the Primogem rewards.

As of version 3.3, there are 61 playable characters in Genshin Impact, 21 of whom are in Genius Invokation TCG as character cards. Considering that character cards also include non-playable enemy characters, there's still a lot of new character cards that HoYoverse can release to shake up the metagame.

Personally, I can't wait for the Archons to get their own character card versions. If you thought Ganyu or Yoimiya were strong cards, just imagine facing a deck with the Raiden Shogun, Nahida, and Zhongli.

If you're still trying to master the basics of Genius Invokation TCG, then check out our guide here. If you want some advice on which character cards to get to build competitive decks, we also got you covered here.

New sub-regions

Before pushing the Traveler's journey onto a new region, HoYoverse likes to take us on detours in previously-unexplored places in existing regions.

Recent examples include the deserts of Sumeru, the Chasm in Liyue, and Enkanomiya in Inazuma.

We can expect similar content releases either before or after the release of Fontaine. Some known areas we are likely to encounter include Qiaoying village and Blackcliff Forge in Liyue as well as Dornman Port in Mondstadt.

There also seems to be an extension to Sumeru's desert area that we may be headed towards very soon...

There's really a lot for Genshin Impact fans to look forward to in 2023!

Yan Ku is a full-time dog parent, part-time (gacha) gamer, and part-time writer.

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