Do you need to have played Honkai Impact 3rd before getting into Honkai: Star Rail?

Honkai: Star Rail and Honkai Impact 3rd have a big connection in the form of the character of Welt Yang, but does that mean you need to play Honkai Impact 3rd?

Honkai: Star Rail is the latest entry to HoYoverse's Honkai series after Honkai Impact 3rd, with the character of Welt Yang even connecting the two titles. But does that mean you should play Honkai Impact 3rd before Honkai: Star Rail? (Photo: HoYoverse)
Honkai: Star Rail is the latest entry to HoYoverse's Honkai series after Honkai Impact 3rd, with the character of Welt Yang even connecting the two titles. But does that mean you should play Honkai Impact 3rd before Honkai: Star Rail? (Photo: HoYoverse)

We’re excitedly counting down the days until Honkai: Star Rail’s release on 26 April, and more and more people are hopping aboard the stellar hype train!

We’ve already talked about how Genshin Impact veterans should get into Honkai: Star Rail, but a big question fans of Star Rail have is how HoYoverse's new space fantasy RPG will be connected to their first hit title: Honkai Impact 3rd.

In an interview with Yahoo Gaming SEA last year, HoYoverse said that while Honkai: Star Rail is the next entry in the Honkai series, it is its own narrative that is independent from Honkai Impact 3rd’s storyline.

So, you don't really need to have played Honkai Impact 3rd to enjoy Honkai: Star Rail.

With that said, you can definitely better appreciate this new title if you're familiar with its predecessor.

To understand the sprawling lore of Honkai Impact 3rd will take a very long time, so we're here to help you get up to speed.

While Honkai: Star Rail and Honkai Impact 3rd follow different narratives, the universes of both games are actually connected because of the presence of a certain former animator and now Astral Express senior member: Welt Yang.

To condense his complicated past (while also summarising Honkai Impact 3rd’s lore) into a quick read is a herculean task that may be impossible, but here’s an attempt... but be warned! Spoilers ahead.

Who is Welt Yang?

In Honkai Impact 3rd’s story, the world exists in an alternate reality where the Earth is plagued with the otherworldly presence of the 'Honkai'. The Honkai is a malevolent force with a will of its own that can turn humans into mindless creatures, manifest itself into monstrous forms, and in turn choose certain individuals with their power, turning them into 'Herrschers' that will trigger an apocalyptic events (hence the “Impact”).

To battle against the Honkai, different sectors of the worlds created anti-Honkai organisations, that being: Schicksal, the European sector that employs girls called 'Valkyries' to fight against the Honkai monsters and even Herrschers; Anti-Entropy, a former Shicksal branch who resented the use of Valkyries and instead fights against Honkai with advanced machinery; and, finally, the World Serpent, who has been manipulating the landscape of the world after the previous era (or 2nd Impact).

Welt Yang is the former sovereign of Anti-Entropy, inheriting the 1st Herrscher core of the 1st Impact and the name “Welt” from Welt Joyce, the organisation’s previous leader, and entrusted with the duty to protect the world from Schicksal (aka Otto Apocalypse, the big bad of the game) and the Honkai.

Honkai Impact 3rd fans will know that the Herrscher Core is also known as the “Herrscher of Reason”, the first male Herrscher to fight for the humans.

Welt Yang is known as “Welt of Humanity”, as he has in uncountable times, taken upon the mantle of protecting the world from the various threats that seek to trigger their end.

One such battle with the first Herrscher of the Void Sirin, who triggered the 2nd Impact, saw Welt Yang lose his life as they battled on the moon. Welt, however, sealed his soul within the Herrscher of Reason core, and later on rebuilt his body after entrusting the core to the 3rd Herrscher of Reason, Bronya Zaychik.

After the events of the game that lead to Otto Apocalypse merging with the World Tree, Welt Yang found a semblance of peace in his life and established his own animation studio, leading into the timeline of 'A Post Honkai Odyssey', which takes place eight years after Otto Apocalypse’s “victory”.

With the world under threat from alien lifeforms called the 'Sky People', Welt Yang inexplicably disappears at the beginning of this timeline, however it is later revealed that Welt Yang and the Void Archives (a personification of the 1st Divine Key, I know more complicated lore, but they’re basically weapons made from Herrscher cores) have infiltrated one of the Sky People’s space ships, finding out that they were targeting Himeko.

But here’s the catch, it’s not Himeko Murata, beloved teacher and Valkyrie who saved humanity from the second coming of the Herrscher of the Void (RIP), but another Himeko in a different universe, that being Honkai: Star Rail’s.

And, well, although Welt Yang had no more reason to become a protector of humanity, he resolved to save Honkai: Star Rail's Himeko, bringing him into that alternate reality.

Welt Yang as he appears in Honkai: Star Rail (left) and Honkai Impact 3rd (right). (Photos: HoYoverse)
Welt Yang as he appears in Honkai: Star Rail (left) and Honkai Impact 3rd (right). (Photos: HoYoverse)

HoYoverse has a knack of employing the theory of the existence of parallel universes, and takes advantage of the existence of the World Tree to create different timelines. It is confirmed that all of their games so far exist within the same World Tree as its branches.

Is the Honkai Impact 3rd experience necessary

So, the big question players have now is, should you play Honkai Impact 3rd before getting into Honkai: Star Rail?

Well, it depends. If you’re invested in Welt Yang’s character and wish to know more about his lore before Honkai: Star Rail, then you’re missing out if you don’t play Honkai Impact 3rd and read its supplementary mangas.

But, as we previously stated, that doesn’t mean it’s a necessity for every player to get into Honkai Impact 3rd to understand Honkai: Star Rail.

HoYoverse themselves have said that Honkai: Star Rail’s story will stand on its own, so that’s enough of a reason to just enjoy the game as it is.

We can assume that, aside from Welt Yang’s presence in the game, Honkai: Star Rail will be like Genshin Impact, which is also wholly independent from Honkai Impact 3rd’s overarching plot even if Honkai characters have been exported to Genshin.

That being said, get your tickets ready! Hop on board the hype train for Honkai: Star Rail! The game is still accepting pre-registrations here.

Those who pre-register will receive tons of rewards, including the 4-star character Serval and 20 Star Rail Passes, 50,000, credits, and the 'Trailblazer — Welcome' Avatar.

A little fun fact, in the Lunar Calendar, this April is the third lunar month, while 26 April is 7th day of that month. The game's release date is a great homage to fan-favourite character March 7th!

For everything you need to know about Honkai: Star Rail, check here.

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

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