credit: Gerudo Town
For the most part, Mondstadt and Liyue are pretty similar in terms of terrain, both being filled with grassy areas and beautiful scenery. With Inazuma most likely following the same idea as the places each empire was based on are in Eurasia.
However, with the upcoming Dendro kingdom of Sumeru it is definitely much more complex. Combining the cultures and geographies of India, Egypt and Middle East, all distinct cultures into one region. And for the first time, we might experience a desert and rainforest/jungle environments in Genshin. Which immediately made me think of Gerudo Town from Breath of the Wild or even Assassin’s Creed Origins.
With this, the harsh extreme climates of the desert might require the need of some animal transportation. So this might be the first introduction of Genshin adding animal transportations like horses (like BOTW) or even camels to fit the location more. Or perhaps we might be in for a new temperature system (like in Dragonspine) but this time for extensive heat and loss of stamina.
botw assassins creed
But this is only discussing the region outside of the city. Because an even more complex system is Sumeru city itself. So, knowing that the Dendro empire also has a deep rooted connection with plants and nature, the palace itself might be inside of a rainforest, maybe entering the city through a waterfall.
We also know through various observations in conversations with the npcs that the Sumeru empire is known for its wisdom and knowledge, as Lisa, herself, was one of the best students in their finest institutions. So this might ensure a huge library (bigger than the one in the Knights of Favionius) or even have a school like architecture to better emphasize the land of wisdom.
Which might be similar to the real life House of Wisdom or Grand Library of Baghdad in Iraq, one of the places Sumeru was referenced to.
images via Google
Also it’s also worth noting that the name ‘Sumeru’ itself comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “The beautiful Mount Meru” with “Sumeru Parvat” being a real life mountain in India. So the city could also be on top of a large mountain surrounded by sacred temples, with a beautiful view of the teyvat all around.
Next, is the Hydro empire of Fontaine which is now rumoured to be based off of France and Venice, Italy. With the actual name “Fontaine” being a French word for fountain or natural spring, as the reference ensures. However, this concept of a beautiful flowing city in an underwater kingdom might actually be wrong.
Back in April during the 1.4 update “Wishful Drops” event, we got to meet a new boss known as ‘Rhodeia’ who seemed to be the actual “Oceanoid” mob we faced previously. Now upon discussing with Endora we found out that Rhodeia from Fontaine herself and addresses the concerns of her homeland. Stating how Fontaine might not be as eccentric as it seems, with horrible water pollution causing huge damage to the city, that there might not even be safe enough land for the city.
Furthermore, due to previous updates, adding gadgets and inventions such as the Kamera to our inventory, we now know that most of these technologies actually originated from Fontaine as well. Even Rock n’ Roll originated from Fontaine. This causes me to believe that Fontaine might actually be the most advanced region in all of Teyvat, with the early introduction of an industrialized environment, which would lead to the cause of pollution and air contamination in the empire. With that being said, I believe that Fontaine will be some sort of a steampunk city like Studio Ghibli’s
Howl’s Moving Castle or port town similar to Ordis from Sen no Kiseki 3.
Also, of all the characters we’ve met from Fontaine, being Lyney and Lynette from the Teyvat story trailer as well as merchants Casper and Franics who can be found in the game right now offer more clues about this empire. I want to focus more on Lyney and Lynette who appear to have magician or performing arts attire, which could allude to some grand theater or circus themed area in Fontaine, outside of the polluted city.
credit: silentfield ArtStation
Now, moving on to Natlan, this has got to be one of the regions we know the least about. Besides clues leading fans to speculate its origins based on early Central America and pre-Columbian or even early Mexico (Aztec) culture, there is just not that much information about this empire. Some even think that Natlan could be referenced to North Africa or even SouthEast Asian countries like Cambodia or the Philippines.
But I find the theory of Natlan being based off of early Central America and Aztec culture most accurate as the name “Natlan” contrives from the Nahuatl language meaning “Under/Around”. The Natlan archon “Murata” is also known as the god of war, and in Aztec mythology, Huitzilopochtli is a the god of war himself, with much of their culture revolving around the power of the Sun, which could explain the darker tones of skin color for the natives to this region.
image via Google
From the Teyvat story trailer, we have met Iansan, the only character from Natlan we’ve met so far. Based on her clothing of an animal skull mask on her hand and what appears to be a dreamcatcher necklace, both being hugely related to early Native American cultures, we can better assume its backstory to early Meso-American culture.
Knowing this it almost makes sense that we haven’t met any other traveling merchants from Natlan as we do with merchants from Inazuma, Sumeru, Fontaine, and Snezhnaya, as Natlan would be the least advanced region, similar to how early Native American was also cut off from the rest of the world until the arrival of Christopher Columbus.
So from Natlan we could expect to see a mix of early Central American geography with tribes living on plains and steppe type terrains. Also, being the empire of Pyro there has to be a volcano to emphasize this element. Which could be based on the Pacaya or Santa Maria volcanoes in Guatemala or Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica, both countries residing in Central America today.
credit: NM-art deviant art
Finally, potentially our last destination of this journey of the entire Genshin story and one of the most anticipated regions since the beginning of the story. I believe that we might have already gotten a glimpse of this land in the 1.2 update; Dragonspine. Even Tartaglia, a native to Snezhnaya, finds himself at home near Dragonspine as it might be the closest to his homeland.
The name “Snezhnaya” is a Russian word for “snowy” with even a real location in Russia being the “Snezhnaya River”. So knowing that Snezhnaya is based off of Russia, perhaps we could see beautiful scenery like the famous St. Basil’s Cathedral
However, Snezhnaya is also where the cryo archon, Tsaritsa resides, homeland of all of the fatuis with a goal of “burning away the old world” in order to obtain true peace. So we should definitely expect a more sinister and darker environment going closer to Snezhnaya. As our final battle awaits us for the Traveler to rescue their sibling from the darkness.
I gotta hand it to Mihoyo for creating such a diverse game ahead of them if they truly continue down this path. Especially for a Chinese game to beautifully develop a world that involves so many cultures from our real world (and not just based on Eurasia as many video game companies do), but actually going outside of their comfort zone to include other outside cultures besides their main demographic. To hopefully allude to this global peace in real life as we should see in the final acts of the game.
Because if we stop thinking about the minor bugs and horrible rng drop rates and just take a step back to appreciate what this game has going on, then perhaps this game will change our world for the better.
extra note: check out this amazing artist’s (@ruelosearvi) design of all of the teyvat archons! although these are all pure speculation it might help to provide some insight on the future of genshin!
art credit: ruelosearvi
Thank you so much for reading! Comment down below which region you’re most excited for.