MAJOR SPOILERS FOR GENSHIN IMPACT CHAPTER III: ACT V AHEAD!
For almost two years, ever since his very first appearance in the Unreconciled Stars event of November 2020, the Fatui Harbinger Scaramouche has been one of the most eagerly-anticipated characters in Genshin Impact, but until now HoYoverse has stubbornly tried to keep his eventual playability a secret from players – a futile and some might say pointless endeavor, seeing as Genshin Impact is the type of game where anyone with a unique character model is almost guaranteed to be playable in some way, shape, or form. The one notable exception to this unwritten rule is La Signora, another Fatui Harbinger with a resilient fanbase who don’t care that she got incinerated back in Version 2.1, but there may be hope for her too, now.
You see, Genshin Impact has a rigid internal logic for when, why, and which certain characters become playable – and something that’s generally agreed upon in the fandom at least is that a character has to be on good terms with the Traveler to earn a spot on their team. Hence why the only playable Fatui Harbinger to date, Tartaglia, is the one who literally has to remain friendly with us for the sake of his kid brother, Teucer. Of course, there are eleven Harbingers, and only so many excuses for them not to kill us the first chance they get, so in time we may start to see the rules bend ever so slightly to allow some morally ambiguous characters to join our teams, but I have a hard time believing that the rules could bend around characters like, say, Dottore or Arlecchino, two unapologetic sadists directly responsible for the deaths of multiple children, without breaking entirely.
In the case of Scaramouche, a twisted take on Pinocchio if he became a serial killer, Genshin Impact is experimenting with putting a different version of the same character in the Traveler’s team, and gauging fan response (which has been overwhelmingly positive). Near the end of the Sumeru Archon Quest, Chapter III: Act V, Scaramouche literally falls into a coma after tumbling from the cockpit of his colossal mechanical exoskeleton and is carried away to a safe place by the Dendro Archon, Kusanali, who promises to look after him while he recovers. We will presumably learn more about what the Archon’s treatment entailed in Version 3.3, when Scaramouche becomes playable, but we can already ascertain a few things: at some point between now and then, Scaramouche will be granted an Anemo Vision by the gods in Celestia (or by whatever entity distributes Visions), change his name to “Wanderer”, and subtly alter his appearance until he no longer resembles the Fatui Harbinger we once fought.
There is some evidence in the Version 3.3 beta test leaks to suggest that Scaramouche will retain his old memories and a little of his original personality, but Wanderer is essentially a different person, spiritually reborn. I can’t call it a redemption arc, because Scaramouche didn’t ever actually do the work of bettering himself, but it’s enough to justify the Traveler taking him under their wing and helping him reacclimate to the world, this time endowed with a sense of morality he was previously lacking – and if angst is what you’re looking for, I can assure you that our self-righteous protagonist will not pass up the opportunity to remind Scaramouche of all his past crimes and misdeeds, probably even encouraging him to personally apologize to his victims.
Off the top of my head, I can think of three other Fatui Harbingers who will probably receive similar treatment in the near future: Dottore, Sandrone, and La Signora. From what we know of these characters (not a whole lot in Sandrone’s case, admittedly, but I’m making a few assumptions here), they’re all much too evil to redeem properly but at the same time much too cool to waste entirely, and all three of them could very easily be swapped out for nearly identical alternate versions of themselves – Dottore for one of his clones, assuming any survived his self-imposed purge at the end of the Sumeru Archon Quest; Sandrone for one of her sentient puppets, perhaps even Katheryne, if the Adventurer’s Guild’s robotic receptionist is one of her creations; and La Signora for her younger self when she inevitably gets resurrected as the shy, soft-spoken Rosalyne. These alternate versions would conveniently all possess functional moral compasses as well as Visions.
And speaking of Visions, whether by chance or by design on HoYoverse’s part, Scaramouche possessing an Anemo Vision lends further credence to the widely-held theory that Anemo male characters are uniquely distinguished by their intimate understanding of loss – all stemming from the original tragedy of the Anemo Archon, who adopted the physical form of his best friend after the latter’s death in battle so his memory would never fade. Xiao, Kazuha, and Heizou are also well acquainted with grief, having all lost people close to them, but Scaramouche has not only been abandoned but outright betrayed by many of those who claimed to care for him, leading him to misinterpret every abandonment as betrayal. Beyond that, being an Anemo character makes Scaramouche ten times more desirable than he would have been if he belonged to any other Elemental type.
Scaramouche is, rather surprisingly, a catalyst user (making him only the second male catalyst user after Heizou) with the ability to move about in mid-air after casting his Elemental Skill, gradually consuming “Sky-Dweller Points” instead of regular stamina points until he either casts his Elemental Burst or runs out of Sky-Dweller Points and descends to earth. While hovering above the battlefield, he can jump to gain height, and his normal and charged attacks will still hit enemies on the ground. His Elemental Burst creates an Anemo vortex like Venti’s which pulls enemies towards each other, and that alone will make him very popular with the part of the player base that adores Anemo characters for their ability to quickly and efficiently carve through large mobs.
If you can’t get your hands on Scaramouche, a five-star character available for a limited time on a single banner, you have a pretty good chance at nabbing at least one copy of Faruzan, his more easily obtainable four-star equivalent on the permanent standard banner. Faruzan, a scholar of linguistics at the Sumeru Akademiya, is an Anemo bow-user whose gameplay also revolves around crowd-control – after casting her Elemental Skill, her first charged attack will fire a small vortex, while casting her Elemental Burst summons a polyhedron vortex that flits around the battlefield, pausing to knock clusters of enemies off their feet and simultaneously reduce their Anemo RES (resistance). She sounds like your run-of-the-mill Anemo character, honestly, but perhaps players can find a niche purpose for her. Her lore is what really excites me, because she sees visions of Sumeru’s ancient history.
With all that said, which of these two characters will you be pulling for? Both? Neither? Share your own thoughts, theories, and opinions, in the comments below!