My fellow Ittorou shippers, our time has finally come.
What’s that? You thought I’d start off by talking about the long-awaited gameplay preview for Scaramouche, who graces the thumbnail of the Genshin Impact Version 3.3 trailer (above)? Well, if it’s commentary on Scaramouche’s redesign and unique gameplay mechanics that you’re looking for, allow me to redirect you to a post from earlier this month where I went over most of the information that was only officially revealed in yesterday’s Special Program, including what I would consider to be a far more concise description of his Elemental Skill than what was offered on the livestream, which got a little bogged-down with ornate names for everything under the sun. Seeing as that post has not yet been outdated by any new information from the game developers, there’s actually not too much more to say about Scaramouche – I mean, besides the fact that he’s getting his own Archon Quest, apparently. Don’t worry, we’ll go over all the details in due time.
But first thing’s first, and the thing in question is Ittorou – which I suppose is its own kind of ornate term, so let me explain. “Ittorou” is the nickname for a popular queer ship in the Genshin Impact fandom that involves the characters of Arataki Itto and Gorou. The one is a Geo on-field Main DPS, the other a designated Geo support, and they are apparently both at their best when played alongside each other (I wouldn’t know, having never gotten my hands on a copy of Gorou, despite him theoretically being the easier of the two to obtain as a four-star character). They debuted simultaneously in December 2021, and Gorou has only ever received a drop-rate boost on Itto’s limited-time banners; in fact, he is likely to reappear on a banner next month when Itto gets his second rerun. Yet despite their obvious synergy, they’ve never interacted onscreen.
Until now, that is. For the main Event of Version 3.3, Akitsu Kimodameshi, characters from all over Inazuma have been invited to participate in a “test of courage” organized by the Yashiro Commission…and the trailer confirms that Itto, Gorou, Heizou and Yoimiya are amongst the champions hoping to venture into Chinju Forest on Narukami Island, where malevolent spirits roam under the cover of eternal darkness, and come out the other side unscathed both physically and mentally. Now, as much as I hate to see my favorite characters suffer, just think of the potential interactions we could see – Itto cowering behind Gorou at every strange sound, Gorou leaping into Itto’s arms in a moment of weakness, Gorou’s fur bristling and Itto trying to comfort him by patting his head like a dog. Even though we know damn well that MiHoYo has no intention to put any of its characters, straight or queer, in canonical relationships, they’re giving me what I want, which is a canonical basis for the very much non-canonical fanfic I intend to consume in massive quantities after the Event.
And to be fair, despite never having interacted with each other previously, Itto and Gorou are already about as blatantly queer-coded as the male characters in Genshin Impact can get (it’s a very different situation for female characters: although they’re just as unlikely to ever state that they’re queer, it’s no secret that Jean and Lisa, Ningguang and Beidou, and Ei and Yae Miko are more than just extremely close friends). The reason fans started shipping Ittorou in the first place is because Itto has a voice-line where he talks about the warm, fuzzy feeling that he gets around Gorou, and also because he has a massive crush on Gorou’s alter ego, the advice columnist “Ms. Hina”, who is depicted on posters and standees as Gorou wearing a dress. But we still don’t know how Gorou feels about Itto, so this new Event is sure to be very illuminating in that regard.
As an additional incentive for participating, one of the limited-time rewards obtainable through the Akitsu Kimodameshi Event is a new weapon named the Toukabou Shigure, technically classified as a sword but more closely resembling an umbrella with a claw-like handle, a leering mouth, and a single eye. The weapon’s distinctive design is based on depictions of the Kasa-obake, a type of yōkai or demon, found in Japanese art and literature dating back to the Edo period. And looking at the amount of research that went into this one weapon, I can’t help but again be reminded of the stark difference between how MiHoYo lovingly takes inspiration from Japanese culture when expanding the region of Inazuma and its accompanying lore, and how they grabbed a bunch of random, orientalist stereotypes of Southwest Asia and North Africa when it came time to do the same for Sumeru.
In fact, despite the region still being fairly new, Sumeru and its roster of characters are already being neglected by MiHoYo in favor of Inazuma, Liyue, and Mondstadt, with only one Sumeru-based Event announced for Version 3.3 and no Hang-out Event for the new four-star character, Faruzan, whom I was excited to learn more about after it was revealed during the Special Program that she’s over a hundred years old and knows a great deal of lore pertaining to Sumeru’s desert-dwelling ancient civilization, having spent decades trapped in the ruins beneath the desert. Unfortunately, it’s possible we won’t see or hear from Faruzan until some random side-quest or Event brings us back to the desert, and that could take a while. She was not mentioned in association with Misty Dungeon, a popular Event that will return in Version 3.3 with a desert theme.
Misty Dungeon first appeared in the spring of 2021 under the title Battlefront: Misty Dungeon, and was so popular it was brought back later that same year as Misty Dungeon: Realm Of Light. This year’s reskinned version of the Event is titled Misty Dungeon: Realm Of Sand, and will take place in Sumeru, but it will still follow the same general concept, requiring players to move through a labyrinth, completing puzzles and timed challenges until they unlock an encounter with a final boss. And it won’t be the only fan-favorite Event making a comeback in Version 3.3 – Windtrace, Genshin Impact‘s version of hide-and-seek for co-op mode, will also be returning with some cool new perks for both hiders and seekers, including giving players the ability to continue participating in the game even after being captured.
And if you don’t share in the nostalgia for Misty Dungeon and Windtrace, well, Genshin Impact has got you covered with Across The Wilderness, a brand-new Event where players run around rooftops capturing balloons. From the description and preview, it looks relatively stress-free, but there’s no doubt that having multiple Anemo characters like Venti, Xiao, Kazuha, and Scaramouche on your team will give you a literal boost while running, jumping, and climbing (if you needed any more reasons to pull for Scaramouche, he’s about to make exploration in this game ridiculously easy).
On that note, I guess it’s time we talked about Scaramouche’s Archon Quest: Interlude, which presumably picks up right where the final chapter of the Sumeru Archon Quest left off, with Scaramouche hidden away at the Sumeru Akademiya in the care of the Dendro Archon and making a full recovery from the traumatic head injury he sustained after falling from the cockpit of his giant robotic exoskeleton (long story). But of all things, an Akademiya inquiry into the events on the island of Tatarasuna leads the Traveler back to Scaramouche and forces the former Fatui Harbinger to begrudgingly sift through his scattered memories and construct a full account of what happened there roughly four-hundred years ago.
Scaramouche getting an Archon Quest in place of a Story Quest is interesting because Archon Quests aren’t optional, so whatever dark secrets are contained in Scaramouche’s backstory, MiHoYo wants us all to know this stuff. The only other characters in the game with that level of personal significance to the overarching storyline, besides the literal Archons of each region, are…honestly, maybe only Dainsleif and Kaeya, and they’re both so integral to the story of Khaenri’ah and its destruction that they literally can’t appear for too long or one of them will inadvertently spoil the game’s ending. I pray that we get a little more time with Scaramouche before he’s put in a similarly awkward position.
One more thing before we finish up here: new, completely optional permanent gameplay is coming to Genshin Impact in Version 3.3, in the form of an animated card game named Genius Invokation TCG, but for the time being there are no plans to offer rewards or allow players to track their progress in the game, and it’s subsequently unclear how MiHoYo intends to keep players from growing bored of this after the novelty of challenging friends and random NPCs to duels wears off, as I’m sure it will sooner rather than later. Until I sit down and actually read the rules, my first impressions of Genius Invokation TCG are neutral. Admittedly, I’m a little bitter about the absence of Itto – he literally plays Genius Invokation TCG! How is he not featured on a character card? – but the art and animations are the only things catching my eye in the gameplay preview.
Anyway, what did you think of the Version 3.3 Special Program? Will you be spending your hard-earned Primogems on Scaramouche’s banner, or waiting for another character? Share your own thoughts, theories, and opinions, in the comments below!