miHoYo offered an extended look into the backstory and development of Genshin Impact’s Xiao that included concept art. The massive discussion, which involved thoughts from people at the studio’s Creative Concept and Writing, Art Team, Animation Department, spanned two parts and went over how elements like optical motion capture and mythology and history shaped the character. Interestingly enough, it turns out one of the first characters from Liyue that miHoYo made was Xiao.
The extensive look at how Xiao came to be began with insights from Zhongyuan. In the early discussions about the character, both the Art and the Creative Concept and Writing members would refer to him as possibly being “a young man of great beauty” and “beautiful adeptus,” before landing on “mighty and illuminated adeptus.” Zhongyuan also noted that while adepti are “apart” from Genshin Impact’s humans, Xiao art involves a a Vision instead of an adepti “inner eye” so he can “comply with the expected norm.”
In addition, his Alatus Nemeseos Constellation is inspired by the Buddist yaksha. Zhongyuan noted,
The two archetypal stories of “guardian yaksha” and “numinous official’s redemption” both involve a malevolent spirit on a path towards goodness, which was consistent with the general direction of Xiao’s character core.
As for the Xiao design, concept art for him, his masks, and his attacks were shared. The Art Team’s D and SS shared a first look at his design, which was inspired by a “traditional notion of what a Daoist immortal (or in Genshin Impact terms, an adeptus) might look like.” He had a smiling expression and at one point a red-and-black color scheme. The darker colors in his outfit are used to represent how he’s tainted by the darkness he fights. The jade jewelry is also there for the purpose of “longevity and mystery.” Art of possible Nuo masks Xiao could have worn were also shown.
Genshin Impact is available for the PlayStation 4, PC, and mobile devices. A Nintendo Switch version is in development. The Xiao banner is available in-game until February 17, 2021.