When a new project shares the same name as its predecessor, it’s typically assumed to be a sequel. However, the relationship between Honkai Impact 3rd (HI3) and Honkai Star Rail (HSR) is more complex than that.

While both video games share the “Honkai” name and feature characters with similar appearance and names, HoYoverse, the game’s developer, has stated that HSR is not a direct successor to HI3 — the two games have distinct differences and should be appreciated as separate works, with the exception of one character.

In an exclusive interview with ONE Esports, HoYoverse discusses where Star Rail lies in the Honkai franchise and reveals the important character that connects HI3 and HSR.

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Is Honkai Star Rail a sequel to Honkai Impact 3rd?

No, Honkai Star Rail is not a direct sequel to Honkai Impact 3rd. Rather, HoYoverse calls HSR a “spiritual sequel,” which means that while it shares themes, elements, and characters with Honkai Impact, it is an independent video game title and is only a sequel in thought.

“We’d like to emphasize that Honkai Star Rail is not a direct sequel to Honkai Impact 3rd, but a new game for everyone,” the developers said in an exclusive interview with ONE Esports.

“Except for Welt, every previous character in the series will show up with brand-new identities in Star Rail, so players do not need to worry about its connection with other games.”

March 7th ultimate in Honkai Star Rail
Screenshot by Joseph Asuncion/ONE Esports

Do I need to play Honkai Impact 3rd and know its lore to be able to play Honkai Star Rail?

Since it is a spiritual sequel, you don’t need to play Honkai Impact or any other titles in the Honkai franchise to fully enjoy playing HSR.

“Star Rail provides an independent world concept and story that does not require prior knowledge of the Honkai series to comprehend the plot and narrative,” HoYoverse said.

Is Honkai Star Rail connected to Honkai Impact 3rd?

The video game developer further explained that HSR “is, to some degree, connected with previous titles,” referring to its initial characters Welt, Himeko, and Bronya. All three also appear in Honkai Impact.

“Welt is confirmed to be the same person from Honkai Impact 3rd,” the devs said. “And he is also the key person to connect the story of Star Rail to other Honkai titles.”

Honkai Star Rail key visual
Credit: HoYoverse

Welt is the former Sovereign of Anti-Entropy and a current member of the Astral Express, a large train that journeys across the universe.

Just how did the second generation 1st Herrscher end up in the galaxies? Honkai fans will have to play Star Rail to find out.

Here’s how you can play the game on PC, mobile, and PlayStation.

READ MORE: Star Rail: Release date, characters, gameplay, trailer