Zenless Zone Zero is right around the corner and with a new game comes a ton of new lore. Sure, the game is still in beta testing, but we couldn’t help scrounging up every scrap of worldbuilding and lore we could find along the way. If you’ve been having trouble understanding what the heck is going on in Zenless Zone Zero, here’s a quick but spoiler-free rundown of the game’s lore.
This information is based on the current Equalization Test and is not final.
You’re in a post-apocalyptic world called New Eridu
Zenless Zone Zero is set in the world of New Eridu, a post-apocalyptic city that is said to be the last remaining pillar of civilization.
Unlike many post-apocalyptic settings, New Eridu is a little further along in its recovery. The city has a stable centralized government, working public infrastructure, and quiet, peaceful neighborhoods. It’s more of a post-post-apocalyptic setting.
The humans (and non-humans) of New Eridu have long since rebuilt society after the disaster that first destroyed it. Now, the city and its people have established ways to deal with supernatural instances (called Hollows) that can destroy the city again while also using those Hollows as an energy source. Talk about two birds and one stone.
The world of Zenless Zone Zero was destroyed by Hollows
Hollows are supernatural instances of space that manifest as spherical dimensions in New Eridu. Inside of each Hollow is a time and space distortion that is full of dangerous monsters called Ethereals. When playing the game, players are actually exploring Hollows and fighting these Ethereals.
Hollows are nightmarish battlegrounds but also a wellspring of resources
It’s incredibly dangerous to explore Hollows, but characters in the game continue to do so because of the Ether, a mysterious but valuable resource that can only be found inside Hollows. New Eridu uses Ether as an energy source.
While it’s enough of an incentive to go spelunking in rifts of space and time, Ether is also dangerous. Throughout the game, it is shown that characters with low Ether tolerance can’t be exposed to the substance for too long or they risk becoming Corrupted. The Corrupted transform into monstrous creatures and lose any semblance of identity, turning them into ruthless beasts that attack anyone they encounter inside a Hollow.
As for characters who are lucky enough to have a high tolerance for Ether…
Your characters are errand runners
Collectible characters in Zenless Zone Zero are implied to have a higher tolerance for Ether compared to the average civilian. This lets them serve as errand runners, soldiers, or corporate representatives tasked with completing missions inside the Hollows. While they’re inside the Hollow, they have little to no contact with the outside world and practically no way to navigate the anomalous space of a Hollow.
That’s where you, the player, come in.
The lead characters, your Phaeton, is an illegal Hollow navigator called a Proxy
Ever wonder why HoYoVerse keeps calling us Proxies in the promotional material for Zenless Zone Zero? A Proxy is a navigator who stays outside of the Hollow and guides explorers. Proxies do this through a Bangboo, the rabbit-like machines you can obtain in the game. However, being a Proxy isn’t a legal job which is why your character, either Belle or Wise, hides under the codename “Phaeton” and runs a video store as a front for their illegal activity.
All Proxies are part of the Proxy Network, a social platform that lets people contact Proxies for help and lets Proxies sell their services.
You use data to map paths out of Hollows, which explains some stylistic choices in the game
You’ll notice that Zenless Zone Zero calls pulling for characters a “search” because really, you’re searching for a new character inside a Hollow. There are many stylistic choices like this in the game that might throw you off at first, but work to reinforce the idea that you’re an operator collecting data to map paths in and out of Hollows for your team.
Want to learn more about Zenless Zone Zero and stay up to date with the game?
We’ll be playing the Equalization Test for Zenless Zone Zero for the rest of December. If you’d like to stay up to date with the game, sign up for our newsletter. We send out updates on what’s what in gaming, movies, and shows on Mondays and Fridays.
If you’d like to read more about Zenless Zone Zero now, check out our article on what Zenless Zone Zero is to get a better understanding of what the game is about, or check out our complete Zenless Zone Zero character list so you can plan your pulls.
Catch you later, Proxies!