Genshin Impact leaks suggest that new weapon types are in development, with Yelan supposedly being a crossbow user.
Crossbows have had historically different uses from a regular bow, so the two being distinct weapon types in-game is reasonable at first glance. It's worth noting that crossbows are not currently in Genshin Impact, and neither is Yelan.
Before this leak, Yelan hadn't had much information leaked. This leak isn't the first one about new weapon types, either. Earlier this week, some leakers have stated that a new weapon type was in development.
Genshin Impact leaks: Yelan is a crossbow character, plus new weapon types in development
The above leak is a recent data mine involving Yelan. It specifies that she uses a crossbow and not a regular bow. Currently, Genshin Impact only has bows as a long-range weapon type. Previously, there were no crossbow characters, making Yelan the first instance.
It's worth noting that character leaks don't always end up being accurate. For example, Albedo was initially leaked as a bow user but used swords in the final version. The same thing can happen here with Yelan, so players shouldn't take it as an immediate confirmation that she will use crossbows in the final version.
A new weapon type
Although the release date is unknown, the recent leaks still suggest that a new weapon type is in the works. A crossbow can fit the description of being a "mixed close combat and ranged weapon." Genshin Impact is a video game, so it can take some creative liberties with its weapons' ranges, as well.
Not much is known about how a crossbow would functionally work in Genshin Impact. For instance, players don't yet know what differences it would offer over a bow in-game. Every weapon in Genshin Impact fulfils a different niche.
Apparently, there are multiple new weapon types; thus, the crossbow wouldn't be the only one being considered. The recent leaks don't specify too much about other weapon possibilities. Anything about gauntlets or scythes is just speculation at this point. The above leaker does make a good point that something could be cut in development.
The phrase "subject to change" isn't just to protect a leaker's credibility; it's also used because some objective data does get altered between the beta and final releases. It's possible that Yelan won't use crossbows in the final version, just as crossbows could be axed altogether.
Also, the phrase "multiple new weapon types" is vague regarding the quantity of potential new weaponry.
What is known about Yelan?
It was never officially confirmed who this Genshin Impact character was, with many players speculating that it is Yelan. If that's the case, they're shown with a polearm here, rather than a crossbow.
However, a character can use multiple weapons according to lore. For example, a random NPC known as Nobumori states that Ayato is highly proficient with both polearms and swords.
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Assuming this image depicts Yelan, then she may have skills in both polearms and crossbows. She could use the latter weapon type as a playable character, as playable characters can only use one weapon type in Genshin Impact.
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