A week after the PlayStation 5 Event, Guerrilla Games released a three-minute video detailing Horizon: Forbidden West. While last week’s event offered little info, this new behind the scenes look from Game Director Mathijs De Jonge offers many exciting new details. Here are the top five Horizon: Forbidden West facts.
5 – Forbidden West’s Meaning
Foregoing the traditional sequel naming scheme, the second Horizon game is titled Forbidden West for a reason. As the director puts it, “The title Forbidden West actually refers to a mysterious new frontier that stretches from Utah in the USA all the way to the Pacific Ocean in the west.”
Zero Dawn’s stunning scenery was one of its greatest assets. Many games through the decades have attempted a post-apocalyptic setting in which nature overtakes man-made structures. Horizon’s unique take on this approach combined futuristic machinery with primitive native-like settlements and tribes. Other games focus on worlds in which its inhabitants make do with what’s left of modern technology post-apocalypse whereas Horizon’s characters have few ties to the ancient world. Extending this to encompass a greater range of environments is exciting.
4 – New Machines
New content is a no-brainer for sequels. Fans can expect dozens of new machines while exploring Forbidden West’s map. Mathijs name-dropped three enemies: Shell Snappers, Snapmaws, and Sun Wings.
Shell Snappers are giant turtle-like beasts with droves of greenery adorning their backs. They guard shores and swamps and can even use their backs to blend in if Forbidden West’s reveal trailer is taken at face value. Upon the Shell Snapper’s introduction, it’s seen rising from beneath the water, indicating players may need to show extra caution around bodies of water.
Snapmaws aren’t new to Forbidden West. They’re Zero Dawn’s mechanical crocodiles, but they pose a larger threat now that the game offers underwater exploration. Sun Wings are new, however, resembling pterodactyls. The name and footage may suggest their wings are powered by the sun. How this figures into combat is a mystery, but it’s an interesting idea.
3 – Virtually No Loading Screens
The PS5 SSD’s throughput allows Guerrilla Games to offer an expansive world with minimal loading screens. According to Mathijs, fast traveling, restarting from checkpoints, and booting up the game are “super-fast”. The fast loading goes hand-in-hand with level of detail streaming. Guerrilla Games found a striking solution to the PS4’s ancient drive, with a combination of smart LoD culling and procedurally generated elements. This freed up resources and increased the team’s workflow. A similar culling and procedural system are either unnecessary or can be enhanced with the SSD. Regardless, Guerrilla Games is taking advantage of the hardware in their own way.
2 – Larger, Denser Map
This is another expected, but welcome, addition to Horizon: Forbidden West. Its size in relation to the original title may remain a mystery seeing as Guerrilla never disclosed Zero Dawn metrics so as to maintain the illusion. The larger map is enhanced through further avenues for exploration. The addition of underwater swimming opens up a new range of mechanics, enemies, and interactions.
A slightly larger map feels more gargantuan in players’ hands when there’s more to do per square mile. It’s also worth commending Guerrilla for not taking the bigger, better approach by boasting about an exponentially larger map. Game worlds are large enough. It’s the level of interaction within those spaces that need work.
1 – 2021 Release Date
The trailer from last week’s event left some audiences out in the cold, ending without a date. The recent behind the scenes video, however, confirms Horizon: Forbidden West launches some time in 2021. It’s a vague window, but fans don’t have much longer to wait.