Sony and Guerrilla Games have finally announced Horizon Forbidden West, the highly anticipated sequel to 2017’s Horizon Zero Dawn. Players will once again be jumping into the shoes of Aloy as she grapples with gigantic mechanical beasts and tries to uncover the secrets of her mysterious world. But with only one trailer under its belt, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the upcoming PlayStation 5 title.
We’ve pieced together clues found in the trailer, hints from the previous game, and even speculation from around the web to give you all the information we currently have about Horizon Forbidden West.
Horizon Zero Dawn summary
Before looking ahead to Forbidden West, it’s important to understand the basics of Zero Dawn. The new game looks to be a true sequel, and since Horizon Zero Dawn released over three years ago, its twisting storyline has probably faded from your memory.
Without spoiling too much, Horizon Zero Dawn follows the journey of Aloy as she attempts to uncover her mysterious past and the forgotten origins of her world. She lives on a futuristic version of planet Earth, one that is overrun by mechanical beasts while humans are forced to live in small tribes scattered across the land. Aloy is in possession of a device called a Focus, giving her unique sensory abilities that helps her navigate the hostile planet.
Throughout her journey, Aloy is attacked by cultists, discovers a plan that could end human existence, and traces back the origins of her own family. The game ends with a massive cliffhanger, and there’s much that needs to be wrapped up in Forbidden West.
Horizon Forbidden West basics
Release Date: N/A
Developer: Guerilla Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 5
Horizon Forbidden West trailer
It’s the only trailer released so far, and it’s also the primary source of Horizon Forbidden West information. Here’s an in-depth breakdown of the recent trailer.
Unfortunately, the trailer doesn’t reveal much about the story of Forbidden West. Aloy’s voice can be heard stating that it has been “1,000 years since the Old Ones fell,” but since the entire timeline of the Horizon series is a bit murky, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when this new title is taking place. Aloy doesn’t look much older than she did in the first installment, so we’ll go out on a limb and say Forbidden West takes place shortly after Zero Dawn.
There also seems to be some strange red plant that’s causing the death of nearby wildlife. Aloy examines the deadly new flora near the body of a dying fox in the trailer. Numerous other animals are infected with this plague, hinting that it could play a big part in the upcoming title.
An official statement on the PlayStation Blog says that this new chapter will continue “Aloy’s story as she moves west to a far-future America to brave a majestic, but dangerous frontier where she’ll face awe-inspiring machines and mysterious new threats.” It’s not much help when determining the story, but it does hint at the game’s new location.
That cryptic blog post isn’t the only thing that hints at a new location — the game’s name practically gives it away. Horizon Forbidden West will likely take place near modern-day San Francisco. A beautiful coastline is featured during the opening moments of the trailer, and we even get a glimpse of what appears to be the ruins of the Golden Gate Bridge. There’s also the usual variety of mountains and plains that have become mandatory in open-world games — it seems that much has changed with San Francisco and its surroundings over the years.
The September issue of PlayStation Official Magazine – U.K. revealed some more specific locations. The game will take place between Utah and the Pacific Ocean, and both San Francisco and the Yosemite Valley are going to be playable locations. The Golden Gate Bridge will indeed make an appearance, even though it’s mostly been submerged.
Game director Mathijs De Jonge said, “With the additional power of the PS5, we can make the world even more detailed, more vibrant, more immersive.”
Horizon Forbidden West is heading into uncharted territory with underwater gameplay. One interesting segment displays Aloy sneaking through an aquatic forest before stumbling upon a couple of mechanical alligators, possibly Snapmaws from the original. Considering these beasts were a pain to fight when they were out of water, we can’t imagine how terrifying they’ll be in their natural habitat.
It should come as no surprise, but Aloy will be up against a whole new cast of enemies in this western location. The brief trailer showed a monstrous mechanical turtle, a strange mammoth-like creature, and a bunch of others soaring off in the distance.
There were a few familiar faces as well, such as the aforementioned Snapmaw, but we also laid eyes on a Charger and Scrappers.
Then, there was Sylens. We won’t say much, as we don’t want to spoil the fun for those who haven’t finished the original, but it looks like they’ll be making another appearance — and we’d bet they have a very significant role to play.
Aloy is still rocking the Focus she picked up from the first game, meaning players will likely have access to many of the same abilities they had in Zero Dawn. Expect to see its use expanded in some form — after all, there’s bound to be incredible technology in the ruins of Silicon Valley.
Other than the Focus, Aloy is still sporting a bow and arrow, can still mount Chargers for quick traversal, and — minor spoiler — still seems to be missing her staff.
Horizon Forbidden West speculation
Outside of these concrete details from the trailer, little else is known. There was early speculation that the title would be a cooperative experience, but nothing is yet confirmed. There certainly was no co-op shown in the trailer; however, it’s possible Guerrilla Games is saving that reveal for a later date.
Horizon Forbidden West is rumored to be much larger than the first installment, which, based on how massive Zero Dawn was, is quite impressive. There’s also a rumor that Forbidden West will focus more on exploration than its predecessor.
Horizon Forbidden West development supposedly began shortly after the first title released and was actually slated to launch on the PlayStation 4. However, as the game grew in scale and the reality of development set in, it was reportedly pushed to the next generation. Here’s hoping it’s worth the wait.
UPDATE: Added new locations for game on July 31.