Horizon Forbidden West ArtworkSource: Sony Interactive Entertainment

One of the biggest games revealed at the June 2020 PS5 showcase was Horizon Forbidden West. Developed by Guerrilla Games, this PlayStation title is bringing the custom Decima engine and everything it's capable of to next-generation hardware.

Aloy returns as a protagonist, heading into the former western U.S. There are new threats, new machines, and new lush lands to explore. It's currently set to release at some point in 2021. Here's everything we know about Horizon Forbidden West on PS5 so far.

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What is Horizon Forbidden West?

Horizon Forbidden West TurtleHorizon Forbidden West TremortuskSource: Sony Interactive Entertainment and PlayStation

Horizon Forbidden West is a sequel to Guerrilla Games' Horizon Zero Dawn, released in 2017. It's an action role-playing game that takes place in the 31st century, in a world where humanity now exists in tribes and gigantic mechanical lifeforms roam the earth. Players play as Aloy, a young woman cast out of the Nora tribe who works to uncover the mysteries of the machines, what happened to the previous humans, and the current threat set to destroy the world.

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Horizon Forbidden West follows the events of Horizon Zero Dawn, as Aloy travels west and seeks to discover who sent a signal that activated HADES, an AI attempting to destroy all life. Given how the first game was a major critical and commercial success, it's very possible that Horizon Forbidden West will end up being one of the best PS5 games.

Can I check out some Horizon Forbidden West trailers?

Horizon Forbidden West San FranHorizon Forbidden West Aloy BowSource: Sony Interactive Entertainment

You can see the Horizon Forbidden West reveal trailer from The Future of Gaming PS5 event below:

Horizon Forbidden West Story, gameplay, and features

Horizon Forbidden West PlainsHorizon Forbidden West May 27 GliderSource: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Horizon Zero Dawn was an action RPG and Horizon Forbidden West will be as well. The story takes place in what was formerly the Western U.S., with the ruins of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco clearly visible in the trailer. Aloy is seeking to understand a mysterious corruption damaging the environment. At the same time, Sylens is in possession of HADES (from the previous game), seeking to understand the signal that first reactivated the AI. Aloy is again being performed by Ashly Burch, just like in Horizon Zero Dawn.

While gameplay in this sequel will likely be similar to its predecessor, the scope of the game is almost certainly larger. In the June State of Play we also see Aloy undertaking a mission to save Erend from the "rebel threat" while traveling along a beach and diving underwater. Rebels seem to be the main antagonists of this game and what makes them so dangerous is that they're able to get machines to attack for them. But Aloy's equipped with some new and returning gear to take them down.

Aloy's gadgets:

  • Focus: A device that sits on her ear and can scan environments to help her identify threats or climbing areas.
  • Pull Caster: Hook shots to compatible areas to pull Aloy through the air to new climbing pathways or allows her to get out of trouble in a hurry.
  • Shieldwing: Works like a glider allowing Aloy to descend slowly and safely from a high point.
  • Diving mask: Lets players stay submerged underwater "as long as you like." From what we've seen in videos, it seems underwater exploration will be a large focus in-game and Aloy will be able to make use of underwater currents to get around faster.
  • Spear: Aloy's spear helps override machines and can be charged up to create a high-damage effect or knock enemies backward.
  • Slingshot: There are various projectiles that provide different effects. For instance, Adhesive Grenades can temporarily stall machines.
  • Bows and arrows: Different arrows have different effects. For example, some explode on contact to strip machines of outer layers and expose weak spots.
  • Launcher: An automated weapon the fires spikes that explode on impact.
  • Smoke bombs: Temporarily blinds enemies when thrown in range.
  • Machines: As in the first game, Aloy can override various machines and use them to get around.

We've also seen some new machines:

  • Shellsnappers: A turtle-like creature resting in a swamp.
  • Tremortusks: Mammoth-esque machines being used as beasts of war by an unknown tribe.
  • Sunwings: Pterosaurs-styled machines searching the skies.
  • Clawstriders: A machine seen in the artwork that looks like a velociraptor.

We're keeping track of every machine in the game in an ever-updated bestiary, keeping track of the list of all machines, both new and returning in Horizon Forbidden West.

The soundtrack is being done at least partially by Joris de Man, with Julie Elven providing vocals. The song from the reveal trailer, Promise of the West, has been released on digital storefronts.

Horizon Forbidden West will take advantage of the new PS5 DualSense controller, using haptic feedback and adaptive triggers to enhance how different weapons feel. Guerrilla Games director Mathijs de Jonge has shared more information on the game in a video you can watch below.

Guerrilla Games, the development studio working on the game, are a part of Sony Worldwide Studios and the creators of the in-house Decima engine.

Will Horizon Forbidden West have multiplayer ?

According to a rumor from VGC, Horizon Zero Dawn was the start of a trilogy. VGC also claims that the second title (now revealed to be Horizon Forbidden West) would have co-op of some kind. Nothing has been officially confirmed as of yet though.

Is Horizon Forbidden West coming to PS4?

Horizon Forbidden West CoastSource: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Despite previously saying that Horizon Forbidden West would not be available on PS4, Sony confirmed after a September 2020 PS5 games showcase that it will in fact come to PS4 as well as PS5.

Is Horizon Forbidden West coming to PC?

Horizon Forbidden West Aloy UnderwaterHorizon Forbidden West May 27 UnderwaterSource: Sony Interactive Entertainment

As of right now, Horizon Forbidden West has only been announced for PS5. With that said, the complete edition of the first game, Horizon Zero Dawn, came to PC in August 2020. Other PS4 games are also being ported to PC, including Days Gone later in Spring 2021. As such, we wouldn't rule out the possibility that Horizon Forbidden West arrives on PC sometime after its release on PS4 and PS5. With that in mind, it's almost certainly not going to arrive alongside the console versions.

What's the release date?

Horizon Forbidden West Crashed PlaneHorizon Forbidden West DesertSource: Sony Interactive Entertainment

We don't have an exact time pegged down just yet, but Guerrilla provided a dedicated update, confirming that the team is aiming to release Horizon Forbidden West in 2021. In fact, the company stated that it thinks it is "on track to release this holiday season," but things aren't certain as of yet.

Hermen Hulst, head of Sony Worldwide Studios, has been blunt with how both Horizon Forbidden West and the next God of War were impacted during the pandemic due to limited access to performance capture technology.

"But when you're doing performance capture for a lot of cinematics, with multiple actors — that's not so simple to solve. So you've got a choice. You could do it later in the schedule, which could cause you problems. Or you could risk the final quality by doing it in a different way. But I can tell you, we're not going to risk the quality. We want to ship extremely high quality games, finished games, and we have to do that obviously without pushing our teams to the breaking point," Hulst said.

Both the original Horizon Zero Dawn and its expansion The Frozen Wilds were released in 2017, so Guerrilla has had over three years of development time. As such, despite many games being delayed due to the worldwide pandemic, there's no reason to believe the team at Guerrilla can't make the targeted release date of sometime in 2021.

With Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart having released back on June 11, if Horizon Forbidden West still makes 2021, it is almost certainly further out as a Q4 release. The game was reportedly delayed to Q1 2022 but PlayStation has not confirmed this news as yet.

We'll be sure to update you when we learn more information.


Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition cover art

Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition

A sequel is on its way, so play the first

Set centuries in the future where society as fallen and mechanical beasts roam the land, you must uncover a conspiracy that led to the apocalypse.

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