Our top PS5 game of 2021 is Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Forbidden West, and a new gameplay trailer demonstrates why. Since we last saw her in Horizon Zero Dawn, Aloy has learned a lot, and she’ll need it all as she faces off against some new and epic foes.
Aloy is exploring a sunnier new territory in the sequel, which includes the ruins of San Francisco, so the landscape looks a little different. In keeping with the environment, her new toys are a Pullcaster for climbing as well as a Shieldwing that serves as an umbrella, enabling her to leap from great heights.
Ben McCaw, narrative director at Guerrilla Games, promises that the game will also include a large selection of deadly machines.
Horizon Forbidden West is bursting with creatures of all shapes and sizes in the huge open world. Clawstriders and Tremortusks in the sky, Snapmaws and the smaller (yet still dangerous) Burrowers in the water.
Here’s everything we know about Horizon Forbidden West and when it’s coming out on PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4.
Release date for Horizon Forbidden West
For now, we know only that Horizon Forbidden West will be released in 2021. We can’t plan for a specific day, or even a month, just yet because Guerilla revealed a follow-up dev diary. There has been no indication yet as to when Horizon Forbidden West will be released, but do expect to return to Aloy by the end of 2019.
PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 gamers will be able to play Horizon Forbidden West when it launches in 2021 on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.
PS5 (and PS4) exclusive Horizon Forbidden West
Horizon Forbidden West currently requires a PS5 or PS4 to play – for now. Horizon Forbidden West is not guaranteed to follow the same path as Horizon Zero Dawn, which is now out on Windows PC.
At the time, Herman Hulst, the head of PlayStation Worldwide Studios, said that releasing one first-party AAA game to PC didn’t mean all games would follow. The development of Horizon Zero Dawn made sense in this particular case. It isn’t the next day or the next week [PC releases], and we remain 100% committed to dedicated hardware.
A recent PS5 development diary echoed the comment of game director Mathijs de Jonge that the PlayStation 5’s SSD will virtually eliminate loading screens. Mark Cerny is also a supporter of the SSD. Horizon Forbidden West is an open-world game, so if you fast travel between the two ends or restart from a checkpoint, you’re right in the middle of the action. I like it because there’s no need to wait.”
Horizon Forbidden West story
“Horizon Forbidden West brings Aloy’s adventure to a far-future America where she will face astonishing machines and mysterious threats in a majestic, but dangerous frontier.”
We learn more in the trailer, however. With a Golden Gate Bridge that is engulfed in greenery and the Palace of Fine Arts that is ruined and submerged, we are introduced to a post-apocalyptic San Francisco. Also as Aloy explores this new world, she will meet other tribes.
Game director Mathijs de Jonge confirmed in a separate video that the Forbidden West itself will stretch from Utah to the Pacific coast, making the in-game map “bigger” than the one in Horizon Zero Dawn.
A mysterious crimson blight has been ravaging the Forbidden West, killing plants, animals, and tribes, as well as creating a weather pattern that is unrelenting and nearly uncontrollable. Her quest to find a cure for the blight will involve meeting new tribes and facing many new machines, including one hostile tribe that can override machines.
Ben McCaw explains that Aloy will have new tools available to assist her.
As she climbs, the Pullcaster speeds things up; the Shieldwing / Shield Wing gives her great confidence when descending from great heights (or surprising enemies from above); and the Diving Mask / Diving Mask opens up a whole new underwater world to explore. Also, her Focus has been greatly upgraded, now showing areas that can be free-climbed, and allowing her to control a larger variety of mounts and combat machines.”
Horizon Forbidden West gameplay
Her trusty spear and bow – with arrows of various types – remain her standard weapons, but Aloy has a few new ones as well.
On the PlayStation Blog, Ben McCaw, narrative director of Guerrilla Games, writes that Aloy will have new tools to help her along the way.
“The Pullcaster makes climbing faster, and the Shieldwing allows her to descend from great heights safely (or surprise enemies from above). Not to mention big improvements in her Focus feature, which shows her new locations that allow free climbing and the ability to override more machines for combat.”
According to McCaw, the large variety of weapons and gear will give players the option to choose how to deal with the challenges in this new environment.
Soundtrack of Horizon Forbidden West
In addition to the first track featured in the trailer for Horizon Forbidden West, Guerilla and Sony have released other tracks from the soundtrack on various streaming services. Joris de Man, a well-known Dutch video game composer, did the score. This dynamic mix of sounds culminates in an epic ending with a strong thump.
Diving into the new world of Horizon
Horizon Zero Dawn is the ideal platform on which to build Horizon Forbidden West.
Horizon Forbidden West seems to look very good so far thanks to the PS5, the DualSense controller, and the 3D Audio capabilities; we can tell from the footage so far that it’s quite stunning.
More RPG elements and better story shaping and world interaction would be appreciated.
But Horizon Zero Dawn still feels fresh today, so even if Gurrila Games can just build on that formula with Horizon Forbidden West, they’re likely to have a winner on their hands.