Developers behind Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores have addressed the DLC’s ending decision, and the subequent review bombing the game suffered as a result.
Please note, there will be spoilers for Horizon Forbidden West Burning Shores below.
During the events of Burning Shores, Aloy meets Seyka, an “ambitious marine of the Quen tribe who has stepped up to help her people survive”. Ahead of the DLC’s release, Seyka was touted as a character that would be Aloy’s equal, with actress Ashly Burch even saying “Aloy may have met her match”.
Towards the end of Burning Shores, there is the choice to make this match a more romantic one, and players can select a dialogue option that will lead to Aloy and Seyka sharing a kiss. This kiss led to the DLC getting review bombed on Metacritic, with numerous negative comments made about Aloy’s sexuality.
In conversation with VGC, narrative director Ben McCaw and lead writer Annie Kitain discussed this backlash further, stating that they appreciate constructive feedback, but find those comments that are needlessly negative “pretty easy to ignore”.
“We love it when they have constructive feedback about this or that. And we’re perfectly happy when they say they don’t like this or that, with regard to virtually any aspect of the game that they’ve really thought about,” McCaw shared.
“But when there’s just this kind of blatant negativity, I personally find it pretty easy to just compartmentalise and realise that this is a mindset I can never really jive with, and that sort of thing.”
As far as which ending the developers believe was canon, it is not a case of Aloy either being gay or straight. Rather, Burning Shores’ final choice is more about a reflection of Aloy’s journey in Horizon Zero Dawn and Forbidden West.
“[Burning Shore’s final choices] are really a continuation of a theme that we have in both games, about her not being ready for various types of social contact, because of her upbringing, but also because of the enormous challenges that she faces ahead,” McCaw explained, before saying he felt every choice was viable.
Kitain, meanwhile, cemented the fact that Aloy’s feelings for Seyka are “all still true”, but the option to either see the couple kiss or not is more about “whether the player thinks Aloy’s ready to take that next step and have this romantic encounter or whether Aloy isn’t there yet”.
Either way, “it’s valid,” Kitain explained.
Earlier this year, Guerrilla confirmed that Aloy’s adventures will not end with Burning Shores, and another game in the Horizon series is in the pipeline.
In addition to this, we also have a TV adaptation in the works, with The Umbrella Academy’s executive producer attached to the project.
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