Horizon Forbidden West’s Open World ‘Feels More Alive And More Real Than Ever’

Horizon II: Forbidden West

This isn’t the first time we’ve read a Horizon Forbidden West blog post to see what Guerrilla Games has been up to. Not only is Aloy more dynamic and realistic-looking in this new chapter, she’ll also be exploring an immense map with its fair share of cutting-edge qualities. According to lead living world designer Espen Sogn, the dev team hopes that players will “encounter a world that feels more alive and more real than ever.” And knowing the impressive pedigree of Guerrilla Games, this will likely be the case.

The latest blog post states that designing Horizon Forbidden West’s sandbox was all about maintaining authenticity. This is primarily reflected in the cultural norms of the tribes that Aloy meets. Espen mentions two tribes and juxtaposes their customs to showcase the player’s positionality in the world at large:

“The Oseram are a social and historically patriarchal tribe, so their animations are more about shoulder punches and high fives. The Utaru, on the other hand, are laid back, so they will often sit down together and be a bit more touchy-feely.”

This level of authenticity is also apparent in customization options. Aloy can upgrade her weapons (she can now carry up to six in addition to her spear) at workbenches. More importantly, Senior designer Steven Lumpkin states that any equipable clothing options reflect a tribe’s access to certain commodities while also providing bonuses and resistances.

“Clothing reflects a unique style, as well as the materials a tribe has access to and knows how to use,” Lumpkin says. “Hunters from the Nora tend to favor ranged combat and stealthy hunting. Carja excel at the use of traps and tripwires. The boisterous Oseram love fighting up close and personal with a hammer. The Tenakth and Utaru have their own preferences as well — and the outfits Aloy can acquire from each culture tend to reflect and support these unique approaches to combat.”

Everything in Horizon Forbidden West’s game world serves some narrative purpose. “When you’re out in the Forbidden West, our hope is that the story is reflected in every detail of the world,” Senior writer Annie Kitain reiterates. “Aloy’s journey will take her through some really gorgeous settlements, allowing her to meet many interesting characters, trade for cool new gear, and prepare herself for the challenges ahead.”

Horizon Forbidden West launches for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 on February 18. Read Everything New In Horizon Forbidden West to stay informed on what Guerrilla Games has in store. 

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