Game Informer have posted a new video interview with Horizon Forbidden West game director Mathijs de Jonge and narrative director Benjamin McCaw which has revealed some new details for the game.
The game will start six months after the end of the first game during which Aloy has been on a mission. She has spotted the red light which is signalling the “end of the biosphere” and the death of the planet, and to save the day she heads to the Forbidden West. She will hook up with some old friends such as Erend and Sylens, but also meet new characters. “One of the things we wanted to do is increase the amount of time that Aloy spends with her companions,” explains Benjamin, perhaps a hint that AI characters may join Aloy?
Benjamin also states that there are “many, many more locations” other than San Francisco, the only area we saw in the trailer, “and some of them you will recognise.” There will be many different terrain types, from jungles to Frozen Wild type landscapes.
Aloy now has a free climbing mechanic, “Compared to the previous game you are now completely free to climb anywhere, on any land or cliffs, we’ve really opened up the world to make it more inviting to explore,” commented Mathijs. The combination of climbing, the grappling hook, and the glider are said to make the game feel very “agile”.
The recent gameplay demo, which you can view above, also showed off a new addition to the series, ‘Valour Surges’. The Valour Surge bar is shown on the bottom of the screen and must be filled by playing tactically by landing headshots or shooting off armour from enemies. The video shows a 360 blast which knocks back enemies, the only Valour Surge they are revealing at present.
There is a new melee system and greatly expanded from the previous game, with combos allowing you to chain together strikes, “There’s a lot more depth, and growth in the skill tree for the melee systems,” said Benjamin.
Mathijs also confirmed that a lot of playtesting is happening on PlayStation 4 to ensure players with the old console still get a “great experience”, but the PlayStation 5 version will have more detail and different rendering techniques for the underwater sections of the game. The lighting on the PS5 version is also more defined and it uses the cinematic lighting rig throughout the entire game, whereas the PS4 version only uses it in cut scenes.
There is also a new, completely overhauled skill tree which will support different playstyles, and full support for 3D audio and the DualSense controller.
“Development is still on track,” adds Mathijs, “but we just want to be super confident when we announce the release date that we’re going to hit it. We just need a little bit more time and we can come back with a final release date.”