It’s been a bit quiet on the Horizon Forbidden West front since we last saw the game in May’s special State of Play presentation, but thanks to Guerilla and PlayStation, patient fans have been treated to a deep dive into some of Aloy’s new weapons and abilities in the much-anticipated sequel.
Guerilla’s Community Lead, Bo de Vries, guests on the PlayStation Blog in the second entry of the game’s developer blog series to talk about traversal and survival in Forbidden West. You can read it in full here, but we’ve broken down some of the juicier details below.
One of the most immediate and exciting additions to Horizon’s exploration gameplay comes in the form of free-climbing, which allows Aloy to traverse surfaces that previously would only be accessible by pre-designed handholds. Now, certain surfaces like rocky areas and structures that make sense physically will be climbable, as we got a look at in previous footage. And, she can now wall jump!
As far as new tools goes, Aloy will now have the Pullcaster and the Shieldwing, both of which we saw glimpses of in the State of Play gameplay. The Pullcaster is a dual-function device that allows Aloy to grapple and quickly scale the environment and launch herself up above ledges which should prove to be a useful mechanic for making fast escapes. The Pullcaster can also be used as a winch to pull items from out of reach and tear into the environment (and presumably enemies!).
The Shieldwing takes advantage of all of the added verticality in Horizon Forbidden West to let Aloy safely glide down from heights, and she can even use it to safely land on her mount or strike enemies from above.
This same increased focus on player choice translates to combat, where Guerilla has greatly expanded Aloy’s tactical options. In particular, the team wanted to bring melee and ranged combat closer together in a way that makes sense for her character.
One example of this is the new Resonator Blast, which sees Aloy mark enemies with an energy that’s built up from successive melee attacks and then detonate that energy with a projectile hit for a huge explosion. Aloy will also have access to special Valor Surge abilities that are unlocked through a skill tree and give players further options in combat to suit their playstyle.
In this growing and changed world, humanoid and machine enemies are also now starting to work together in meaningful ways, which means that Aloy will often encounter them operating as a group and will have to adapt to fighting mounted enemies.
Guerrilla’s Lead Combat Designer, Dennis Zopfi, says “We put a lot of effort into creating more choice and depth for the players, and are super excited to see how people will play as Aloy with so many new possibilities of skills, weapons and gear she can obtain throughout the mysterious Forbidden West. We had a lot of fun creating cool and powerful combinations for players to discover, and we hope people will enjoy the game when it launches!”