In the post, Principal Machine Designer Blake Politeski and Asset Art Lead Maxim Fleury talk about expanding on ideas they had for the original Horizon Zero Dawn, the process of designing and creating each machine as well as how they fit into the game’s upgraded combat systems.
The full article is well worth a read, but we’ve picked out some of the most interesting details here.
For starters, the new biomes and locales in Horizon Forbidden West have meant that the team has been able to really dive into each existing and new robotic animal’s place in the ecosystem. For example the new Sunwing, a larger flying machine than the first game’s Glinthawk, collects solar energy through its wings making it vulnerable when it’s out harvesting power in the sunlight but much more alert when it’s resting.
These machine behaviours will often create new opportunities for Aloy to deal with them beyond simply taking them head-on. Another example given is the dust clouds created by a machine digging in the ground – allowing Aloy to use them as a visual cover and sneak up on the machine while it’s busy and distracted.
Machines are also more capable this time around, using their mobility to manoeuvre the environment by jumping, climbing and swimming, meaning Aloy’s expanded traversal capabilities are going to be essential. Planning ahead of an encounter will be more important than ever to ensure Aloy covers every base when it comes to an enemy’s typical behaviours.
The machines in Forbidden West will even have an expanded range of calls and audio cues for player’s to learn and recognise, made all the more immersive using the PlayStation 5’s Tempest 3D audio tech.
Aloy’s Override ability is boosted in Forbidden West too. She’ll be able to Override more machines than ever, and can switch some of them between aggressive or defensive states. Carefully observing machines in the wild may even lead Aloy to precious resources as they go foraging for themselves.