Horizon Forbidden West’s robot animal population will make use of ideas that couldn’t be achieved on the first game in the series – including different behaviors, abilities, and weaknesses.
In a new post on the PlayStation Blog, Guerrilla Games designers revealed new details about a variety of Horizon Forbidden West’s machine creatures. With the new game comes new possibilities, so the team wanted to explore new areas in the game and how different types of machines would live in various ecological zones, such as bodies of water.
“During Horizon Zero Dawn’s development, we had a ton of ideas — of course not everything could make it into the first game, but now with Horizon Forbidden West we’ve been able to match some exciting ideas that previously weren’t feasible with new and interesting concepts,” said principal machine designer Blake Politeski.
The machines have different behavioral patterns that Aloy can take advantage of. For example, she can use the dust that a machine kicks up while digging for resources as her own cover and sneak up on it. Additionally, the machines in Horizon Forbidden West are more mobile than before. They can jump, swim, and hold on to surfaces. As such, Aloy has new tools to adapt to these new threats such as smoke bombs and the ability to climb.
Of course, alongside new behaviors there are new machines, too, which have been designed to fit Forbidden West’s new coastal setting. The Sunwing, a flying machine that’s larger than Horizon Zero Dawn’s Glinthawk, uses its wings to collect solar energy during sunny weather. While they are vulnerable when harvesting solar power, they are also more alert to surrounding threats when idle.
Speaking of vulnerability, every machine has also been designed with multiple means to defeat it. “We tried to make it clear for players through the machine design, and added textures to show the weak points or interactive components,” explained asset art lead Maxim Fleury. “You’ll need to study each machine closely to find different ways to approach it.”
Aloy is also able to override more machines, allowing her to ride them, or even change their behavior, making them more aggressive or defensive.
The narrative reasons for machines’ existence have also been thought through. The Tremortusk was revealed back in May, a huge war elephant-like machine, which was created to protect other species so they could carry on their duties without human interference.
Horizon Forbidden West launches on February 17, 2022, for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Check out some of the new tools that Aloy has at her disposal, such as the Pullcaster and Shieldwing, as well as some of her new gear that offers new skills.
George Yang is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @yinyangfooey