Horizon Forbidden West: Release Date, Gameplay, Story, and What We Know So Far

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Horizon Forbidden West, the sequel to 2017’s Horizon: Zero Dawn, promises to continue the adventures of Aloy as she journeys across the post-post-apocalyptic U.S., fighting robot dinosaurs, and exploring sunken ruins. With PlayStation and Sony announcing the game at their June 2020 PlayStation 5 reveal event, the speculation train has officially left the station.

Horizon: Forbidden West Release Date

Horizon Forbidden West is confirmed for the PS5 and Guerilla Games is “aiming” to release it in 2021. That’s all developer Guerilla Games has said about the sequel so far. That means it won’t be a release window game for the PlayStation 5, which is launching during the “holiday 2020” window.

Horizon Forbidden West Story: New Threats, New Locations

When we last left Aloy at the end of Horizon Zero Dawn, she had defeated the rampant A.I. HADES. Along the way, Aloy also learned the truth about the world: How a company named Faro Automated Solutions lost control of its army of military robots that could subsist on any biomass for fuel, and how Aloy is a clone of Dr. Elisabet Sobeck, the researcher in charge of “Project Zero Dawn” (a vast network of cloning facilities) and how GAIA, the A.I. system that was corrupted by HADES, was responsible for reseeding the earth after it was once again habitable -- and that’s just the Cliff Notes version.

In the reveal trailer, we see a new threat emerge, which Guerilla Games calls the “red blight.” It manifests as a moldy mass of red vines that can infect its way into lifeforms and the surrounding environment. Aloy finds a fox (a real one, not a robo-fox) that’s been infected and on death’s door before another, considerably larger creature interrupts her.

It’s currently unclear if the red blight infects robotic lifeforms rather than just organic, like the corruption that plagued the robots in the first game. The red blight is also seemingly responsible for the “supercell storms,” a chaotic swirl of wind and red lightning that covers the sky.

Aloy’s journey to address this new threat will evidently take her from Utah out to the west coast, specifically a post-post-apocalyptic San Francisco. In the reveal trailer, we see an underwater ruin resembling San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, which is a mere eight-minute walk from the north bay coastline.

All that said, HADES was not fully destroyed by Aloy. Sylens (played by Lance Reddick), the former leader of the HADES-worshipping Eclipse organization and the deuteragonist of Horizon Zero Dawn, managed to contain a portion of HADES in a mysterious jar-like device and take it with him to an unknown desert location where a giant war machine lay dormant. There, Sylens told HADES he would discover who originally sent the signal to activate the malicious A.I. It’s still unclear if all the red blight plaguing the west is HADES’ doing, though. Sylens has also seemingly joined a new faction that’s fond of capturing and corrupting robots.

Other brief glimpses in the reveal trailer show that Aloy will at some point visit the Sierra Nevada mountains (where another dormant war machine rests) and the Embarcadero Ferry Building on San Francisco’s Pier. We also see Aloy dust off a sign reading “casino” in simplified Chinese, indicating we may visit Las Vegas, although it could be a part of San Francisco’s Chinatown. Another few shots show the rounded top of the mountains El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite, about 200 real-life miles east of San Francisco. A final shot gives us a sweeping view of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

Horizon Forbidden West Gameplay

We haven’t seen any actual gameplay of Horizon Forbidden West so far, but a few images in the reveal trailer indicate some changes are possibly on the way.

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