In Horizon: Forbidden West, the machines are meant to be larger than life

The great metal family

It has become regular on the official PlayStation blog : Guerrilla offers new details to fans regarding the design and Horizon World: Forbidden West via a new ticket. This time it is about new machines that will have to face Aloy, how the studio imagined and designed them, and gameplay changes and novelties that this implies.

This aspect of the game is so important that the Amsterdam studio has created a position dedicated to overseeing their creation: principal machine designer, occupied by Blake Politeski. The latter indicates that Forbidden West hopes, even if it is populated by animal robots, to propose a credible and plausible ecosystem.

Forbidden West will allow machines to cross again de Zero Dawn, but it will indeed be a question of fighting new machines in the prohibited west, like the Claw Gallops and Defense Strikes seen in the lengthy gameplay video that aired last May.

  • We’re going to be able to explore a new part of the Horizon world, ”says Blake. “It was exciting to think about what kind of machines were going to live in the different ecological zones and how they would interact with each other as well as with their environment and, of course, with humans. Machines are kind of the gatekeepers of this world, the way they get their job done and the way players can take advantage of their behavior has always been fascinating.
  • During the development of Horizon Zero Dawn, we had lots of ideas. Of course, we couldn’t put everything into the first game, but Horizon Forbidden West allows us to combine some hitherto unworkable ideas with new, interesting concepts!

Horizon: Zero Dawn already offered 25 different machines, each with a well-defined role in its nature protection mission. The Forbidden West Challenge was to invent new machines that could fit into this ecosystem, but also to surprise the player with new mechanics and new types of clashes.

For example, Aloy’s new capabilities should make it easier for him to explore his surroundings, as well in the air than under water. The same was therefore necessary for the machines:

  • We knew we wanted a flying machine a little bigger than the Spark, which resulted in the Helionwing, but we needed a place and a role in the world. We studied several flying reptiles and primitive birds for inspiration, and we imagined the concept of wings that recover solar energy in good weather. This has created an interesting game dynamic: Helion Wings are vulnerable when collecting solar energy, but also more alert to potential predators in this passive state.
  • This unique type of behavior is a foundation that one develops when working out the role of machines in the universe. We always try to make the machines connected and have a higher purpose so that the whole system, the ecosystem of machines, is in harmony. Like in the real world!

Aspect already seen in the gameplay video from last May, Aloy will take advantage of new tools and capabilities to to rub shoulders with new machines, potentially hacked by Regalla members. It was already a strong point of Zero Dawn, most Forbidden West wants to push the tactical sense of the players always further, and machine design contributes enormously to this:

Horizon Forbidden West’s machines are more mobile from all points of view: they jump, swim, cling to the walls … Aloy will therefore have to adapt, and she will benefit from new movement mechanics to help her. There is also more focus on Aloy’s ability to analyze and predict a clash in advance, as well as his possibilities of escape if all doesn’t go as planned.

This is for example the case of the famous Defense Strike particularly tough: it will be necessary to watch out for your arsenal and meticulously destroy its various vital parts to get to the end of it. Good preparation is more than advisable to triumph, especially as the presence of a human threat shouldn’t make it easier.

  • We tried to highlight this in the design of the machines, and specific textures indicate weak points or interactive components. You will have to study each machine well to discover the different ways of facing it.
  • Defense Strike is based on a mammoth, with elements borrowed from war elephants from history and cinema. He benefits from many different attacks and a body covered with many weapons. In addition to his defenses which he uses for close attacks, he has at his disposal a whole elemental arsenal.
  • In Horizon Forbidden West, enemy human factions can control the machines, so it seemed logical to pair them with this monster to create our own “war elephant,” equipped with a platform from which humans can shoot Aloy.

Finally, the ticket reminds that Aloy will also be able to hack machines for its own benefit. They mainly served of frames in the first opus, but Forbidden West should bring more depth to this mechanism, in particular use in combat.

Some machines can also help Aloy unintentionally. If a machine is looking for certain resources that Aloy needs, it can guide you to a supply if you watch it carefully. Thanks to hacking, Aloy can now control the behavior of a machine to a certain extent by setting it in offensive or defensive mode.

As a reminder, Horizon: Forbidden West will be available February 18 on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. The title will not benefit from one, but two Collector’s editions.


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