If you enjoyed cracking your best David Attenborough impression out and narrating the peculair lives of all the mechanical beasts in Horizon Zero Dawn as you explored Aloy's home region, you're going to love taking it up a notch in Horizon Forbidden West.
In a new PlayStation Blog post, Guerrilla's principal machine designer Blake Politeski has explained the process of designing machine creatures for the game, and has shed some light on some of the new creatures that will join the 25 familiar mechanical faces on the PS4 and PS5 sequel.
Let's start with the new machine, the Sunwing. Apparently the studio wanted bigger avian creatures this time around, and this new enemy was designed to fill that airborne gap. "We knew we wanted a slightly bigger flying machine than the Glinthawk, which resulted in the Sunwing - but it needed a place and a role in the world," explains Politeski.
"We studied various flying reptiles and primitive birds for inspiration, and came up with the concept of their wings collecting solar energy during sunny weather. This in turn created an interesting gameplay dynamic: Sunwings will be vulnerable when they are harvesting solar power, but are also more alert to potential predators when they are idle."
There's also a huge new Tremortusk, which has been designed with "a nod to the historic and cinematic examples of the great war elephants." Will Aloy and her bow be able to take them down like Legolas does in the third Lord of the Rings film? We'll have to wait and see.
In terms of actual gameplay, the designer noted that each machine will have multiple ways to be defeated in the new game, per asset art lead Maxim Fleury:
"We tried to make it clear for players through the machine design, and added textures to show the weak points or interactive components. You'll need to study each machine closely to find different ways to approach it."
To achieve this, the team has been working on ways of allowing Aloy to better survey and plan encounters before she jumps in to deal with the enemies stalking around the environment. You can use the Override mechanic, returning from the first game, to switch machines between aggressive and defensive states. The machines have also been outfitted with more sounds, giving you audio cues for idling, alerting others, and initiating attacks(that will be even more impressive via the PS5's 3D audio).
This follows the recent delay of Horizon Zero Dawn. Sony Interactive Entertainment and developer Guerrilla Games delayed Horizon Forbidden West to February 18, 2022 back in August, nudging it back from its previously planned holiday 2021 release window.
The delay didnt' come as too much of a surprise, though; back in June, PlayStation Studios head Herman Hulst said that while the game was “on track” for release this year around the holidays, “that isn’t quite certain yet.”
Horizon Forbidden West is due out on PS4 and PS5 on February 18, 2022.