Following the blog post highlighting evolving Aloy for Horizon Forbidden West, developer Guerrilla Games has released a new post, this time detailing some of the new gameplay abilities that players can look forward to in Horizon Forbidden West. The biggest thing that Guerrilla Games wanted to do for the Horizon sequel was to double down on player choice and player freedom. “There’s a number of other subtle yet impactful additions that enable more dynamic gameplay,” David McMullen, Lead Systems Designer, Guerrilla Games said. “Just to name a few examples: Aloy can wall jump, leap away from a climb surface, high vault, and more. While these might sound like small things, combined they make for engaging environmental challenges and more player options.” Lead Combat Designer Dennis Zopfi said, “we put a lot of effort into creating more choice and depth for the players, and are super excited to see how people will play as Aloy with so many new possibilities of skills, weapons and gear she can obtain throughout the mysterious Forbidden West. We had a lot of fun creating cool and powerful combinations for players to discover, and we hope people will enjoy the game when it launches!”
Use Aloy’s wrist-mounted Pullcaster to grab far off chests or launch into the sky. More on Horizon Forbidden West’s new tools and traversal abilities: https://t.co/QxfXQcn9Yk pic.twitter.com/mCkgEQrvNi
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The gameplay trailer released earlier this year showcased a lot of new things for Horizon Forbidden West in terms of combat and exploration. There are new ways to move through the world. “Aloy can climb freely on and across huge sections of rocky terrain; even more machine types can be used as mounts; grapple points can be found throughout the environment which allows agile vertical traversal; swimming underwater has opened up a whole new aspect of exploration; and gliding with the Shieldwing provides the ultimate view of the beautiful world of Horizon Forbidden West,” McMullen said. “Not to mention a quick way down from great heights!” Aloy now has the ability and freedom to climb wherever she wants with the new free-climbing system. She can climb large sections in the terrain (where it makes sense visually and narratively) without the use of handholds. Talking about what went into some of these new ways to traverse the world, McMullen says that everything was in service of increasing dynamic interactivity with the world around you. “This wide array of new options also posed challenges to how we think about level design. We need to allow for players to outsmart us, using new moves or tools to bypass some of our challenges in clever and unpredictable ways,” McMullen said. “Traversal puzzles won’t always have a binary solution; we encourage players to experiment and have fun with the new tools. We will offer a variety of challenges, regardless of playstyle or skill or previous experience in Horizon Zero Dawn.”
Guerrilla Games also takes advantage of the power of the PlayStation 5 and the DualSense Wireless Controller as it is featured heavily throughout the game’s mechanics. Players will be able to feel things like the scrape of rubble as you push a crate, to the sensation of an unraveling winch as you use the Pullcaster. McMullen says, “We’ve also added extra tactile dimensions to increase both the gameplay value and the feeling of being part of the world Aloy is moving around in; these can be subtle as the sensation of grass brushing around you to indicate you are entering stealth grass, or the pop of the adaptive trigger as you reach maximum draw with a bow. We even use the absence of adaptive tension to help communicate when you’re out of ammo.”
In terms of combat, Guerrilla Games wanted to bring both melee and ranged combat closer together. Dennis Zopfi said “One of the focus points that influenced all our combat decisions was increased player choice, and we applied this to everything: melee, weapons, outfits, skills and other new mechanics. We wanted to give players more tools, depth and dials to play with.” “Aloy is not a character who deals with brute force, so we were looking for ways to have the player go back and forth between melee and range, where she could use her precise bow skills to work towards a big payoff moment, “Zopfi added. “A new example of a skill that does this is the Resonator Blast, where you charge up the spear with melee hits and when fully powered up, the energy can be placed on enemies (humans and machines alike) and followed up with a projectile – resulting in a big damaging explosion!” Another new ability coming to the game is the Valor Surge. There are 12 in total. Each represent and strengthen a different approach to the game. They are unlocked and upgraded through the skill tree. Valor Surges have three levels. The higher the level, the longer the charge up, and the more powerful the attack is. Valor is obtained through skillful actions like hitting weak spots on enemies or removing components.
The skill tree was also updated for the sequel. “In Horizon Zero Dawn, skills were brought up and unlocked as you leveled up,” Zopfi explains. “While that principle remains in the sequel, we completely redesigned the skill tree with additional tracks and skills; within the skill tree, skills also synergize with those that are either already present on outfits or need to be unlocked on them.”
Guerrilla Games also talked a little how combat encounters are going to be a little different in Horizon Forbidden West. In the first game, machine and humanoid encounters were very seperate. They never operated as a group. In the sequel, they will. “When it comes to mounted combat, the player will have to adapt and decide whom to take out first and in what most effective way; human enemies have weapons, attacks, and abilities that machines don’t and vice versa, so they complement each other in these encounters; keeping you on your toes!” Zopfi said. Along with new combat and traversal abilities, Players will have the opportunity to fight with new weapons. Zopfi says “the goal for weapons in Horizon Forbidden West was to give each of them a stronger personality, which is also expressed in how you have to handle them. Each weapon has their strengths and weaknesses in terms of the ideal situations to use them in.” Each weapon comes with different perks, ammo types, and weapon coil slots to customize them further – though some weapons need to be upgraded first before you can make them stronger. That’s what the new workbench mechanic is for. Aloy can upgrade and strengthen weapons and outfits which unlocks new perks, mod slots, skills, and offers a bigger degree of new customization, resistances, and new abilities.
Horizon Forbidden West releases on February 18, 2022, for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.