What does Aloy’s second adventure have in hold? Early Friday morning, Sony finally revealed the first gameplay from Horizon Forbidden West, including more information about the faction system at the heart of the Horizon Zero Dawn sequel, new enemies, and some of Forbidden West‘s new environments.
The game, which is still launching on both the PS4 and PS5, began with a small pre-stream show featuring camera footage of a rocky, desert location that was eerily similar to the opening areas of Horizon: Zero Dawn. It also gave everyone a little taste of what Sony’s E3 showing might have been, as the company opted not to have a presence at E3 again (albeit digitally) for the second year in a row.
When the gameplay reveal began properly, Mathijs De Jonge was introduced as the game director for Horizon Forbidden West. De Jonge confirmed some of the new environments had been revealed in the pre-show beforehand, and that all footage to follow had been captured on the PS5. The gameplay began with what looked like a male character coming to, seeing Aloy in first person:
Erend was directly mentioned, and survived what sounded like an attack from raiders (who were supported by machines). Aloy’s told to go find Erend before the raiders do, and the cut scene shifts to Horizon‘s traditional over-the-shoulder camera view.
The environment is a lush, leafy area with ruins on the beach that almost has more of an Uncharted vibe:
A raider than appears riding one of the machines while Aloy hides in the grass. We quickly get to see a new tool for Aloy: a smoke bomb, allowing her to disengage. Aloy also has what appears to be a small grappling hook, before she hides by dropping into the water below.
There’s also a quick snap of Horizon Forbidden West‘s UI, although it doesn’t appear to be the full UI from what was shown. When swimming, for instance, there’s no oxygen metre — but that could simply have been disabled for the presentation. (Guerilla Games later confirmed in the presentation that Aloy has access to technology that allows her to swim indefinitely, as well as bursting through strong water currents.)
After Aloy chases the raiders with Erend, we get to see some of Aloy’s new animations and attacks. She has the ability to power up her melee attack via what seems to be the purple-powered energy on her UI. The animation shows her effectively plugged in what looks like a small coil into her staff, triggering an AOE field around her that looks like it applies some kind of stun.
Aloy also now has a Breath of the Wild-esque glider, powered by the energy from her staff. (It’s called the Shield Wing.)
After finally teaming up with Aloy, it’s time for a joint fight against the Horizon: Forbidden West elephant-like creature, which repeatedly fires dual lasers towards the ground at Aloy. Aloy’s able to pick up what’s best described as a plasma-powered machinegun left by one of the raiders, but not before dodging the cyber-elephant’s direct charges by grappling and vaulting over nearby objects.
After rescuing Erend, Aloy — who has more freckles in the Horizon sequel — passes over an orb of some description which brings up what looks like a map. A storm then envelops the area, something Erend quips Aloy always predicted.
Ben McCaw, Horizon Forbidden West‘s narrative director, then came on to explain some of the machines and threats behind the game. A red light is the main antagonist of sorts, and Aloy has to search the old world for technology to bat back the blight. Erend headed to San Francisco for one piece of that technology, which is how he ended up becoming captured.
Aloy’s focus scanner will now showcase areas you can freeclimb. Guerilla added that machines will drop weapons you can equip, and all weapons can be upgraded via a workbench (that wasn’t being shown off during this livestream).
The livestream didn’t conclude with a release date, so for now, all we know on that front is that Horizon: Forbidden West is due to launch sometime between Q3 and Q4 this year.