A swath of new Horizon Forbidden West details were revealed today on the PlayStation Blog. Among them is mention of a new crowd system that will influence NPC behaviour, with the stated goal of making the various tribes and cultures you encounter feel distinct not just in their clothing and architecture, but in their interpersonal actions as well. One element of this methodology is attitude, which dictates the individual personalities of non-combat characters throughout the game’s world.
In the blog post, Guerrilla Games lead living world designer Espen Sogn said the Horizon Zero Dawn sequel will feature a crowd system. This set of rules determines everything from reactions to walking paths and various other animations, including the way certain tribes carry water jugs. “You should be able to identify from a distance which tribe you’re looking at,” Sogn said. Folded into this network is attitude which, according to Sogn, means the team can “create unique people who behave like individuals within the world.”
“We are constantly adding layers of authenticity within the world through animations and behaviours,” Sogn said about the new framework. “When members of a tribe are in their settlement, their safe spaces, they can act like themselves. The Oseram are a social and historically patriarchal tribe, so their animations are more about shoulder punches and high fives. The Utaru, on the other hand, are laid back, so they will often sit down together and be a bit more touchy-feely. As the player moves around, these are potential subconscious hints that will help you visualise where in the world you are.”
It’s unclear what attitude really means. It’s also unclear whether it will function at all like Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead in which NPCs are notorious for “remembering that.” However, it sounds as if non-playable characters will have a distinct personality dictated by their environment and the people around them, not unlike the real world. One possibility of how this all could work is NPCs treating Aloy differently depending on her actions elsewhere in the game’s world, but that’s just an assumption.
We’ll have to wait and see whether NPCs will have an attitude problem with Aloy when Horizon Forbidden West hits PS4 and PS5 on February 18, 2022. Unfortunately, the upcoming PlayStation blockbuster will be one of the last games Sony is offering a free next-gen upgrade for. And for some reason, Horizon Forbidden West has nine editions available for pre-order.