At this point, we’ve been given a decent about of info about Horizon Forbidden West’s updated approach to combat and traversal, but what about its open world? Horizon Zero Dawn wasn’t just about killing robot dinosaurs, it also had towns, NPCs, and other open-world RPG elements, so what kind of improvements can we expect from Forbidden West on those fronts? Thankfully, a new PlayStation Blog post delves into the finer details of Horizon Forbidden West’s open world, including its tribes, towns, and more.
Developer Guerrilla Games has put a lot of thought into their new game’s tribes, with each having a unique “personality," so to speak – the Tenakth are devout and combat-focused, the Oseram are boisterous and crafty, while the Utaru are a more laid-back farming society (and these three are just the tip of the tribe iceberg). The behavior of individual NPCs will be determined by their tribe affiliation, as well as Horizon Forbidden West’s new detailed crowd system.
Every non-combat NPC in Horizon Forbidden West is part of a crowd system. Within that system, you can create rules such as reactions, walking paths, and other animations. We then also have the attitude system, which determines a personality. This means we can create unique people who behave like individuals within the world.
Of course, this crowd system really comes into play in settlements, which Guerrilla hints will be spread throughout the game. Most towns will allow Aloy to buy clothes, weaponry, potions, and meals, with the exact nature of each town’s vendors being determined by their tribe. For instance, the Oseram vendor will sell you weapons that can be used for hunting, while a Tenakth vendor’s weapons will be more designed for combat. Guerrilla describes the first major settlement you’ll arrive at, Chainscrape, as an Oseram outpost and trading hub with plenty of opportunities for adventure (you can check out a couple gifs of Chainscrape in motion, below).
With so much activity, so many visual cues, Chainscrape was a place where we could demonstrate many new systems and animations that make the world and its people feel much more alive. In Horizon Zero Dawn, there were a lot of assets and things in the background. In Horizon Forbidden West, they’re not just textures: they’ve been elevated into actual objects that are being used by people in-game.
Visiting vendors in towns will be crucial, as weapons can be specialized with various perks and outfits will provide bonuses to Aloy’s various skills. And once again, each tribe’s outfits will reflect their cultural interests and strengths.
Overall, sounds like Guerrilla is doing a solid job of continuing to push beyond the basic “here’s a big map with a bunch of mission markers” open-world approach we see in too many AAA games. Hopefully, Horizon Forbidden West’s world is one players can really get immersed in.
Horizon Forbidden West launches on PS4 and PS5 on February 18, 2022.
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