Horizon Forbidden West release date, gameplay, story and more

Horizon Forbidden West is easily one of the most anticipated games for the PS5 after the breakout success of Horizon Zero Dawn back in 2017. While the new installment will also be released on the PS4, Sony CEO Jim Ryan stated in an interview with The Telegraph that the game is “built from the ground up to take advantage of the PS5 feature set.” 

That includes nearly no loading screens, which considering the massive environments and wide-ranging post-apocalyptic terrain spread across the western U.S. is astounding. The PS5 hardly needs a system seller at the moment given that it’s still hard to buy one, but Horizon Forbidden West looks to be that caliber of game. We are gathering every last bit of information we can find on Horizon Forbidden West as we wait impatiently, so here’s what we have so far including the expected release date, the trailers, the setting, the gameplay and more.

Horizon Forbidden West release date

(Image credit: Sony)

Horizon Forbidden West was never slated to make it in time for the PS5 launch window. The first solid indication we got regarding its release date came from a PS5 Launch video in November 2020 that gave a glimpse of a number of the high profile games for the console and listed Horizon Forbidden West as “Anticipated second half 2021.” 

Sony’s CES 2021 video on the PS5 in January this year once again offered release timing for Horizon Forbidden West although this time around it simply identified it as “Coming 2021” during the end credits. Fortunately, a month later we got renewed confirmation from Playstation CEO Jim Ryan that Horizon Forbidden West was on track for its release in the second half of 2021. With a PS5 State of Play event now scheduled for May 27 with promises of 14 minutes of new gameplay footage, we are feeling confident that the game will be released in 2021.

Horizon Forbidden West trailer

We got an extensive trailer for Horizon Forbidden West courtesy of the big PS5 games event. This remains our best glimpse into what Guerilla Games has in store for Aloy this time around.

Even if you caught the trailer during that live stream, you might want to take the chance to watch it again, as the standalone trailer can be enjoyed in 4K.

We are eagerly awaiting getting more actual gameplay footage from the aforementioned PS5 State of Play event. You can tune into the broadcast right here on May 27 starting at 4 PM Eastern Time for the actual gameplay reveal, but a pre-show will kick off at 11 AM Eastern Time if you want to make a day of it. 

Horizon Forbidden West setting

For those who haven’t already played the original Horizon Zero Dawn, the general setting is Earth in the distant future. Humans have reverted to a tribal society with limited technology, and robotic creatures roam the earth and have become increasingly hostile.

(Image credit: Sony)

The official description for Horizon Forbidden West from the reveal trailer reads, “Horizon Forbidden West continues Aloy’s story as she moves west to a far-future America to brave a majestic, but dangerous frontier where she’ll face awe-inspiring machines and mysterious new threats.”

While the trailer gave us a vast array of landscapes, including the ocean, beaches, a desert, lush forests, icy mountain peaks, and more, there were only two easily identifiable landmarks: the remnants of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Ferry Building, placing you in what was San Francisco.

(Image credit: Sony)

However, given the varied terrain and the reports of the “gigantic” scope of the game from VGC, it’s clear you are traversing at least quite a bit more of California with Yosemite glimpsed at another portion of the trailer.

Horizon Forbidden West gameplay

(Image credit: Sony)

The trailer for Horizon Forbidden West was entirely cinematic, but we can infer the basic style of gameplay is unchanged from the original Horizon Zero Dawn. This is an open-world action RPG that will focus on combat, evasion, traps, traversal, and stealth.

Horizon Zero Dawn featured both a traditional RPG skill tree progression to enhance Aloy’s abilities as well as weapon crafting, both of which will presumably be present and more advanced in Horizon Forbidden West, but we don’t have any new information on them yet.

(Image credit: Sony)

From the trailer, we have seen Aloy riding, diving with a futuristic scuba mask, climbing, and at least preparing to fight. Her bow will again be the central weapon, but she will also use slings and ropecasters, which will all make liberal use of the DualSense controller’s adaptive triggers

Her “focus” earpiece is, of course, still present, which is a kind of AR device that gives her some special abilities to track and scan enemies. Whether we will get more functionality from the focus in this installment wasn’t clear from the trailer. 

The same report on the scope of the game also indicated that a co-op mode was planned, but it remains unclear if this is part of the main game or a standalone experience, as this does not appear to fit with anything we’ve seen so far.

Horizon Forbidden West story

(Image credit: Sony)

For the story, we know that it picks up sometime shortly after the events of Horizon Zero Dawn and The Frozen Wilds expansion. 

Aloy is continuing on her journey to stop the HADES system and whatever triggered it from destroying life on earth. We get glimpses of a number of new characters from presumably new tribes and some new robotic creatures, like the frighteningly large mammoths that Aloy confidently draws her bow on as the trailer comes to a close.

According to the aforementioned VGC report, the plan is for the Horizon series to be a trilogy, which presumably means we’ll get one more game to reach the end of Aloy’s story.

If you are looking to delve further into the world of Horizon ahead of Horizon Forbidden West, a Horizon Zero Dawn comic book series offers a new story following the events of Horizon Zero Dawn.

Today’s best Horizon Zero Dawn deals



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