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Horizon Forbidden West developers share details on new tools, weapons, and climbing mechanics

Aloy will have a new grapple tool and Zelda-like glider

Two machine beasts overlooking Aloy, hanging from a ledge, in Horizon Forbidden West Image: Guerrilla Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Guerrilla Games shared specifics on Horizon Forbidden West and main character Aloy’s new capabilities in a new Playstation developer’s blog. Her toolkit expands to include free climbing, swimming, melee weapons upgrades, more traversal methods, and she’ll use them to fight new machine enemies.

Horizon Zero Dawn is known for its lush and climbable open worlds, stealth and archery based gameplay, and fearsome robotic enemies. In Forbidden West, Guerrilla looked to expand these elements, keeping an eye on how players will journey through an overgrown world of ruins. The dev blog, published Monday, provided context for a lot of the play footage that showed up in a 14-minute gameplay reveal first shown during Sony’s State of Play in March. The latest blog is chock full of fun details and play footage.

“Aloy can climb freely on and across huge sections of rocky terrain,” wrote Guerrilla Games’ community lead Bo de Vries, “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 — not to mention a quick way down from great heights!”

Some of these highlights include:

  • A greater sense of verticality in world traversal, where “rocky surfaces in these areas are freely climbable without the use of tribal handholds!”
  • A “high vault traversal mechanic” which allows Aloy to “hoist herself on top of any object of jumpable height with room to pull up.”
  • A new Pullcaster tool, which players can use to grapple launch and “manipulate and destroy their environment.” While in the air, players may “grab a higher ledge, fire their bow, glide, strike-from-above or even grapple to a further point.” The Pullcaster can also be used as a winch for “pulling a hidden loot chest from a ledge, or tearing open a vent to create a new climb path.”
  • Another new tool, called the Shieldwing, looks like Horizon’s take on a Zelda-style glider; it will help Aloy land gracefully from all this climbing.
  • The addition of a workbench, where the player can upgrade weapons and outfits.
  • A new skill tree, with lots of unlockable perks.
  • New melee features for the spear, including a “Resonator Blast” and a “Valor Surge” designed to reward players for their melee ingenuity (a huge upgrade for fans who felt melee was less useful in Zero Dawn).
  • In some faction encounters, humans may have machines as steeds or mounts. In Zero Dawn, machine and human encounters were very separate.
  • Though the blog mentioned swimming, it didn’t dive into (pun intended) any additional mechanics or details.

The dev blog also mentioned a few highlights for PlayStation 5 owners, including more finessed haptic feedback woven into the DualSense wireless controllers. This allows for touches like adaptive trigger tension when drawing the bow, and the feeling of tall grass as Aloy stealthily crawls through it.

“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,” Dennis Zopfi, Guerrilla’s Lead Combat Designer, said.

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