The first paid expansion for Horizon Forbidden West has finally been released, taking Aloy to the Burning Shores on a new mission. Set in the ruins of Los Angeles, where tectonic and volcanic activity have reduced the city to ruins, Aloy has to investigate a new sinister threat. What’s going on, and what could it entail for the future of the franchise? Spoilers follow, so be warned.
First, the antagonist is Walter Londra, a member of Far Zenith who managed to escape following the base game’s final story mission (where Aloy and her friends took down his cohorts). As a former aerospace magnate, the headquarters for his space mining company is located in – surprise, surprise – Los Angeles. Sylens believes Londra would retreat to such a familiar place. It’s off to the Burning Shores to take him down before he can cause any trouble.
Londra’s base is in a place called Starlight Rise. While Aloy can commandeer flying Machines and make a straight shot to the location, a tower with an anti-air weapon prevents her from doing so. She quickly happens upon Seyka, a Quen marine, and after taking out some Machines, the two return to the new settlement, Fleet’s End.
It’s composed of Quen survivors who were shipwrecked trying to cross the ocean. After meeting with the Admiral, Aloy teams with Sekya on a mission to save some of the Quen, including Seyka’s sister, who have mysteriously gone missing.
Once the tower is dealt with, Aloy and Seyka venture to Starlight Rise. They discover evidence of a mining operation among the Quen, and upon further investigation, some have died due to construction accidents. It’s theorized that Londra has kidnapped the missing Quen and forced them to do his bidding.
However, the reality is much different. He started a cult-like movement that promises “ascension” to the Quen if they follow him. Since Londra was a celebrity-like figure in the old days, his charisma lets him sway the Quen to his side (being a living Old One also doesn’t hurt). Aloy and Seyka further discover that he’s trying to build a rocket to escape Earth and flee from the threat of Nemesis, much like Far Zenith was attempting in the base game. Using follicle samples from his followers, Londra also wants to create followers who can do his every bidding.
After permanently shutting down Londra’s personal AI assistant (who can no longer deal with his narcissistic behavior), the duo rescue Seyka’s sister and the other Quen members. A quick trip back to Fleet’s End and then the two fight Londra, who’s within a reactivated Horus Titan. It’s an epic encounter and well worth the price of admission for the expansion.
The aftermath sees Fleet’s End indebted to Aloy and Seyka for their work. Thus the story of Burning Shores comes to a close.
However, there is one last thing. Sylens contacts and meets with Aloy at their base, discussing a lead found among Londra’s recovered data. Londra theorized on ways to fight Nemesis, which included a list of companies from the 21st century that manufactured “state of the art” weapons (with four showcased via a holographic map). Sylens believes at least one could be used against Nemesis, though he wants to investigate each and see if they can be brought back online.
Of course, Aloy calls him out for wanting to do this alone. Sylens doesn’t reveal why he chose to stay behind and help fight Nemesis. However, he does acknowledge that he can’t defeat it alone and thanks Aloy for her “extraordinary” contributions, which does get a smile out of her.
Following the Epilogue, there are several theories on where the story could go. Based on the ending of Forbidden West, a third game seemed more or less a given. So why specifically mention these weapons corporations and have a faux map showcasing four of them?
One theory is that Burning Shores isn’t the final expansion for Forbidden West and that Aloy could embark on another journey to investigate these weapons. Sylens would probably have had a significant role in that, but it’s unknown if the story has changed, given the passing of actor Lance Reddick.
If Sylens is written out of the story, Horizon 3’s plot may see Aloy investigating the weapons systems and attempting to bring them online. Meanwhile, Nemesis arrives on Earth and brings destruction. Aloy would then have to race against time and defeat Nemesis before it can destroy the whole planet.
Another theory, which is admittedly more far-fetched, is that this could tie into the upcoming Horizon online game. Guerrilla Games already confirmed that the project had a “new internal team,” while the title introduces a new cast of characters and a “unique stylized look.” Players can also join together and explore “the majestic wilds of Horizon” in the online title.
Again, it’s unknown how the mainline games could influence it and vice versa. Given Sony’s plan to release ten live service games for PS5 by March 2026, it wouldn’t be odd to see some push to tie these games together. I could see the online title introducing a brand new story and quests, with players able to choose among different factions, while eventually, the fallout of events from Zero Dawn and Forbidden West could find their way in.
For instance, the end of Forbidden West sees Aloy’s companions embarking on a mission to warn the world of Nemesis’s arrival. Online players could meet characters like Erend, Zo, Alva and maybe even Beta and GAIA and undertake tasks to prepare for the worst. Then, when Horizon 3 does eventually happen, there could be separate conflicts that online players have to deal with while Aloy battles Nemesis.
Whether Aloy makes a cameo at any point throughout the online game’s existence remains to be seen, though it’s certainly possible based on Horizon Call of the Mountain. Maybe a speech to rally the troops during the ongoing war against Nemesis, and probably purchase the Premium Battle Pass for that extra XP boost? No?
Of course, for those concerned about the online game taking away resources, a quick look at Guerrilla’s job openings reveals positions for both the online project and the central team. Whether another expansion is on the way or it’s all hands on deck for Horizon 3, more single-player adventures with Aloy are coming.
It’s too early to theorize when Horizon 3 could launch. However, Horizon Zero Dawn was released about four years into the PS4’s life cycle, and Forbidden West was released less than one and a half years into the PS5’s. It seems reasonable to expect it at some point in this console generation. If the visual fidelity and gameplay of Burning Shores is any indication, the wait for the next game will be well worth it.
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