Horizon Forbidden West Narrative Lead Reveals One Particular Character Was Especially Tough to Write

One particular character in the recently-released sequel "took many drafts and revisions and rethinking," according to narrative director Ben McCaw.

Posted By | On 27th, Feb. 2022

Horizon Forbidden West

NOTE: There are spoilers ahead for Horizon Forbidden West. If you haven’t finished the game, stop reading now.

Horizon Forbidden West’s story builds on the events of Zero Dawn in some really interesting ways, and there’s several things it does to set up the series’ future. Of its many new narrative elements, one of the more intriguing ones is the character of Beta- another clone of Elisabet Sobeck who, after spending a lifetime in captivity under Far Zenith’s heel, struggles to break out of her shell even after joining forces with Aloy and co.

And that character, unsurprisingly, presented one of the most complicated challenges for the writing team at Guerrilla Games. Speaking in an interview with GamesRadar, narrative director Ben McCaw revealed that Beta’s character was the most difficult one to write and “took many drafts and revisions and rethinking”.

“This was the most difficult one [to write],” McCaw said. “Getting that right took many drafts and revisions and rethinking. But it was critical. It’s the emotional core of the game.

“It’s also, so to speak, the alpha example of the problem that Aloy faces, which is that she wants to love the world, but she doesn’t necessarily love everyone in it. Including this kind of reflection of herself.”

Senior writer Annie Kitain added, “Beta represents all of Aloy’s conflicts about wanting to be like Elisabet, wanting to connect to others, but feeling isolated. All of that coming together into one person. It’s Aloy trying to deal with that.”

“Mostly because Beta’s essentially frightened, and abused,” McCaw said. “And those are things that Aloy wants to bury in herself; her upbringing, her fear. So we wanted that to hurt a little bit, to sting to have to see that, but then to have her accept those things as well.”

Horizon Forbidden West’s story swings for the fences in more ways than one, and it was something that stood out to us in our time with the game as well. In our review, we awarded it a score of 10/10, saying, “Horizon Forbidden West is an impressive achievement in storytelling, game design, and technology, and in improving upon its predecessor in nearly every way possible, it delivers one of the finest games of its kind in recent memory.” You can read our full review through here.

Recent developments have also suggested that the game could receive expansions and an online store down the line. Read more on that through here.


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