Guerrilla Games continues its march towards the release of Horizon Forbidden West and in a new PlayStation Blog post, it’s shined some light on the newer threats that Aloy will face. One of these is the Sunwing, born from wanting a “slightly bigger flying machine than the Glinthawk.” Inspired by “various flying reptiles and primitive birds,” it collects solar energy with its wings, which is when it’s vulnerable. Beware though as Sunwings can detect potential enemies more easily when idle.
Aloy’s multiple weapon and ammo types allow for multiple ways to defeat each machine. “We tried to make it clear for players through the machine design, and added textures to show the weak points or interactive components. You’ll need to study each machine closely to find different ways to approach it,” says Principal Machine Designer Blake Politeski.
“A lot of machines have various weapons and behaviors that can be used to create an advantage. This is not just in shooting off components and using them, but some machines might have some more passive states during which the player can sneak towards them. For example, if a machine is digging for resources in the ground, it’ll create a lot of dust – Aloy can use this as a visual cover to get closer.
“The machines in Horizon Forbidden West are more mobile in almost every way you can imagine – jumping, swimming, clinging to surfaces… Because of this, Aloy will need to keep up with them, so there’s new movement mechanics to help her out. We’re also focusing more on Aloy’s ability to survey and plan an encounter before engaging, as well as her ability to escape if things don’t go as planned.”
Like Horizon Zero Dawn, Machines will have different audio when they’re idle, preparing to attack or calling for backup. This is where the PS5’s 3D audio comes in handy, enhancing the player’s situational awareness all the more.
Another interesting Machine seen in the last gameplay trailer was the Tremortusk. Asset Art Lead Maxim Fleury states that, “The Tremortusk is based on a mammoth with a nod to the historic and cinematic examples of the great war elephants. It has many different attacks and a body covered in various guns. Apart from using its tusks to attack up close, it also has different elemental weapons it can use. The one we see in the trailer is controlled by a rebel faction of the Tenakth, but you can also find them wandering the wilds.
Blake added that, “It reminds me of a mixture of war elephants and a huge siege tower that was used to attack fortresses in medieval times: hard to destroy, slow moving, and a lot of fire power. This generated the idea for the Tremortusk, which is a well armored but slow machine, almost an unstoppable force. In Horizon Forbidden West, human enemy factions can control machines, so it seemed like a natural fit to combine the two and make our own spin on ‘war elephants’, with a platform on top that humans can fire at Aloy from.
“To circle back to the machine (eco-)system, it was created to keep balance on Earth and ensure that humans cannot wipe out life again. Tremortusks were created as combat machines – protecting other machine species so they can do what they were designed to do without human interference.” To that end, it will be one of the tougher challenges that Aloy faces in the game.
Overriding is still a thing but time, Aloy can defensive or aggressive states for the Machine in question. Also, as Blake notes, “If a machine is searching for certain resources that Aloy happens to be after, they can lead her to stashes if she’s observant.”
Regarding which Machines the developer is keen on players meeting, Maxim mentions the Burrowers. These are “nifty little machines which can overwhelm you if you’re not careful.” Blake also chimes in on the Shellsnapper, seen in the game’s very first trailer. “It’s large and has several abilities that will excite players – combining inspiration from movies and real life, as well as some strange things we came up with ourselves. I’m just as excited to see people’s reactions to this machine as they are to play it.”
Horizon Forbidden West is out on February 18th 2022 for PS4 and PS5. Stay tuned for more details in the coming months.