Game Informer recently had an interview with Horizon Forbidden West director Mathijs de Jonge to learn more about the game. One key system from the State of Play showcase was Valor Surges which allowed Aloy special abilities like knocking back enemies. de Jonge went into more details about this, including how Valor Surges could be unlocked from the revamped skill tree.
“Valor Surges are a new addition and the way you acquire them is via the skill tree, which also has been completely redesigned and repopulated with new skills. The skill tree is designed to support many different play styles, and each play style has Valor Surges that you can unlock by spending skill points on them. The player can choose which Valor Surge is active at any moment,” said de Jonge.
As for Valor Surges, they have an energy bar that must be built up by “playing tactically.” This means performing headshots on enemies, removing components from machines and so on. Along with filling your XP bar (since it’s considered tactical combat XP), they will charge the Valor Surge’s bar. “So by playing tactically, you are rewarded by being able to execute these powerful moves. [These are] big payoff moments that you can use to your advantage, like the 360 blasts, which knocks back your enemies.”
It’s also worth noting that the old skill tree has been “completely thrown out the window.” de Jonge notes that, “We kind of started over. There’s a whole new skill tree. Also, visually, everything, it’s completely new. We spent a lot of time on giving more options to the player and [having] more cool options to play with. As for which playstyles and how exactly it works, I think that’s something we’ll go into later when we can actually show it to you because it was not part of the demo, so I cannot really explain it yet.”
Horizon Forbidden West is currently on track to release for PS4 and PS5 this holiday season, which is reiterated in the interview. PlayStation Studios head Hermen Hulst spoke yesterday about how the release date isn’t completely certain just yet, which de Jonge talks more about in the interview. Give it a listen below and stay tuned for more details.