According to a report by Video Games Chronicle (VGC), Sony Interactive Entertainment has recently signed-off on not one, but two sequels for Guerrilla Games’ post-apocalyptic action role-playing game (RPG) Horizon Zero Dawn. The games for this planned trilogy are some of the most ambitious ever attempted – not just by Guerrilla, but by any Sony developer.

2017’s Horizon is set on a far-future Earth where life was spared only through the efforts of Dr. Elisabet Sobeck and the top-secret “Project Zero Dawn”. Nature has reclaimed the planet, but the dominant life-form isn’t even a life-form. Machines rule the world, and what humanity continues to exist does so in far-flung primitive tribes.

The Amsterdam-based game developer Guerrilla Games has always desired to turn Horizon into a series of games. The narrative team even wrote up a long-form script for the story going beyond the current game into possible sequels. It was only after the commercial and critical success of Horizon on PlayStation 4 that Sony agreed to even the idea of a “Horizon Zero Dawn 2”.

Horizon Zero Dawn 2 officially started development after the first game successfully sold ten million copies. The sequel was initially planned for PS4, but Sony has shifted development to focus on its next-generation console, the PlayStation 5. The shift in platform seems to be confirmed by a (now-deleted) tweet by a Guerrilla Games jobs posting that used the PS5 hashtag.

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VGC’s sources have described Horizon Zero Dawn 2 and Horizon Zero Dawn 3 as “gigantic” in scope. Allegedly, the sequels will feature larger game worlds and more freedom to explore than their predecessor. This is a bold and impressive claim when considering how vast the original Horizon Zero Dawn is (with an in-game map covering several modern-day U.S. states).

Horizon Zero Dawn: Beyond the Daybrink and the Valley of Omens lies the vast lands known to the Carja as the "Forbidden West".

“Reader, if you think yourself an adventurer–heed the warning in this old man’s collection of strange, small things, and go not into the Forbidden West!” – Considerate Udain, Healer of Blazon Arch (Guerrilla Games/Sony)

There has been no news so far on what the story for Horizon Zero Dawn 2 might look like. It’s possible that the sequel could take Aloy to lands only mentioned in the original game, such as the Claim (the Oseram homeland), Ban-Ur (the Banuk homeland), or the Forbidden West (the lands beyond the western border of the Carja Sundom).

As seen in behind-the-scenes footage of the game’s development, the first Horizon Zero Dawn was originally planned to include a co-op game mode. Indeed, early concept art depicts multiple players battling against the game’s mechanical beasts. Sony is now equally keen to see online functionality implemented in a PS5-powered sequel. Progress on that co-op mode has carried over into Horizon Zero Dawn 2, though no word yet on whether co-op will be an optional feature for the main storyline, or a separate co-op campaign mode. VGC’s sources claim that the Guerrila development team hopes to demonstrate co-op in its first preview of Horizon Zero Dawn 2.

Concept art for Horizon Zero Dawn, featuring several tribal humans fighting and restraining a massive Machine.

Concept art for Horizon Zero Dawn demonstrated what co-op might look like in-game. (Guerrilla Games/Sony)

Herman Hulst is a co-founder for Guerrilla Games, who was recently promoted Head of PlayStation Worldwide Studios. Hulst stated that Sony remains highly committed to creating story-based and character-based games. All signs indicate that Horizon is indeed a franchise, and one that Sony intends to leverage as a PlayStation-exclusive for multiple years to come.

Sony has not yet responded or commented on these rumors. A PC version of Horizon Zero Dawn and a Horizon comic book series by Titan Comics are both scheduled to be released this summer.

 

Tyler Boyce
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