Just a couple weeks after the Horizon Forbidden West release, we ask: What could come next? Both Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West have proven to be two of Sony's most powerful first-party titles, rocketing Aloy into a position of a very recognizable mascot. Five years passed between the release of each game, and it'll likely be another five or more before we see a true Horizon Forbidden West sequel, but it is exciting to think about the possibilities of what direction the next game could take. Throw in the likelihood of Horizon Forbidden West DLC, and there are many developments we may see in the future of Horizon.
We Could See Horizon Forbidden West DLC Before the End of the Year
If Horizon Forbidden West follows the same track as its predecessor, we could see Forbidden West DLC before we know it. The Frozen Wilds for Horizon Zero Dawn was announced just months after the initial game's release with a fall release date. This holiday season, it's possible the massive world of Horizon Forbidden West could expand even more with Forbidden West DLC. It's uncertain what part of North America (or beyond) that an expansion might explore, but if it's anything like the Frozen Wilds for Zero Dawn, we can rest assured it'll hold some of the most formidable machines and toughest quests so far. With a packed playing field through the end of the year, Sony is going to want to keep as many eyes on the PS5 as possible, and Horizon Forbidden West DLC is a relatively easy win to pad their end-of-year lineup.
Horizon Forbidden West: Online Multiplayer to Come?
Horizon Forbidden West combines fun and fluid gameplay with a massive, breathtaking world. But with how large the Forbidden West map is, it can get lonely exploring on your own. It's the perfect environment to open up to online multiplayer. Online sandboxes work extraordinarily well and can keep players coming back for years. Even if it was separated into quests that allow you to join friends to take down a single machine in the spirit of Monster Hunter, it would add an amazing new element of gameplay that has been missing from this series. Online communities help to keep games going long after they would have gone dormant, and with a well-realized online co-op mode for Forbidden West, this game could help attract even more players to the world of Horizon, especially if it got a standalone release like Ghost of Tsushima Legends. It has been nearly two years since the launch of Ghost of Tsushima, and there's still an active online community returning to that game. It's possible Horizon could see the same longevity.
Horizon Forbidden West Sequel Could Make Climbing Anywhere a True Reality
In recent years, the mark of a true open-world game has been one all-encompassing question: Can I climb that? This leads to an onslaught of comparisons of any open-world game to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Though these comparisons may have become hackneyed over the past five years, they're not without merit, and the marketing for Horizon Forbidden West has easily drawn these comparisons for themselves. The climbable surfaces in Forbidden West are far more frequent than the rigid grip holds in Zero Dawn, but there are still moments I wanted to scale a mountain or a cliff and wasn't able to. A Horizon Forbidden West sequel could expand this freedom even more and make the next Horizon world a truly scalable 3D environment for the player to use as their playground.
Proper Parrying for More Dynamic Combat
The best parts of Horizon have always been the machines, but the sequel puts more of an emphasis on human combat. There are more melee combos you can perform and a series of Melee Pits to help learn and hone new moves. Even with all this, the person-to-person combat feels a bit stunted without offering any kind of a proper parrying mechanism. Instead, you're limited to dodging and using your spear to break down shields. If Guerilla implemented a form of parrying similar to what's in Ghost of Tsushima, it'll make the human combat even more enjoyable and give players more incentive to conquer each rebel camp.
The Horizon Forbidden West Map Creates Serious Open-World Fatigue
There has been a lot of discussion surrounding open-world fatigue lately, as more and more developers seem to chase that immutable magic of exploration. Where some games nail organic open worlds and allow the player to proceed at their own pace, others bog you down in endless tutorials and maps filled with icons and side quests. This is the biggest weakness of Horizon Forbidden West. In a Forbidden West sequel, the best way to fend off open-world fatigue is to give more control to the player, instead of shuttling them from one quest marker to the next. By the end of the game, the Forbidden West map has a countless number of icons. You can manage this by removing unneeded icons from the legend, but gamers might find themselves more engaged if quests and collectibles are better integrated into the story, instead of appearing as a task on a to-do list. If Guerilla is able to streamline the quests and errands in a Horizon Forbidden West sequel, it'll make an amazing series that much better.
A Horizon Forbidden West sequel may be years away, but updates and Forbidden West DLC may arrive before we know it. Whether we get Forbidden West multiplayer or an expansive new world to explore, Sony is sure to keep the Horizon universe at the forefront of Sony IPs well into the PS5 life cycle and into the next generation of consoles.