Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Horizon Forbidden West reportedly delayed to 2022

Sad news for fans of hunting robot dinosaurs in apocalyptic future wildlands – upcoming game Horizon Forbidden West has been delayed until Q1 2022.

That’s according to the Giant Bomb podcast and Bloomberg, which cites “a person familiar with the matter”. The game had been pencilled in for a late 2021 release, and set for release on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.

Sony itself has not yet confirmed the delay. However, in early June 2021, head of PlayStation Studios Hermen Hulst said, in a Q+A on the official PlayStation Blog, that Sony’s development studios had been forced to adapt to production changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the teams had found some “really clever solutions” to challenges such as audio production and dialogue recording, performance capture for games with lots of cinematics still required “multiple actors” to be in the same physical space.

“You’ve got a choice. You could do it later in the schedule, which could cause you problems. Or you could risk the final quality by doing it in a different way,” said Hulst. “But I can tell you, we’re not going to risk the quality. We want to ship extremely high quality games, finished games, and we have to do that obviously without pushing our teams to the breaking point.”

At the time, Hulst added “For Horizon, we think we are on track to release this holiday season. But that isn’t quite certain yet, and we’re working as hard as we can to confirm that to you as soon as we can.”

If reports of a delay are accurate, then COVID-related production hurdles are the most likely culprit. With the new release window rumoured to be the first quarter of 2022 though, it doesn’t seem to be the longest delay, and it is of course more important for everyone involved in the creation of the game to remain safe and healthy.

Horizon Forbidden West is a sequel to the hit 2017 game Horizon Zero Dawn. It will continue to follow Aloy, a hunter in a distant future where human civilisation has been wiped out and the survivors have banded together in clans to survive the ferocious cybernetic beasts that roam the world.

The follow-up is set to take place six months after the first game, and will see Aloy venturing west (the clue’s in the name) to “find the source of a mysterious plague that kills all it infects”. Along with at least six brand new robo-beasts to test players’ hunter skills, Forbidden West promises an even bigger world to traverse, and a new focus on underwater exploration – literally diving into the ruins of the old world.

While the delay, if confirmed, is likely for the right reasons – Hulst said Sony “won’t [risk] the health or the wellbeing of our amazing team” – it will no doubt disappoint PlayStation gamers, and Sony itself. Another hotly anticipated title, the still-untitled sequel to 2018’s God of War, has already been pushed back to 2022, and Forbidden West being bumped would mean two major releases not being on shelves for the lucrative Holiday season.

Thankfully, even with the delay, fans of the series won’t be left entirely devoid of Aloy adventures, as Titan Comics is publishing a series of comics that are in continuity with the games. The first series launched in 2020, and a new storyarc – published under the title Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation – began publication in July 2021.

While the first run focused largely on Talanah (Aloy’s friend and new Sunhawk, or leader, of the Hunter’s Lodge in Horizon’s world) and was set after Zero Dawn , bridging the gap to Forbidden West, Liberation is set during the events of that first game, following Aloy and her ally Erend as they hunt for a killer with links to his past.

Matt Kamen

[He/Him] Matt Kamen is a veteran media writer based in the UK, specialising in video games, film, and comics. If found, return to nearest coffee shop.