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Horizon: Forbidden West release date, gameplay, story and more

(Image credit: Sony)

Horizon: Forbidden West has to be one of the most eagerly anticipated games for the PS5 after its predecessor's breakout success on the PS4. The massive and breathtaking environments of the game just seem like a perfect showcase for the power of the PS5, although notably, it will also be coming to the PS4.

We've had a few tantalizing looks at the games in trailers so far, but while we impatiently await its release we’ve gathered all of the leaks and rumors we could find regarding Horizon: Forbidden West, including the potential release date, trailer, setting, gameplay and more, to get you ready for the next installment in Aloy’s tale.

Horizon: Forbidden West release date

(Image credit: Sony)

Given the utter lack of information regarding a release date when it was shown off at Sony's June 2020 event it was pretty clear that Horizon: Forbidden West wasn't going to arrive during the PS5 launch window.

While we got just the briefest of glimpses of the game in Sony's CES 2021 video on the PS5, the end credits of that video gave us a bit more, indicating that Horizon: Forbidden West was "Coming 2021." Now they definitely were leaving some wiggle room as they didn't give an exact date or even a month as they did for some other games, but it gives hope for a launch by year's end.

Horizon: Forbidden West trailer

We got an extensive trailer for Horizon: Forbidden West courtesy of the big PS5 games event. This remains our best glimpse into what Guerilla Games has in store for Aloy this time around.

Even if you caught the trailer during the live stream, you might want to take the chance to watch it again, as the standalone trailer can be enjoyed in 4K.

Horizon: Forbidden West setting

For those who haven’t already played the original Horizon: Zero Dawn, the general setting is Earth in the distant future. Humans have reverted to a tribal society with limited technology, and robotic creatures roam the earth and have become increasingly hostile.

(Image credit: Sony)

The official description for Horizon: Forbidden West from the reveal trailer reads, “Horizon Forbidden West continues Aloy’s story as she moves west to a far-future America to brave a majestic, but dangerous frontier where she’ll face awe-inspiring machines and mysterious new threats.”

While the trailer gave us a vast array of landscapes, including the ocean, beaches, a desert, lush forests, icy mountain peaks, and more, there were only two easily-identifiable landmarks: the remnants of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Ferry Building, placing you in what was San Francisco.

(Image credit: Sony)

However, given the varied terrain and the reports of the “gigantic” scope of the game from VGC, it’s clear you are traversing at least quite a bit more of California with Yosemite glimpsed at another portion of the trailer.

Horizon: Forbidden West gameplay

(Image credit: Sony)

The trailer for Horizon: Forbidden West was entirely cinematic, but we can infer the basic style of gameplay is unchanged from the original Horizon: Zero Dawn. This is an open-world action RPG that will focus on combat, evasion, traps, traversal, and stealth.

Horizon: Zero Dawn featured both a traditional RPG skill tree progression to enhance Aloy’s abilities as well as weapon crafting, both of which will presumably be present and more advanced in Horizon: Forbidden West, but we don’t have any new information on them yet.

(Image credit: Sony)

From the trailer, we have seen Aloy riding, diving with a futuristic scuba mask, climbing, and at least preparing to fight. Her bow will again be the central weapon, but she will also use slings and ropecasters, which will all make liberal use of the DualSense controller’s adaptive triggers

Her “focus” earpiece is, of course, still present, which is a kind of AR device that gives her some special abilities to track and scan enemies. Whether we will get more functionality from the focus in this installment wasn’t clear from the trailer. 

The same report on the scope of the game also indicated that a co-op mode was planned, but it remains unclear if this is part of the main game or a standalone experience, as this does not appear to fit with anything we've seen so far.

Horizon: Forbidden West story

(Image credit: Sony)

For the story, we really only have the trailer to go on at the moment, and based on that, it appears that things pick up sometime after the events of Horizon: Zero Dawn and The Frozen Wilds expansion. 

Aloy is continuing on her journey to stop the HADES system and whatever triggered it from destroying life on earth. We get glimpses of a number of new characters from presumably new tribes and some new robotic creatures, like the frighteningly large mammoths that Aloy confidently draws her bow on as the trailer comes to a close.

According to the aforementioned VGC report, the plan is for the Horizon series to be a trilogy, which presumably means we’ll get one more game to reach the end of Aloy’s story.

If you are looking to delve further into the world of Horizon ahead of Horizon: Forbidden West, a Horizon Zero Dawn comic book series released last summer offers a new story following the events of Horizon: Zero Dawn.