Horizon Forbidden West is in the "final stages" of development, which is great news if you're hoping that holiday 2021 release window holds strong.
In a new interview with Hardware Zone, Horizon Forbidden West game director Mathijs de Jonge was asked how far along the game is in development, and the answer he gave is reassuring to say the least.
"We have just successfully completed our beta milestone, which is pretty far along," said De Jonge. "We're now in the final stages of development. So we are polishing the game and fixing bugs. We are also wrapping up certain aspects of the game, like some of the machines being behind schedule - because it takes an enormous amount of time to build them. We're working on the final cinematic. So, we're really wrapping up. There's still a lot to do with a game of this size and magnitude, but we're in the final stages."
You might recall that on Wednesday, PlayStation Studios head Hermen Hulst cast some doubt on Horizon Forbidden West's holiday 2021 release window. Despite saying that the sequel is on track to launch in that timeframe, Hulst also confirmed that the release window "isn't quite certain yet." For that reason, it's good to hear that the bulk of development is in the rear-view mirror.
The fact that De Jonge mentions the beta stage is especially encouraging, and it signals that development is largely focused on polish and stability at this point. Though he does mention that work is still being done on the final cutscene, a late 2021 launch certainly sounds reasonable.
Elsewhere in the Hardware Zone interview, De Jonge acknowledges the community's hope for air traversal sparked by the introduction of flying machines like the Sunwing. De Jonge wouldn't confirm or deny speculation about flying in Horizon Forbidden West, but says he's aware that it's "very, very high on the wishlists of many gamers." Typically, developers only give that sort-of non answer when they're waiting to reveal a feature, so there's a good chance we'll take to the skies as Aloy when the game launches, hopefully later this year.
Check out our own interview with De Jonge where we talk about how Horizon Forbidden West rewards you for investing in its world. And here's our comprehensive guide to upcoming PS5 games.