A Horizon Forbidden West developer has outlined how and why the game's water looks that good.
Taking to Twitter earlier this week, Horizon Forbidden West art director and Guerrilla Games studio director Jan-Bart Van Beek gave a technical breakdown of the sequel's water systems. Responding to someone that couldn't believe how good the game's water looked, Van Beek noted that Forbidden West's waves actually break and collapse on themselves.
Forbidden West’s wave system was one of the most complex systems we build. It uses sequence of images that contain 3D vector displacement to make it possible to have waves break and collapse on themselves. Something that is hard to do, especially if it also needs to work on PS4. https://t.co/p6rC8XS1u9November 28, 2022
I'll be brutally honest: Van Beek uses a lot of words here that I simply can't interpret, chiefly because I'm not a senior engineer at a AAA developer. That being said, Van Beek emphasizes that this system of overlapping waves, as we're seeing in the clip above, is hard to pull off on current-gen consoles like the PS5, let alone last-gen tech like the PS4.
What I can deduce without being a AAA engineer is that Horizon Forbidden West's water looks absolutely dumbfounding. Some of the responses to Van Beek's post single out Naughty Dog's incredible water system for The Last of Us 2 as a rival, but the way Forbidden West's water seamlessly flows over itself really is a treat for the eyes.
It's fair to say Aloy's second outing looks generally stunning overall, with a vast open world to explore full of brilliantly detailed biomes. Whether it's the beaches to the west or the desert landscape to the far east, Horizon Forbidden West looks fantastic on any console.
Check out our upcoming PS5 games guide for a list of other titles that might well have spellbinding water effects.