Horizon Forbidden West water tech took "years" to develop

Horizon Forbidden West
(Image credit: Guerrilla Games)

The Horizon Forbidden West game director has revealed how long the new wave and water technology has taken to develop for the sequel.

"Our engineers spent an incredible amount of time on the water rendering and wave techniques. They probably spent years on that," said Horizon Forbidden West game director Mathijs de Jonge in a new interview with GQ. "There’s so much detail we can put into San Francisco’s overgrown ruins. I don’t think many people have noticed but every strand is rendered individually," de Jonge continues, referencing the individual strands of moss permeating the ruins of California.

In Horizon Forbidden West, protagonist Aloy is leaving her former stomping grounds of Zero Dawn to journey westward to California. This is why de Jonge is talking about the wave technology and water rendering taking up such a large chunk of the development process: because it's basically encapsulating a large amount of the game's open-world map on the west coast of America.

In fact, Aloy can even swim in Horizon Forbidden West, a marked change in her traversal abilities from the 2017 original game. This time, we'll be able to swim underwater for prolonged periods of time as Aloy, dodging mechanical alligators and other deadly creatures, the former of which was first unveiled for the sequel last week in a new PlayStation State of Play presentation.

In the aforementioned presentation, we were treated to 14 minutes of new Horizon Forbidden West gameplay. It was here that we saw Aloy ducking mechanical beasts of all shapes and sizes near the ruins of San Francisco, delving underwater to demo one of the big new features for the sequel, before resurfacing for one big showdown with a mechanical elephant.

Right now, Horizon Forbidden West doesn't have a confirmed release date. However, PlayStation leadership has recently been talking up the game being in the "final" stages of development, and still being on track for its original predicted launch window of later this year in 2021. PlayStation aren't quite ready to commit to a firm launch date however, hence the loose release window.

For a list of all the other games set to launch on PlayStation's next-gen console at some point in the future, head over to our upcoming PS5 games guide for more.

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.