Horizon Zero Dawn 2 basically a given, although it will no doubt not actually be called that. It's now looking likely that the game will be the perfect match for the PS5, and it sounds like the matchmakers at Sony agree. A new report from VGC says the series is being turned into a trilogy, with the first sequel releasing exclusively on PS5. Of course, with nothing official from Sony or Guerilla Games, we're still just speculating.
Either way though, a Horizon Zero Dawn 2 in some form feels inevitable. When Horizon Zero Dawn landed in 2017, everyone was immediately taken with its expansive open world and the red-haired protagonist. Aloy's story is far from over, and with so much scope for more exploration, another adventure is surely on the horizon. While news is scarce and the developer has yet to speak about the existence of the sequel, we've gathered together every piece of information we can find, as we as putting forward our theories for what might happening in Horizon Zero Dawn 2. So without further ado, here's everything we know so far.
Horizon Zero Dawn 2 release date is anyone’s guess
Inspecting our temporary additional Studio Space. It’s a canal mansion built in 1741, adjacent to @Guerrilla studio. This will be part of our home until our few Facility is ready late next year pic.twitter.com/yDC6a6nKoNSeptember 24, 2018
In 2018 Guerrilla Games moved into temporary studio space before transitioning into brand new offices. Scaling up to a five-floor office in Amsterdam in early 2019, its new location has 7,300 square meters of space… so it’s safe to say the studio is ramping up. A lot. Whatever its plans are for Horizon Zero Dawn 2, with that much space it’s certainly expanding which can only mean thing… a better, bigger Horizon Zero Dawn is in the works! This move hints that on the way could be a denser world saturated with things to collect and backstories to uncover, deeper AI ecosystems between robots and wildlife, as well as - obviously - more sidequests for Aloy.
Considering the end of Horizon Zero Dawn depicted Sylens approaching a downed Horus robot (that can create Destroyer robots), one of these reanimated skyscraper-sized machines could even make an appearance in Horizon Zero Dawn 2. The amount of work you’d need to put in to make a Horus a feature of the world could be astronomical, especially Aloy was able to get near and explore its interior like it was a whole new region. Phew. Whatever Guerrilla is doing with its new space, I definitely can’t wait to see the results (in case you couldn’t tell).
Horizon Zero Dawn 2 could already be in the works
Back in November, a new job listing appeared for a technical vegetation artist at Guerrilla Games. The posting itself outright mentions Horizon, indicating that the studio may well have already started work on a sequel, and are to working to add some dressing to the game's world. Ooh.
"Within Guerrilla, we have four teams dedicated to creating the stunning environments of Horizon," the listing states. "One team focuses on the creation of lush and stunning vegetation. We build these 3D models from scratch, so our world dressing teams can deliver our immersive world with industry-benchmark graphics."
More recently, a job listing on the official Guerrilla website was asking for applications for the role of a technical vegetation artist. The role will focus on creating "lush and stunning vegetation" so the studio's world-dressing team "can deliver our immersive world with industry-benchmark graphics". While the current version of the listing doesn't say what this artist position would work on, originally it specified work on "Horizon".
#HorizonZeroDawn 2 will feature "stunning environments," "lush and stunning vegetation," and "industry-benchmark graphics." And FYI, they aren't calling it #HorizonZeroDawn2 pic.twitter.com/nbkzxxSvvtMay 7, 2020
So it's clear something Horizon-shaped is happening over at Guerrilla.
Horizon Zero Dawn 2 PlayStation exclusivity is almost certain
It's looking very likely that Horizon Zero Dawn 2, or whatever it's eventually called, will be a PS5 exclusive. According to a new report from VGC citing multiple sources, Guerilla has now entirely focused on bringing Horizon's sequel to the PS5, rather than the PS4 release originally targeted.
It's described as "gigantic in scope with a larger game world and more freedom to explore it than in its predecessor". There's even co-op being talked about too.
However, the fact that the original Horizon Zero Dawn is getting a PC release later this year does throw lifetime PS5 exclusivity into some disarray. It could be that we see a closer partnership between PS5 and PC in the future, but nothing is concrete yet.
Horizon Zero Dawn 2 trailer remains elusive for now
Not even Aloy’s Focus could sniff out the Horizon Zero Dawn 2 trailer as it currently hasn’t been shown to the public in any capacity. There’s nothing anywhere about it. Zero. Zilch. Not even a leaked screenshot. But don’t worry - it’s coming. In an interview with Venturebeat, Angie Smets (Guerrilla Games’ Executive Producer) said that she “can’t really talk about what’s next, but we obviously didn’t invest seven years into creating this big, rich world and all of the technology for nothing”. Rest assured, that definitely means they’ve got Horizon Zero Dawn 2 waiting in the wings. We’ll just have to try and be patient and wait for the trailer to come to us when it’s good and ready. Booooo.
Horizon Zero Dawn comics
If you want to get a dose of Horizon before a sequel appears, then you're in luck. A Horizon Zero Dawn comic book series is en route and will launch July 22. It picks up after the events of the main game. Aloy's disappeared, and now Talanah (the Sunhawk from the Carja Hunter's Lodge) is trying to discover what's happened - as well as trying to grapple with a new threat. Check out the cover for the first issue above.
The new series is being written by Anne Toole, who helped write the game, and will feature art by Ann Maulina. Titan Comics will publish the comics in collaboration with Guerrilla Games.
"Fans are going to absolutely love the stories we have to tell of Talanah and Aloy as we expand the Horizon Zero Dawn universe in this new comic series," said editor Tolly Mags (via THR). "I’m really excited to see their reaction when this explosive new story arrives."
Horizon Zero Dawn 2 characters - will Aloy return?
Although we kinda feel like her story has been told, the end of Horizon Zero Dawn with Sylens and HADES implies there’s more for her to discover and do. Speaking to GR for a recent feature, Hermen Hulst - Managing Director and co-founder of Guerrilla Games - says:
“She’s really uncovered some of the main mysteries in the world, but how do you feel when you finish the story? Are there questions that come up that you want to relive and answer for Aloy? It was not difficult for us to build the Frozen Wilds and tell that story through Aloy. The environments and the world that we’ve put together easily raise more questions.”
It’s a cryptic way of telling us that we’re not done with Aloy yet. After all, you can’t throw away such a significant part of the original’s appeal. Continuing, Hulst describes Frozen Wilds as a side-story for Aloy, saying that “we obviously couldn’t tell the next chapter of the personal journey of Aloy.” Why not? If there are plans to tell more of Aloy’s story, you’d probably need a full sequel to do so because there isn’t enough scope in the DLC.
As Aloy was one of the core pillars of Horizon Zero Dawn, I think it's safe to assume that she'll definitely making a return. Perhaps she'll be a mother herself this time around, as the theme of motherhood and destiny was a strong one throughout the entirety of the first game. Another possibility is that Aloy turns her attentions to hunting down Sylens after he helps HADES to reanimate the wrecked Horus they find in the post-credits sequence (come on, why else would he look at it an onimously say "we've still so much to discuss"?). Which leads me nicely onto...
Horizon Zero Dawn 2 gameplay and story - what is likely to happen?
Given that gameplay is intrinsically linked to story in the original, the two will evolve hand-in-hand for Horizon Zero Dawn 2. We know from the ending of the first game that Sylens has saved HADES for himself, so that instantly provides us with a new bad guy. Sylens and Aloy have a strange kind of frenemy relationship, with Sylens periodically helping out Aloy but being transparent about his reasons for keeping her safe (namely, her link to the Old World and his insatiable thirst for knowledge). Although it would be easy to paint him as a pure villain, the fact that he's been known to help Aloy - and might even reluctantly admire her tenacity - could pave the way for a much more nuanced relationship between the hero and villain in Horizon Zero Dawn 2. Remember that the rogue AI HADES isn't dead, too. If you bear in mind HADES' core programming to kill all life, the fact that it's not destroyed almost guarantees it'll return in Horizon Zero Dawn 2 as it attempts to - yup, you guessed it - kill humanity all over again. Interestingly, when speaking to GR, Hulst commented on his interest in the subject of AI:
“What you’re picking up on is the personification of AI systems, of giving them a face and a character and a behaviour,” he says. “These are huge themes in our world too: the autonomy of warfare, the potential threat of AI going wrong. I think it’s really nice to show and not tell in games, and have the player react to them - and fight them - that makes it much more interesting to me.” While that’s very much a thing in Horizon, and the main thrust of The Frozen Wilds, it sounds like AI could well be a continuing theme of Horizon Zero Dawn 2.
And here’s another interesting titbit from the interview, which could give clues about where combat will go in the sequel. According to Hulst, the lead designer at Guerrilla loves Monster Hunter, and has been playing the heck out of Monster Hunter World (haven’t we all?). While it wouldn’t be a radical departure from the original, we could see many of Monster Hunter World’s innovations appearing in a new Horizon game. “Our lead designer has been a massive Monster Hunter fan from way before Monster Hunter World,” says Hulst. “He loves that game and a lot of the combat with the machines comes from that series.” Will we see hunting jobs? Massive creatures like the Baselguese stalking you post-game? Will it have co-op? Well, according to the aforementioned report from VGC, online co-op will be a feature in Horizon Zero Dawn 2, but again, that's unconfirmed.
Horizon Zero Dawn 2 - what about the creatures?
Looks like there will be plenty more creatures in the Horizon Zero Dawn 2. Speaking to GameInformer, Art Director Jan-Bart van Beek says that the sequel should have “more machines. They are a lot of fun to design, build, animate, and play with. I wish we could have done a hundred. But reality is a harsh mistress; it doesn’t allow you to make hundreds of machines.” This goes without saying, as does the idea that there will be more powerful enemies too - yes, even more so than the Fireclaw. It’s also possible that we’ll see the creatures interacting more, and feeling like a more natural part of the world.
This idea of an ecosystem was something the creators chose to show less of in the original, but could be a thing for the sequel. Speaking about the original game to GR, Hulst says: “It’s important that the world make sense and the machines have their own roles. You know, the Grazers are grazing, and they fulfil a role in this AI-driven existence. But how much you’re going to show of that, of the roles the machines play in the ecosystem, well we could have chosen to show more in that regard, but we also wanted to make it a challenge to fight them, to spend time developing the tribes and the worlds and the foundries.” It’s definitely something we could see in the follow-up - machines fighting machines, and playing more of a role in shaping the world we play in.
There might even be robots that aren't hostile to humans: as Aloy can hack the machines, there's a distinct possibility that she might be able to duplicate the technology and pass that skill onto other tribes, leading to Striders and Broadheads being broadly domesticated robots. Plus, as we know that Cauldrons create robots to replace the ones that are destroyed, the new robots could be practically anything as long as they fit into the post-post-apocalyptic world...is it too much to hope for a dog robot? Please?
And what do we think?
Horizon Zero Dawn 2 needs to tell more of Aloy’s story, but she can’t stay in the same place forever. What’d be great is if we see her taking a journey to a different part of America, to unite more tribes against the HADES AI. Providing the regeneration has spread that far, of course. Perhaps we’ll see Aloy becoming a Chieftain, and like I've mentioned above, maybe even a mother, forcing her to confront personal wishes while managing the needs of her tribe. We could see co-op, especially after the success of Monster Hunter World, but the true beauty of Horizon lies in the story it tells, so focusing on multiplayer would certainly detract from that. There’s nothing wrong with having a proper, single-player adventure game. Finally, have we seen the last of Sylens? No, obviously not. And there are plenty of questions remaining about how Aloy’s world was generated, and loads more secrets about its past, present, and future to find buried under the earth or in lines of ancient computer code.