Sigh. I miss Aloy. It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a year since Horizon Zero Dawn rode onto PS4, but it truly has, which means it’s time to ask the inevitable question: will there be a Horizon Zero Dawn 2? By the All-Mother, you had better believe it. It’s not hard to speculate about Horizon Zero Dawn 2 and its release date, although so far we haven’t even got a confirmation that a sequel is on its way bar a few wink-wink-nudge-nudge quotes from Guerrilla Games. Here’s everything we know about Horizon Zero Dawn 2 so far, but just prepare yourself because solid information is about as scarce as utterly undamaged pre-apocalypse buildings in Aloy’s world - i.e rare.
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 PS4 exclusivity is almost certain
Come on, what did you expect? There’s pretty much zero chance that Sony would let Guerrilla Games put the game on Microsoft’s Xbox One - or even whatever Xbox Project Scarlett turns out to be. Horizon Zero Dawn has sold over 7.6 million copies worldwide as of February 2018, so it’s been moderately successful (sarcasm). With such a sparkling gem in Sony’s crown, don’t get your hopes up for Horizon Zero Dawn 2 being released on anything but PS4, PS4 Pro, or the PS5 when it eventually comes out.
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 2 news
Horizon Zero Dawn must be in early stages of development, but so far there’s very little news about what will feature in the sequel to Guerrilla Games’ phenomenal Horizon Zero Dawn or any official news about the next game to emerge, blinking in the sunlight, from Guerrilla Games. But hey, you know what I have instead for you? S P E C U L A T I O N. Until we get any solid information, that’s going to have to do for now. Apologies.
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? Co-op? Actually, demand for co-op in Horizon has been pretty low. According to Hulst: “I think some people are very happy when there’s a beautiful single-player campaign and a story. That’s been the overwhelming majority.”
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.