The settlements of Horizon Forbidden West were already a huge improvement at the time of Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn known for its beautiful environment and Forbidden Horizon in the West looks like it would be more in line with the precedent set by the first game. Although available on both PS4 and PS5, Forbidden Horizon in the West looks really next generation. Guerrilla Games has already shown how much the much-anticipated sequel will improve in terms of combat and movement mechanics, but the developer is also making major improvements to the settlements and NPCs.

In Horizon Zero Dawn, there are only a few major settlements: the Mother’s Heart, the Meridian, and the Sun. All three have stunning visuals and convey a unique environment, each belonging to a different tribe. However, they are not as interactive and lively as they could be. When Aloy becomes a seeker after Proving, the Nora settlements are no longer needed, and while Meridian is active, it doesn’t seem populated enough to be the center of the game. Western Forbidden Looks like it will change all that.


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Each settlement has a distinct culture

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Large settlements in Horizon Zero Dawn are unique to the tribes that live in them, yet most of what makes those places special stops at the environment. Despite all its splendor, Zero Dawn never known for great NPCs or detailed animations; Human animation is actually one of the most criticized elements.

In Western Forbidden, Guerrilla’s Living Worlds team is responsible for making each settlement feel alive in a unique way. An NPC from the Nora tribe will obviously look very different from a member of the Oseram tribe, but with the new show, they now actually behave and interact with the environment in ways different from the other tribes. is different. Each tribe has their own way of life and values, now expressed through the behavior of the NPCs.

Espen Sogn, Lead Designer of Guerrilla’s Living World team, says that the goal is to make NPCs feel connected to where they live. The visual design of the sites is important for authenticity, but it is human behavior and interactions within the settlements that make the world feel alive. For each group of people to feel like a fully realized culture, how they interact with the environment and with each other is of utmost importance.

How NPCs interact with the environment of Forbidden West

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Sogn gave an example comparing the Oseram tribe, Erend’s fan familiar with the new Utaru tribe. Because Oseram values ​​masculinity and community, they are seen giving each other high punches and shoulder punches. Meanwhile, the Utaru tribe is very peaceful and believes in living in harmony with nature. They are more gentle with each other and have a more relaxed community.

The physical way in which different tribes interact with the world communicates exactly who they are and provides insight into what they value. Even the way they transport water is different. NS Tenakth, a violent new tribe value strength above all else, carry it on their shoulders. The Utaru kept their vessels near them, and Oseram only needed to use their hands. So much detail has been put into both the NPC’s physical behavior and visual design, that the player can tell which tribe they’re about to encounter from a considerable distance.

Every settled Forbidden Horizon in the West have behaviors specific to NPCs, but within them, NPCs themselves can also be individuals. Non-combat NPCs are part of a complex AI system. The crowd system determines things like directions and reactions, but there’s also an attitude system that runs even deeper. With the attitude system, NPCs can have distinct personalities.

Guerrilla is pushing the boundaries of how NPCs interact with their environment in an effort to make it feel more real and natural. NPCs will interact with everything around them, from objects on tables, buildings, to other people. Horizon Zero Dawn ambitious with its world building in other ways, but this enhanced focus on human interaction and settlements is interesting and adds another layer of depth to the already beautiful world.

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Western Settlements Forbidden More Interactive and Useful

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Horizon Zero Dawn’s many beautiful settlements for review, but in general they are not very interactive. Of course there’s always one or two merchants and NPCs to take on side quests, but other than that there’s nobody to interact with or fun activities to do. Meridian has some merchants specifically dedicated to the game’s collectibles, but that’s the only variety. In Forbidden Horizon to the West, Settlements are more fun to navigate in some ways.

When Aloy meets the sellers in Horizon Zero Dawn, they are basically a general store. Aloy can buy costumes from them, weapons, potions, and anything else she might need. In Western Forbidden, however, this whole system has been diversified. Aloy still needs to register with a merchant to get all the tools he needs for his adventure, but merchants are much more specialized now.

For starters, there are Tailors for costumes, Weapon Hunters, Herbal Doctors for potions, and Cooks that provide health benefits. As each seller specializes, they will likely have more to offer in their particular category than sellers in general. This means a lot of fun new tools for Aloy To take advantage.

Adding to the variety, merchants are influenced by the same NPC mob system that defines the different tribes. While Tenakth Cook may prioritize nutritional value to ensure warriors are prepared for battle, Oseram Cook may be more concerned with the taste of food. Not every Cook, or any other merchant for that matter, will be the same.

A lot of the tribal hubs are yet to be revealed, but fans got their first look at Chainscape, which provides a bit more insight into how these key locations might work. . Chainscape is an Oseram base that Aloy arrives at early in the game. Since Oseram is comfortable and familiar with Aloy, Chainscape can parallel Meridian on a smaller scale.

Chainscape specifics are few, but Espen Sogn has confirmed that there will be a central bar where Aloy can meet new characters. It is hoped that sites for socialization will be available in various settlements. Social centers will also likely serve as venues for Aloy to relax and challenge NPCs to a friendly game of Strike, the board game in the game Unlike Witcher 3’s Went.

Forbidden Horizon in the West Released for PS4 and PS5 on February 18, 2022.

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Aloy points his bow at Clawstrider on a beach near some ruins and trees in Horizon Forbidden West
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