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‘Horizon Forbidden West’ release date, trailer, and leaks for the PS5 sequel

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Horizon Zero Dawn joined the ranks of iconic PlayStation exclusives beloved by millions of fans upon its release in February 2017, alongside franchises like God of War, despite it being an IP no one had ever heard of. And its developer Guerrilla Games could be on the cusp of announcing the sci-fi action game’s long-awaited sequel.

The Dutch developer has yet to confirm Horizon Zero Dawn 2 is even in development, but two company employees dropped a big hint it had an announcement planned for the June 4 PlayStation 5 unveiling that has since been postponed. Senior Quest Designer Blake Rebouche and Lead Animator Richard Oud both told their Twitter followers to tune into the PS5 event as if Guerrilla had a showcase planned, but then quickly deleted their posts.

This has led many fans to believe they might have accidentally spilled the beans on the HZD2 reveal, which might have meant to be a surprise since Sony has kept most of its next-generation console plans under wraps for the majority of 2020. This riled up many fans who have been patiently awaiting the follow-up to the critically acclaimed title.

The unparalleled sci-fi action game was a monumental release for its Dutch developer, which had long been a one-trick pony after it was acquired by Sony in 2005. Its previous title, Killzone Shadow Fall was met with lukewarm reviews but HZD proved to be the studio’s big break when it was nominated for the 2017 Game of the Year.

The title’s breath-taking environments, monolithic mechanical animals, and captivating plot came together to form a near-perfect RPG experience that let it easily compete against other big-name franchises. Luckily, Horizon Zero Dawn 2 might not be too far off.

Here’s everything we know about the upcoming sequel:

When will Horizon Zero Dawn 2 be announced?

Based on the news that Guerrilla’s Rebouche and Oud swiftly deleted tweets telling their followers to tune into the showcase, it’s possible that a HZD2 teaser trailer could have been planned for the PS5 reveal event that should still presumably happen sometime in June, but Sony has yet to confirm when the event will happen.

One of the leading voices in video game journalism, Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, tweeted that big, first-party game reveals are definitely on the table.

“I’d expect both first- and third-party games at the PS5 event,” he wrote. “And I def wouldn’t expect every single detail on the machine (I doubt they’ll mention price yet).”

So hopefully a HZD2 reveal will make up for Sony potentially holding back the PS5’s price.

When is the Horizon Zero Dawn 2 release date?

Guerrilla has not yet confirmed that it will release a sequel for Horizon Zero Dawn, so there hasn’t been any word about a release date. But the first game sold more than 10 million copies two years after launch, so there’s no reason to believe the developer wouldn’t follow up with another installment.

Horizon Zero Dawn took Guerrilla about seven years to develop and it was announced two years before its launch. Production for the game began in 2011 and ramped up after the 2013 release of Killzone: Shadow Fall.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

For the original game, Guerrilla built its own engine from scratch, an extremely labor-intensive process. Now that it has an established gameplay foundation and storyline, Horizon Zero Dawn 2 might take them a year or two less time.

The developer will likely have to optimize its engine for the 2020 release of the PS5, but assuming that production could have begun in 2018 we might see a 2023 release date for Horizon Zero Dawn 2. If Guerrilla follows the same timeline as original that means it could announce the title in 2021.

What has Guerrilla said about Horizon Zero Dawn 2?

For the past several months, Guerrilla Games has posted multiple job listings in search of different developers and engineers for what has long been speculated to be HZD 2. Finally, on April 21 the developers tweeted out a link to a job listing for a “Senior AI Programmer” that revealed not only that the game was in development, but that it’s seemingly being made exclusively for the PS5 and not the PS4.

Besides that, there has been little in the way of hints from Guerrilla about a sequel, but back in summer 2018, executive game producer Angie Smets dropped the juiciest tidbit of information to date.

She told VentureBeat that Guerrilla put so much time and effort into Horizon Zero Dawn that it would ludicrous not to keep the virtual world alive.

“I 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,” she said. “I hope everyone is super excited for the future.”

Guerrilla Games

Could Horizon Zero Dawn 2 support multiplayer?

Another Guerrilla job listing for a “Game Server Engineer” also hinted that Horizon Zero Dawn 2 might also feature a new multiplayer, online mode. The job description states that the developer is in need of someone to work on “systems like matchmaking, tournaments, clans, and leaderboards.”

A feature like this could take the form of PvE battles where players can team up and face off against powerful robotic animals for better rewards than they would receive by doing them on their own. The mention of “clans” is even more interesting, as Guerrilla could let players create their own tribes with friends to complete quests in a mode outside of the main story campaign, a lot like Red Dead Redemptions 2 Online.

Heavy spoilers for Horizon Zero Dawn ahead.

horizon zero dawn 

Guerrilla Games

What could Horizon Zero Dawn 2 be about?

Horizon Zero Dawn is set in a post-apocalyptic world where massive, self-replicating robots are the dominant species and humans — who have already undergone a mass extinction — are thrust back into the tribalistic society.

Gamers play as Aloy a member of one of many warring tribes that stumbles upon the origins of the mechanical beasts the rule the world. They were created by a company, named Faro Automated Solutions, nearly 1,000 ago as “peacemakers” but need biomass for fuel and eventually consumed so much of the Earth’s biosphere that it eradicated humans. But there was a Plan B.

Faro also created an artificial intelligence, named GAIA, which had the ability to shut down the peacemakers, create its own robots, and make the Earth livable for humans again. But APOLLO, the system designed to teach humans to not repeat the mistakes of the last generation, was sabotaged by Faro and led to the rise of Aloy’s tribal society.

Upon discovering GAIA, Aloy is warned about HADES, another Faro system mysteriously triggered to carry out a controlled extinction if GAIA couldn’t reestablish a stable human society. Aloy faces off against HADES at the end of the game and apparently defeats it, but not for good.

horizon zero dawn

Sylens seems to have a sinister plan to gain knowledge from HADES, which could play out in ‘Horizon Zero Dawn 2’.Guerrilla Games

The final scene of Horizon Zero Dawn reveals HADES has not been completely defeated. A dark entity — thought to be HADES — shoots out of a pile of rubble and is captured by Sylens, a secondary character thought to be Aloy’s ally.

He seems hungry for knowledge about from the evil system’s “masters” and seems ready to stop at nothing to acquire it. He could be the main villain of Horizon Zero Dawn 2.

What consoles will Horizon Zero Dawn 2 be released on?

In a down-deleted April 21 tweet, Guerrilla Games accidentally revealed that HZD 2 would launch exclusively for the PS5 and not the PS4. Guerrilla has been a subsidiary of SIE since 2005 and has been exclusively releasing on PlayStation since 2004.

It’s not a big surprise that HZD 2 would be a PlayStation exclusive but we now know for sure that it won’t launch on the PS4 and be remastered when the PS5 is released.

Sorry Xbox and PC gamers.

Horizon Zero Dawn 2 is expected to be released on the PS5 eventually.

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