Horizon Forbidden West: Release date, trailer, gameplay, PS5 details, more

Brent Koepp
Horizon Forbidden West RPG

Guerilla Games’ open-world sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn is coming in 2022. Here’s everything we know about Horizon Forbidden West.

When Horizon Zero Dawn dropped in 2017, it was seen as a risky new franchise for developer Guerrilla Games. The studio best known for the Killzone series took a complete left turn by releasing a huge open-world title populated by mechanical dinosaurs.

But despite a slightly odd elevator pitch, it went on to be the year’s breakout success. The diverse world and methodical combat made it an instant classic among fans and critics alike.

It’s not surprising, then, that the long-awaited sequel – Horizon Forbidden West – is one the most talked-about games on the upcoming calendar. We’ve collected everything we know about Horizon Forbidden West in one place.


Aloy riding on a mechanical creature along a beach with the Golden Gate BridgeThe sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn will debut on the PS5.

Horizon Forbidden West release date

Despite delays, on August 25th, 2021, Guerilla Games finally gave fans a release date – February 18th, 2022. The game officially went gold on January 27, 2022, and the game looks to be headed for its given release date.

Is Horizon Forbidden West PlayStation exclusive?

As with Horizon Zero Dawn, the sequel will be exclusive to the PS4 and PS5. In 2020 the first game was finally released to PC players with enhancements, so as with Zero Dawn, Forbidden West may eventually come to PC down the line. Players will be able to claim the next-gen iteration of the game for free, if they are able to play on PS5 in the future.

Horizon Forbidden West trailers

Exploring gorgeous underwater locations and sprawling forests, Aloy discusses the ‘Old Ones’ and how with their demise, new life and new dangers arose. Setting the tone for the sequel, she tasks herself with finding a way to stop these ‘new dangers’ from spreading further and destroying everyone.

Horizon Forbidden West ‘New Threats’ trailer

The newest trailer, ‘New Threats’ was revealed at The Game Awards, opening with Aloy telling us that “the land is dying, and the machines are out of control”. Here, we get even more glimpses into some of the new vistas and enemies that we will be interacting with throughout Guerilla’s upcoming sequel.

Showcasing a variety of different looks for Aloy, she’s seen gliding off of cliffs, descending into the watery depths, and venturing across snowy plains as new machines roam the land.

The footage shows a variety of mecha-creatures, across a range of terrains. Some are based on animals while others resemble dinosaurs and monsters, such as giant snakes. Many of the creatures resemble the robots we saw in the first Horizon game, although there are some new robo-beasts too.

While the trailer refers to them as threats, it may be inaccurate to refer to all these creatures as enemies. For example, Aloy can be seen riding a mecha-raptor towards the end of the trailer, having bent it “to her will.” The trailer suggests that using the metal fauna as allies in-game may be a bigger part of Horizon Forbidden West than previous footage had us believe.

Horizon Forbidden West: Tribes Trailer

The next Horizon Forbidden West trailer focuses on the different tribes Aloy will meet in her next adventure:

The Oseram tribe will be returning from Horizon Zero Dawn, as do the Carja who will play a much larger role in Forbidden West.

The Utaru, a tribe will also be more fleshed out in Forbidden West than they were in Zero Dawn after only having a minor appearance in the first game. Aloy will be exploring the Utaru homeland of Plainsong in the sequel

Finally, there’s the Tenakth, this is actually an alliance of multiple tribes who have united under one banner to fight the character Regalla. We’re looking forward to seeing how the drama unfolds in Forbidden West, and which tribes will end up on top once the credits roll.

Horizon Forbidden West: Story Trailer

The full story trailer of Forbidden West went live on January 20 and is certainly one to avoid if you’re trying to dodge spoilers.

This three-minute clip offers a unique look at Aloy’s next adventure. From new enemy factions and terrifying machines, there’s plenty to unravel.

Horizon Forbidden West: Meet the Cast Trailer

Following close behind the Story Trailer was a longer video revealing the full cast for Horizon Forbidden West.

Alongside a number of familiar faces, plenty of new additions to the cast were showcased throughout the trailer.

Horizon Forbidden West PS4 Pro Gameplay trailer

With Forbidden West’s release date just weeks away, the first gameplay of the PS4 Pro versions has been uploaded to the PlayStation below.

Here, we got our first look at the new game running older hardware. Despite the difference in power, the environments still look stunning thanks to the vibrant colors and impressive design.

If all the looks at the game above weren’t enough, on February 3, 2022, PlayStation unleashed yet another trailer/look at Horizon Forbidden West, this time an in-depth look at the “Challenges of the Forbidden West.”

Horizon Forbidden West Challenges of the West

Horizon Forbidden West gameplay footage revealed

Guerilla Games previously lifted the curtain on the project and revealed extensive gameplay during the May 27, 2021, State of Play. In total, 18 minutes of new footage was shown off at the special Horizon Showcase.

Players got their first peek at the game’s gorgeous PlayStation 5 graphics, as well as a slew of new features being introduced into the franchise. The development team even gave viewers a few insights into what to expect from the story. An incomplete version of the game leaked on January 10, 2021. The leak showcased images within the PS4 version of the game, with lush environments to explore.

Horizon Forbidden West gameplay changes

Horizon Zero Dawn’s stellar gameplay went a long way to making it the modern classic we know today, and the sequel is going for bigger and better. In addition to the standard bow, arrow, and Ropecasters, Aloy will have a few new toys in her arsenal.

The Shieldwing is a type of glider that lets her quickly fly out of trouble, or swoop in to get the drop on unaware enemies. There’s also the Pullcaster, which works like a grapple hook to speed up claiming and give her greater mobility.

In fact, many of the gameplay changes seem to focus on making the world feel more open and interactive. Aloy can now freely climb on any surface rather than having to specific points, making combat more varied and tactical.

She also has a Diving Mask, which lets her dive underwater for long stretches. All of this is designed to give the player more options when traveling or approaching a fight.

In addition to all of the new gadgets, the old faithful has also been revamped. Aloy’s trusty spear is now far more devasting thanks to improved melee combat, in the hopes of making human encounters more interesting than in the first game. It can be charged up with special abilities like a shocking device to knock out enemies.

Horizon Forbidden West director Mathijs de Jonge expressed to Hardware Zone, how the game will utilize “3D audio, quick loading, and DualSense support”, with the main difference pertaining to graphical tweaks.

In an upload to the Playstation blog, devs confirmed that they had looked at improving the stealth gameplay – a key part of Horizon’s DNA. All enemies will now offer up lines of context-dependent dialogue when they notice a fallen comrade or lose sight of Aloy. These voice lines can help players plot their next move.

On top of all this, here are all the other snippets of gameplay information we know:

  • Raider enemies can now override machines to use them as both weapons and mounts.
  • Aloy now has a focus scanner that can highlight spots for free-climbing anywhere in the open world.
  • The diving mask allows you to swim underwater for as long as you want. You can hide from enemies, as well as find currents to boost travel at high speeds.
  • A larger variety of machines can now be mounted.
  • There will be a larger emphasis on weapons being shot off the robotic animals which you can pick up and now use.
  • A new slingshot can shoot adhesive grenades to stick to enemies.
  • Players will now be able to use a workbench to upgrade weapons.
  • Outfits now have skills attached to them, letting players boost their abilities in unique ways.
  • There’s a “new and improved” skill tree in Forbidden West.

The Arena

A huge addition to Horizon Forbidden West is the welcome of the new ‘Arena’ feature.

The Arena is a huge open theatre where many of the natives gather to watch some incredible fights. It seems like Aloy will now be able to challenge greater and more powerful foes during the course of many fights.

We’re unsure of what the rewards will be, but there will inevitably be rewards aplenty, and expect some testing, to say the least fights, towards the end of the list ofo fights, and post-game.

Horizon Forbidden West Aloy swimming
Underwater exploration looks to be a feature in the Guerrilla Games title.

Horizon Forbidden West setting

Horizon Zero Dawn took place in a dystopian version of Colorado, Utah, and Arizona, in the 31st century. Although they had been reclaimed by nature and were virtually unrecognizable, Forbidden West sends Aloy towards the Pacific Coasts, with more familiar US states set to show up.

We don’t know every location that Aloy will visit in her adventure, but California and Nevada are where the bulk of the game will take place. San Fransisco has featured heavily in the game’s marketing, with the derelict Golden Gate bridge appearing on the cover.

The map appears to be even more diverse than the original game’s. In addition to the desert valleys and snowy mountains, players will have to navigate Aloy through lush forests and tropical beaches.

What is Horizon Forbidden West’s story?

During the May 27 State of Play, Guerilla gave players a peek at what to expect from the story. The game will open up with Aloy and her partner Erend exploring the ruins of San Fransisco in search of an artifact.

As Guerrilla later revealed in a PlayStation blog post, Forbidden West picks up six months after the events of Zero Dawn.

A red plague-like moss called “the blight” is rapidly spreading across the world, and Aloy has to race against time to try to find a cure for it by sifting through clues left behind from past civilizations.

Horizon Forbidden West Storm trailer
Aloy must face the blight in Forbidden West, as was an ominous storm.

Throughout her journey, Aloy is set to encounter old familiar tribes along with new clans and unique machines to boot.

Along the way she’ll have help from both “old and new companions,” Guerrilla confirmed.

New Machines in Horizon Forbidden West

When Zero Dawn first launched in 2017, it did so with 26 unique machine types. While a few variants arrived The Frozen Wilds DLC, fans have been anticipating what new enemies might be on the way in the upcoming sequel.

Horizon Forbidden West gameplay
A range of new threats await Aloy in Forbidden West.

Early trailers have teased everything from giant snake-type machines to deadly Shellsnappers. With new aerial and underwater combat mechanics, there could be more variation to enemy design than ever before. In fact, we already have a good idea of just how many new foes to expect.

Forbidden West’s official strategy guide spilled the beans weeks ahead of its release. A brief description of the 656-page book revealed there are “40+ intricately designed machines” in the game. That’s a significant increase from the original game and its DLC combined.

How many hours to beat Horizon Forbidden West?

In an interview with Guerilla Games’ Game Director Mathijs de Jonge, GamePro posed a question regarding the game’s length. When asked long the story was for Horizon Forbidden West, Jonge replied: “about as long as its predecessor.”

On average, it took gamers, on average, 20-25 hours to beat Horizon Zero Dawn’s story. This obviously doesn’t account for side quests, collectibles, or any other extracurricular activities that extend the game’s longevity.

‘Howlongtobeat’ reckon that a full completionist run of Horizon Zero Dawn was 60-65 hours. Given that Forbidden West’s map is bigger and there will likely be more stuff to do, we’d estimate it will take players anywhere in the region of 60-100 hours to fully complete the game.

Horizon Forbidden West: Pre-orders & Editions

An image of the Regalla pre-order edition for Horizon Forbidden West
The Regalla Edition offers up a whole host of goodies for fans of the series.

Sony has announced that there will be four different editions of Horizon Forbidden West. Fans will be able to choose from the following:

  • Digital Deluxe Edition
    • PS4 and PS5 versions, exclusive cosmetics and weapons, digital artbook and soundtrack, more
  • Special Edition
    • SteelBook physical copy of the PS4 or PS5 version, exclusive cosmetics and weapons, digital artbook and soundtrack, more
  • Collector’s Edition
    • A custom sculpted Tremortusk and Aloy statue, PS4 and PS5 versions, SteelBook display case, exclusive cosmetics and weapons, digital artbook and soundtrack, more
  • Regalla Edition
    • A Regalla-themed, custom sculpted Tremortusk and Aloy statue, Replica Focus and custom stand, two Art Print Cards, PS4 and PS5 versions, SteelBook display case, exclusive cosmetics and weapons, digital artbook and soundtrack, more

All of the specifics can be found via the official website.

That’s all we know so far about Guerilla Games’ upcoming Horizon Forbidden West release date and gameplay. Stay tuned right here, as we’ll continually update you with any new information as it drops. For more upcoming releases, be sure to check out our hubs below:

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