The machines that roam the open world of Horizon Zero Dawn were definitely one of the most important and impressive factors in the original title, so it’s no wonder Guerrilla Games is aiming to go even bigger and better with next year’s sequel. The Dutch developer has penned a new PlayStation Blog post focusing on what the team learned from the original experience and how those learnings will be implemented into Horizon Forbidden West. It’s resulted in new machines like the Sunwing, which flies above the grounds of post-apocalyptic San Francisco.

Principal machine designer Blake Politeski said: “We’re getting to explore a new area within the world of Horizon. It was interesting to figure out what type of machines would live in different ecological zones, and how they would interact with each other, their environment, and of course humans. Machines are the so-called caretakers of this world, so how they perform their roles and what the player can do to use these behaviors to their advantage was always interesting to consider.”

Asset art lead Maxim Fleury then adds: “Blake’s team provides us with a design document that describes the general look of the machine, what type of (interactive) parts it has, and what sort of attacks it can do. There’s some top-level drawings to explain the document further, but then the real visual design moves to the Robot and Weapon Asset team.”

Horizon Forbidden West PS5 PS4

Horizon Zero Dawn had more than 25 different machines, and Forbidden West will be adding to the list with the likes of the aforementioned Sunwing. Guerrilla Games wanted to make sure it fits the world with a defined role. “We studied various flying reptiles and primitive birds for inspiration, and came up with the concept of their wings collecting solar energy during sunny weather. This in turn created an interesting gameplay dynamic: Sunwings will be vulnerable when they are harvesting solar power, but are also more alert to potential predators when they are idle,” Politeski explains.

Then there are the Tremortusks, which “keep balance on Earth and ensure that humans cannot wipe out life again. Tremortusks were created as combat machines — protecting other machine species so they can do what they were designed to do without human interference.” Both Politeski and Fluery agree the machine is one of the most formidable in the whole game. “We recommend using traps as well as the Pullcaster. Though slow, they can reach a speed that will easily trample Aloy, so get ready to dodge. Finally, be wary of its flamethrower trunk…”




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