Check Out Horizon Forbidden West Combat in Action in New GIFs

horizon forbidden west combat

As the game’s release draws ever closer, developer Guerrilla Games has steadily been revealing more of the upcoming Horizon Forbidden West, with their latest blog posting detailing more on the game’s combat mechanics. Head down below to learn more on how Aloy will deal with the enemies standing in her way in Horizon Forbidden West.

Combat evolved

For the team at Guerrilla, one of the goals for Horizon Forbidden West was to significantly evolve the combat design from Horizon Zero Dawn, and to continue to build on the principles of player freedom and choice during encounters in the open world.

On Aloy’s combat mechanics, Charles Perain, Combat Designer, had this to say

“Our changes to combat design stayed true to Aloy’s identity. First, we wanted to add additional depth to gameplay and increase the skill cap for players, through skills like melee combos and Valor Surges. Players who spend some time perfecting their combat skills will find some efficient and stylish ways to dispose of their enemies. Second, we wanted to cater to a variety of playstyles and really focus on freedom of choice. Through new weapons and outfits, which can be upgraded at a workbench, players can adapt their tactics. Finally, we wanted to design challenging enemies that encourage players to use all their abilities and skills. A whole new set of machines as well as advanced human enemies will keep players on their toes throughout the game!”

Authentic animation

The skill tree has been overhauled and restructured, featuring many new abilities that promote and enhance different playstyles or combinations of those. From an animation perspective, increased possibilities for Aloy and her enemies presented some unique challenges for the team.

Richard Oud, Gameplay Animation Director at Guerrilla, describes the animation process for Aloy in the blog:

“We extensively research to understand the anatomy and locomotion of a character. There are lots of differences between animating a human or a machine, however the core pillars for what we wanted to achieve with both were very similar.’

‘First, we wanted to create clarity for players. Each human class or machine is designed around a clear gameplay function, which the animation team communicates to the player through actions, posture, and motion. We rely on readable silhouettes and behaviors that the player can recognize, so you can anticipate or react to an enemy move. We play around with the timing of those movements to not only create windows of opportunities for the player to strike, block, or run, but also to show some personality traits in the animations themselves.’

Bringing battles to life

And those combat cues do not only exist in visual form; Guerrilla’s Audio team plays a pivotal role in breathing life into these epic battles. Senior Sound Designer Pinar Temiz explains how machines, unique enemies to the world of Horizon, have to sound just right.

“Our main challenge for the machines was to balance the established sonic characteristics from Horizon Zero Dawn with the freshness and complexity of the new surroundings and machine types in the Forbidden West. There are machines with even more expressive animations and world functions in this new frontier — which required even more detailed sound design to match. We had to apply what worked well in the first game and build a sound palette that made each machine come to life, while keeping them unified in their ‘Horizon-ness’.’

Awe-inspiring Machines with unique abilities

Sound isn’t the only thing that makes the machines in the Forbidden West more impressive and threatening than before.

“The team did a lot of research to get to the core personality and character traits of an enemy, as we were looking to make the world as authentic and immersive as possible,” Richard explains. “We’d usually start with a full enemy overview, including its intended strengths and weaknesses as well as keywords and traits that could fit the character. Then we’d start studying nature documentaries, feature films, encyclopedias, comic books, concepts art, and more — anything that will help get to the core of the character.’

New enemies to deal with

Aloy does not just encounter many threatening machines in the Forbidden West… She also has to deal with an increased number of human enemies, for example with Regalla’s rebels, a faction of the Tenakth tribe. This led Guerrilla to focus on a more in-depth combat system for encounters against humans, including new enemy classes with their own combat behavior and functions.

Gear up for the Forbidden West

Despite all the danger that lurks in the Forbidden West, Aloy will have plenty of opportunities to gear up and prepare before facing the worst of foes. It’s up to you to decide how to approach a situation, by using your skills, the surroundings, and the cues that the world gives you.

‘The scanning mechanic from Horizon Zero Dawn is still in place, and will highlight your opponent’s weaknesses as well as their movement path. Don’t forget to craft potions and keep your berry pouch filled to the brim in case things go awry. And lastly, mix all the new traversal tools with our combat mechanics to create truly spectacular action!”

Check out the full blog by Guerrilla over on the PlayStation Blog, and let us know what you think of Aloy’s combat in Horizon Forbidden West down in the comments below!

Source: PlayStation Blog

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