Guerilla Games developers recently opened up about what kinds of monsters to expect in Horizon Forbidden West. In a PlayStation Blog post, Blake Politeski, principal machine designer, and Maxim Fleury, asset art lead, name-drop a few returning monsters and explain their design process behind creating new ones.
Some monsters like the Watcher and Snapmaw, which appeared in Horizon Zero Dawn, return in the sequel. However, others like the Clawstrider and Tremortusk showcased in the trailers, are completely new to the franchise. Those are only a few examples.
Politeski cited a few thoughts behind developing the new monsters, including added areas and weapons. “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,” said Politeski. In that sense, the team approached the new machines’ creation similar to how they would with animals. Some designs also revolve around combat using new equipment like grappling hooks.
For example, the Tremortusk takes inspiration from war elephants with its mammoth body and fire-breathing trunk. “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,” Politeski and Fluery agreed. This takes into account the new Pullcaster (read: glider) and Aloy’s new movements mechanics that can give her a leg up in combat.
Some machines even come from scrapped ideas that didn’t make it into Horizon Zero Dawn. Politeski reveals that “not everything could make it into the first game.” However, the team was able to bring back ideas that weren’t originally feasible and reinvent them for the new game.
Horizon Zero Dawn incorporated over 25 machines into its story. It’s unclear how many machines Horizon Forbidden West adds to that list. Players will find out when the title releases on February 18, 2022, for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.