Guerrilla Games, known for their successful Killzone series, made a dramatic shift with the creation of Horizon: Zero Dawn. They traded linear levels, guns, and space Nazis for an open world filled with primitive weapons and robot dinosaurs. At the Develop: Brighton conference, three members of the studio’s leadership reflected on their journey and shared insights into the motivations behind the creation of the Horizon franchise. From the challenges faced during the development of Killzone to the success and evolution of Horizon, Guerrilla Games has continuously pushed boundaries and captured the hearts of gamers worldwide.
Transitioning from Killzone to Horizon:
Guerrilla Games learned valuable lessons from the development of Killzone, realizing the importance of having a relatable hero for players to identify with. While Killzone focused on the perspective of the “baddies,” it made storytelling challenging. With Horizon, the team aimed to create a broader audience appeal and tell a story that resonated with a larger player base. The introduction of Aloy, the protagonist of the Horizon series, became an intrinsic part of the pitch, and the team’s vision was well-received by fans, as evidenced by their enthusiastic cosplays and tattoos inspired by the character.
The Motivation behind Horizon:
The shift to Horizon allowed Guerrilla Games to explore new creative horizons. After spending significant time creating ruins in the Killzone series, the team became excited about building nature-centric environments and exploring the theme of robots. They wanted to create a game that showcased the beauty of nature and featured awe-inspiring robotic creatures. This change in direction aligned with the studio’s desire to create a bigger and more ambitious IP.
Challenges and Success of Horizon: Forbidden West:
The release of Horizon: Forbidden West presented new challenges for Guerrilla Games. Building upon the success of Horizon Zero Dawn, the team needed to capture the original magic while delivering new surprises and maintaining player engagement. The development team faced technical hurdles, especially regarding the implementation of flying mechanics on the PlayStation 4. Sacrifices were made, and the team’s perseverance paid off as they successfully integrated this feature into the game. The introduction of underwater exploration and enhanced visuals on the PlayStation 5 further elevated the Horizon experience.
Future of the Horizon Franchise:
Guerrilla Games is committed to the Horizon franchise’s long-term future. The studio plans to continue expanding the franchise, including developing a multiplayer game set in Aloy’s world. Additionally, a Netflix TV show adaptation is in the works, further highlighting the franchise’s potential for growth across different media. With the success and popularity of the Horizon series, the studio aims to create an enduring franchise that captivates audiences through immersive gameplay, engaging characters, and stunning environments.
The journey of Guerrilla Games from the Killzone series to the Horizon franchise showcases their willingness to take creative risks and push the boundaries of game development. Horizon: Zero Dawn and its sequel, Horizon: Forbidden West, have captivated players with their immersive open-world experiences and compelling narratives. With future plans for a multiplayer game and a Netflix adaptation, Guerrilla Games is poised to further expand the Horizon universe and continue delighting fans. As the studio celebrates its 20th anniversary, they reflect on their achievements while looking forward to new adventures in Aloy’s world.
References: Polygon. Horizon studio says ‘Aloy’s next adventure’ is in the works. Retrieved from: https://www.polygon.com/23695756/horizon-forbidden-west-sequel-guerrilla-game