Horizon Forbidden West has an entire team of developers dedicated solely to bringing its open world experience to life for players in the game, the Living World Team.

In a new look at Horizon Forbidden West on the PlayStation blog, Lead Living World Designer at Guerrilla, Espen Sogn explains how his team is working on various aspects of world design to bring PlayStation exclusivity to life.

“When you walk through the Forbidden West, everything should feel like it belongs there,” says Sogn. “Guerrilla’s Living World team works on aspects of the game that make the world feel authentic and alive: the tribes, the settlements, and the people in them. There is an intention behind everything we place in the world. “

It is apparently this intention that will help players understand and fully experience the plot and characters of Forbidden West when it releases next year. As part of the post, the studio explains that the Living World team worked closely with the game’s narrative designers to ensure that players are greeted with a visual experience that makes sense from a storytelling perspective throughout the game.

Horizon Forbidden West State of Play screenshots

“Our greatest challenge is to translate this narrative framework into images that are an integral part of the world itself,” says Sogn. “For example the Tenakth [one of the human tribes within the game] are known to be competitive and combat-oriented, but so are other tribes. So how do we differentiate them and how do we communicate that visually? “

“Then it’s all about the details, the animations and the behavior. In their settlements, you will see the Tenakth train and prepare for battle. They are often younger because they have to be able warriors. Their base is an ancient ruin from which they have adopted certain gestures from the Old World that they may not fully understand – such as a military salute to say hello. “

“Ultimately, our goal is to make sure NPCs feel connected to where they live, and we work closely with other internal teams like Narrative, Quest, and Environment to make sure each place feels authentic,” Sogn concludes.

This conceptual image shows one of the Horizon settlements: Forbidden West.

This conceptual image shows one of the Horizon settlements: Forbidden West.

All in all, it sounds like another potential avenue that Guerrilla hopes to improve in the sequel to Horizon. Earlier this month, the team confirmed that Forbidden West’s robotic animal population will be able to leverage ideas and mechanisms that could not be achieved in the first game in the series. Meanwhile, the studio has also given a glimpse of the changes Aloy will see this time around, with the character set providing her with a range of additional tools, as well as additional fighting techniques and improved climbing skills.

Horizon Forbidden West is expected to be released on February 18, 2022. You can find the latest from the game on our dedicated IGN page.

Jared Moore is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him Twitter.

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