Guerrilla’s Horizon Series Could Use a Miles Morales-Style Spin-Off


Sony’s first-party studios developed a number of iconic titles during the PlayStation 4 generation, including Insomniac Games’ Marvel’s Spider-ManGuerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawnand Santa Monica Studios God of War (2018). The PlayStation 5 has or will feature sequels that continue these now franchises. Horizon Forbidden West hit shelves this February, and God of War Ragnarok is scheduled to release on November 9. Insomniac’s take on the web-head is in a more interesting position.

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Following the success of Marvel’s Spider-Man in 2018, Insomniac released a handful of DLC expansions. It then announced one of the PS5’s launch titles in Spider-Man: Miles Morales, a spin-off about the titular second Spidey from Harlem. This much shorter adventure starring a similar superhero with his own distinct powers ultimately served as a set-up for the franchise’s true sequel Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, which as of this writing is set to release sometime in 2023 with both Peter Parker and Miles Morales as main playable characters. the Horizon franchise could attempt a similar strategy for its yet-revealed sequel to Horizon Forbidden West. Spoilers for Horizon Forbidden West ahead.


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A Brief History of Horizon’s World

The release of Horizon Zero Dawn in 2017 was a big departure for Guerrilla, which was best-known for its sci-fi first-person shooter franchise kill zone. with Horizon, the Netherlands-based studio spotlighted a post-apocalyptic America in which humanity was reduced to a set of smaller tribes beset by animalistic machines among the ruins of modern-day society. Players took the role of Aloy, a young woman who becomes one of the most skilled hunters in the land to prove herself after being outcast by the Nora tribe at birth.


Aloy received a Focus in Zero Dawn‘s cold open, an all-purpose smart device from the old world that allows her to better understand the machines, why they exist, and how the planet came to ruin. To make a long story short, humanity’s effort to reverse the effects of climate change brought prominence to business mogul Ted Faro, who then pivoted Faro Automated Solutions to military contracts that created a line of “Chariot” war machines. The company lost control of its machines, which were capable of absorbing biomass from all living matter, so scientist Elisabet Sobeck spearheaded Project Zero Dawn to reseed the Earth after its annihilation.


Horizon Zero Dawn deals with Aloy learning about this past while seeking revenge on the Eclipse cult that killed her father figure Rost, as it turns out the Eclipse are being manipulated by HADES: a mysteriously sentient sub-function of GAIA, the AI ​​tasked with running Project Zero Dawn . As HADES’ original purpose was a failsafe to wipe the slate clean in case non-viable ecosystems were cultivated, its living purpose is a more twisted version of that destruction.

Horizon Forbidden West reveals a group of wealthy humans collectively named the Far Zeniths who managed to settle an off-world colony while Project Zero Dawn scrambled to reach the finish line. The return of these nigh-godlike beings who achieved immortality pushes Aloy harder than ever, leading her to form closer bonds with whom she shares knowledge of the old world. However, at the end of the adventure it’s revealed the Far Zeniths were running away from a larger threat: Nemesis. This AI, born from the intermingling consciousnesses of a failed digital immortality experiment, became malignant upon its abandonment and now threatens to destroy its creators’ home world. It is revealed to be the source of that mysterious signal which brought HADES and the other GAIA sub-functions to life.


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Why Horizon Could Benefit From a Cast-Expanding Spin-Off

Nemesis’ existential threat is more than Aloy and her band of allies can handle on their own, even after they leverage the technological prowess of Aloy’s clone “sister” Beta and the warmongering Tenakth tribe to defeat the Far Zeniths. Forbidden West ends with Aloy’s team scattering across the titular Forbidden West and beyond to begin recruiting tribes for the great war to come.

There are rumors that Horizon Forbidden West DLC is in the works, which would make sense considering Zero Dawn also received the “Frozen Wilds” expansion. This DLC would likely keep Aloy as the perspective character, leaving room for one of the other principal cast members to be spotlighted in a Miles Morales-style spin-off. The obvious choice for this would be Erend, a member of the Oseram tribe who serves as leader of the Carja Vanguard – and Aloy’s oldest, closest companion after the death of Varl. Like Miles Morales compared to Peter Parker, Erend is shown to have similar combat capabilities as Aloy when he partners with her to fight Asera and the Sons of Prometheus. Yet his combat style is more focused on melee attacks with a powerful warhammer, which would lend itself to a unique skill tree.


The rest of the supporting cast in Forbidden West could similarly star in a spin-off focused on their efforts to unite the world against Nemesis. Kotallo’s efforts to recruit the Tenakth or Zo attempting to convince the agrarian Utaru could just as easily carry a narrative, as would shifting perspective completely to characters like Sun-King Avad or Sunhawk Talanah from the Carja Hunter’s Lodge. Yet a spin-off with the most potential could follow the advanced Quen tribe across the Pacific Ocean, which would give HorizonThe world a perspective outside of America.

like Spider-Man: Miles Moralesa Horizon spin-off centering one of Aloy’s companions could open the door to a third entry with multiple protagonists. With a character like Erend in particular, Guerrilla could continue expanding upon the series’ mechanics by giving Aloy more range and trap-focused abilities as the Oseram warrior delves deeper into melee combat. Guerrilla and recent PlayStation acquisition Firesprite will release a spin-off called Horizon: Call of the Mountain for the PS VR2 headset, but it’s hard to say whether its protagonist Ryas will be anything more than a virtual reality player-insert when it comes to the next true sequel. Fans just have to wait and see what this franchise has in store.


Horizon Forbidden West is available now on PS4 and PS5.

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