We’re getting closer to the February 18 release date for Horizon Forbidden West. Guerrilla Games has kept a lot of the plot under wraps until now, but the latest trailer is packed with hints about Aloy’s future adventure. It revealed some familiar people as well as some new ones that will undoubtedly shake up Aloy’s trip — for better or worse.
In this new episode of Guerrilla Games, viewers have a lot to study and unpack. The trailer just served to emphasize Aloy’s dire situation. “The land is dying, people are hurting, and they will soon starve,” Aloy adds, as a devastating storm rages in the distance. “And the machines that are supposed to assist us are out of control.” The Forbidden West appears to hold the key to Aloy saving the world, but it also hides grave threats. “In the West, conflict is the rule – peace is the exception,” says a fresh face named Kotallo. The trailer has no reservations exposing a rebel leader’s nasty side. Regalla, as she is known, has a brutal fighting technique and even harsher phrases to characterize her. Regalla “wants to massacre everyone who has harmed her” and “would kill everyone who stands in her way.”
“She’s deadly,” Kitain says. “She has a rebel army and a mechanical army. And it is this hatred towards the Carja tribe that drives her. She’s hell-bent on wreaking havoc on that tribe, and she’s willing to burn the earth down to take her vengeance.”
What if Regalla was one of Aloy’s main antagonists, according to McCaw? His assertion was “Without a doubt. Throughout the game, Aloy will combat Regalla’s armies, as well as Regalla herself.” Regalla is played by Angela Bassett (Black Panther, What’s Love Got To Do With It, Malcolm X), a well-known Hollywood actress. The trailer’s revelation that Regalla answers to a higher authority who provides her with troops, weaponry, and even the capacity to control robots is possibly the real kicker regarding Regalla… The camera then shifts to roaming researcher Sylens, who Zero Dawn players are all too familiar with.
Sylens made a cameo in previous Forbidden West trailers, so this isn’t the first time we’ve heard he’ll be back. However, this is the first indication of his involvement in the game, and it doesn’t seem promising, as he’s directly linked with a rebel tribe. He’s the one that gives Regalla a lot of her power, according to the current clip. Guerrilla was kind enough to tell us more about Sylens’ relationship with Regalla.
“As for how [Regalla’s] tied to Sylens,” Kitain explains, “Sylens has always been a mystery and [full of] secrets.” “From Zero Dawn, we know he was assisting Aloy. But now that he’s in the Forbidden West, he’s got a plan. While much of that is something we hope players will discover, equipping Regalla and her rebels with the ability to control machinery is one of them. Why? And what are the ties that bind? That’s something Aloy will figure out.”
“Whatever secrets he has, he’s keeping to himself,” Aloy says in the latest clip. In this case, it appears she’s referring to Sylens. We know Aloy’s relationship with Sylens has been tricky from Horizon Zero Dawn, and anything can happen because he’s shown to be a wildcard. If you’ve played Zero Dawn, you’ll recognize some of the characters in the trailer, particularly Erend and Varl. In our cover story interviews, Guerrilla Games stated that part of Aloy’s journey will be discovering she can’t save the world on her alone and that her connections are crucial. In Zero Dawn, Aloy made some relationships, but Guerrilla is bringing back other characters for her to get to know more. Erend and Varl are two of Aloy’s earliest allies as she travels west, and they will both play a key role in the game. “Your playing will have an impact on the amount of time you spend with specific partners,” McCaw explains. “However, we can reveal that Varl and Erend are characters you meet early on in the game and with whom you spend a significant amount of time.”
Guerrilla has talked a lot about bringing Erend back for Forbidden West, but this is the first time we’ve seen Varl in its entirety. “Varl, like many others in the Nora tribe, regards Aloy as the anointed — a figure from their religious beliefs,” Kitain remarks at the end of Horizon Zero Dawn. “As a result, he feels obligated to assist her from that perspective. But, more importantly, he’s someone who got to know her in Zero Dawn, and he’s concerned about her as a person and the burden she’ll be carrying as she travels through the Forbidden West.”
While it’s nice to see some old friends, part of every adventure is meeting new people, and Aloy will have her share of new allies in the Forbidden West. Guerrilla was happy to dish on some of the new faces from the trailer. Pictured above is Kotallo, a fierce and loyal warrior from the Tenakth tribe. Kitain teased that his story is “very personal” and “closely tied to Aloy’s journey.” The next new character we spot is Alva, who comes from a mysterious tribe Aloy will encounter. Alva appeared in one of our cover story demos, to which McCaw described her as “bright and curious, but a little unsure of herself.” Last, we see Zo, who hails from the Utaru tribe. “She’s a grave singer, and she has a bit of a tragic past,” Kitain says.
The ending of the trailer left a strong impression with GAIA (confirmed by Guerrilla) imparting these words to Aloy: “We will find the answers but be aware, we’re not the only ones who seek them.” The shot then focuses on a new character donning white and gold. Guerrilla identified her as Tilda, and beloved actress Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix, Momento) brings her to life. “She is a mysterious and complicated character with a special connection to the ancient past,” Kitain says. “She’s someone who we look forward to players unraveling the secret of what she’s all about.”
Feeling a little overwhelmed by all the returning faces for Zero Dawn? Don’t be. Guerrilla says the team went out of the way to ensure the sequel was newcomer-friendly and had plenty of callbacks for fans. “That was something that we were conscious of when we were working on the story,” Kitain says. “We wanted to make sure that fans from the first game come into this and recognize the characters … they see Aloy as they remember her but also growing. But we also wanted to make sure that new players could come into this and get up to speed.” However, if you want to refresh your memory on some characters before the game, McCaw and Kitain gave us the ones to focus on. “To brush up on Varl, Erend, and Talanah would be a good start,” McCaw says. “But, to reiterate, it’s not needed. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know to play this game if you’re a beginner.”
Kitain also adds that Talanah’s story from the recent Horizon comics will continue into Forbidden West. “You don’t need to read the comics because one of our goals is that you are brought up to speed,” she says. “But if you have, you kind of have that extra knowledge of like, ‘Oh, okay, I know what they’re talking about and I experienced that part of her journey in the comics, and now see how that plays out in the Forbidden West.'”