One of my main bugbears about Horizon Zero Dawn was the climbing. I didn’t notice this so much during my playthrough of the base game, it was only during The Frozen Wilds DLC that I noticed the climbing was a bit limiting.
Before I tackled The Frozen Wilds, I had been introduced to the world of Assassin’s Creed. Namely Assassin’s Creed Origins. I loved the fact that Bayek could pretty much climb anything. I felt this was really important for traversal and exploration in Ubisoft’s Egyptian open-world. Whether it was a near-vertical cliff face, a huge wall, or a massive sloping pyramid, it could be climbed.
Then I played The Frozen Wilds expansion for Horizon Zero Dawn and realized the climbing was a bit, meh. Of course, Horizon Zero Dawn was and is a fantastic game but the climbing mechanics certainly could have been better.
In Horizon Zero Dawn, climbing was limited to the yellow handholds or ledges that were placed by the developers. There was no sense of freedom in climbing and there was usually only one linear way up to a high point. That’s all set to change with Horizon Forbidden West though as the game’s director has confirmed that climbing won’t have the restrictions the first game did.
Climb Aloy, climb free, climb anywhere
In a video by French YouTuber Julien Chièze, game director Mathias De Jong confirmed that you’ll be able to climb anywhere in Horizon Forbidden West.
“You can now climb anywhere also you don’t have to use the focus pulse that was in the demo, that was just to show it in low light conditions. You can just climb anywhere.” De Jong said.
De Jong explains the developer’s decision to make climbing less restrictive in Forbidden West by saying “because the world of Horizon is so beautiful and because it’s an open-world it’s really nice to just go anywhere and explore these beautiful settings”.
we added more verticality in terms of the traversal which is a big step up compared to the first game
De Jong further explains that in the open world, where there are rocks, cliffs, and mountains that you can just climb anywhere.
More Verticality is better for traversal
Once you have climbed something in Horizon Forbidden West, De Jong explains that you can climb down using the new glider or use the new grapple ability to launch yourself up. Or take a nice refreshing dive into the water below.
“So we added more verticality in terms of the traversal which is a big step up compared to the first game.” De Jong said.
I am extremely pleased that Guerrilla Games has vastly improved the climbing for Horizon Forbidden West. After playing the last three Assassin’s Creed games, I just don’t think I could go back to restrictive climbing in an open-world game.
Horizon Forbidden West is supposed to be releasing later this year, but Sony said recently that the release date “isn’t certain.”