Horizon Forbidden West devs detail Aloy's new abilities

By Heidi Nicholas,
Guerrilla's second developer blog details Aloy's traversal and survival abilities for Horizon Forbidden West, along with a few of the new weapons and tools she'll be able to use.

Guerrilla breaks down Aloy's abilities and new tools in the most recent PlayStation Blog post. "Aloy can climb freely on and across huge sections of rocky terrain," explains lead systems designer David McMullen. "Even more machine types can be used as mounts; grapple points can be found throughout the environment which allows agile vertical traversal; swimming underwater has opened up a whole new aspect of exploration; and gliding with the Shieldwing provides the ultimate view of the beautiful world of Horizon Forbidden West – not to mention a quick way down from great heights!”

Aloy will find certain areas of the terrain climbable even without tribal handholds, for instance. This, together with the grappling elements and the "high vault traversal mechanic" means that Aloy has even more room to explore. Aloy will also have new tools like the Pullcaster and Shieldwing to enable exploration. "The Pullcaster is a mechanical wrist-mounted device with two separate functions. The first function is a grapple mechanic, allowing the player to swiftly and easily ascend the environment and providing a dynamic traversal/escape option to the player toolkit," McMullen explains. "When grappling, the player can activate the launch — throwing them into the air, where they can grab a higher ledge, fire their bow, glide, strike-from-above or even grapple to a further point." The second option is to use the Pullcaster as a winch. The Shieldwing, meanwhile, will allow Aloy to glide from high points, instead of trudging back down the same path she used to get there in the first place. She can even glide to land on her mount.

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A workbench will allow Aloy to upgrade weapons and gear, while the skill tree has been redesigned with "additional tracks and skills." One skill, the Resonator Blast, was discussed in more detail: "you charge up the spear with melee hits and when fully powered up, the energy can be placed on enemies (humans and machines alike) and followed up with a projectile – resulting in a big damaging explosion!" Some enemies will be able to mount machines in the sequel, so mounted combat will be a feature. "When it comes to mounted combat, the player will have to adapt and decide whom to take out first and in what most effective way; human enemies have weapons, attacks, and abilities that machines don’t and vice versa, so they complement each other in these encounters; keeping you on your toes!” Guerrilla also described one of Aloy's new weapons; the Spike Thrower, a "high damage weapon" which will apparently help in combat against large targets.

The Guerrilla team also discussed the function of the DualSense wireless controller for the PS5. "We’ve also added extra tactile dimensions to increase both the gameplay value and the feeling of being part of the world Aloy is moving around in," McMullen explains. "These can be subtle as the sensation of grass brushing around you to indicate you are entering stealth grass, or the pop of the adaptive trigger as you reach maximum draw with a bow. We even use the absence of adaptive tension to help communicate when you’re out of ammo.”

This second developer blog gave us a lot of info to mull over while we wait for more Horizon Forbidden West news. What do you think of everything we've learned? Let us know in the comments!
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Hey, I'm Heidi! I've just finished studying a Masters in English Literature, but I've been obsessed with gaming since long before then. I began on the PS2 with Spyro, before graduating to the Xbox 360 and disappearing into Skyrim. I'm now a loyal RPG fan, but I still like to explore other genres — when I'm not playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or being lured back into Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3!