Horizon Forbidden West wasn’t at Sony’s latest showcase and isn’t coming out until 2022, but that doesn’t mean Guerrilla Games is going to let the game sit until then. The developer recently explained its ideology in updating its protagonist, Aloy, and how it intends to use the PlayStation 5’s hardware to bolster her appearance without sacrificing her image on the PlayStation 4.
Community Lead Bo de Vries wrote a lengthy post on the PlayStation Blog explaining some of these changes. Guerrilla said it was using the PS5 as a way to bring more detail to her model and even spoke about some of those specifics that are built off the shoulders from the “successfully established design foundation” from the first game.
“Each generation of consoles brings extra power that lets us add even denser polygons to our character models, so we can create finer details such as peach fuzz, smooth contouring, or finer texture details and accurate materials expression, to name a few,” said Lead Character Artist Bastien Ramisse. “And not only do visual aspects benefit from the new PlayStation 5 hardware — we have also increased the number of skeletal joints to bring our deformations and facial expressions to a whole new level for more credible and immersive character performance. All in all, a dream come true for both players and developers!”
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Some of this is a little murky since Horizon Forbidden West is also coming to PS4 where it presumably won’t have those upgrades. But Bastien said that PS4 versions still have a better Aloy to look forward to on the older console, one that surpasses her look from Horizon Zero Dawn and won’t be “compromised.”
“We actually developed and tested the game simultaneously on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, because it’s very important to us as a studio to ensure PlayStation 4 players get an equally immersive experience,” he said. “With our knowledge from Horizon Zero Dawn, we knew that we still had some unexplored resources that could push the realism and quality of our character assets forward; it’s great to now be able to tap into that knowledge and experience for the sequel.”
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Guerrilla didn’t just go over her physical appearance, but also touched on her personality, too. The team wanted to convey her strengths as a character since she “carries a lot on her shoulders” and faces situations that would make her grow even more. Guerrilla has not revealed what these scenarios are, but it sounds like she will continue to have an arc in the sequel. This is just part of the process as he noted that it was a interdisciplinary collaboration as “narrative, concept art, rigging, animation, audio and lighting (to only name a few)” all get involved when making or improving a character.
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