Sony is planning to release Horizon Forbidden West in the holiday season, but it’s not sure yet – the release date for the Guerrilla game on PS4 and PS5 has yet to be decided.
Horizon Forbidden West is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated new PlayStation first-party games. And, not counting Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart, which is imminent (coming out next week), it seems that Aloy’s new Californian adventure is her closest AAA (short of surprises).
Last week we had spectacular new gameplay at the State of Play, but suspiciously there was no release date. Guerrilla Games explained right after that they have not decided on a release date yet, but development was still underway and would be announced soon. Could it be delayed to 2022? Some statements from Sony leave us with doubts …
Today, Sony has published an interview with Hermen Hulst, director of PlayStation Studios, in which he has spoken about this and another of Sony’s most anticipated: the new God of War (which, as you may have already heard, has been officially delayed to 2022 ). Of Horizon, Hulst has said the following: ” We are on track to launch this holiday season. But it is not entirely sure yet, and we are working as hard as possible to confirm it as soon as we can .”
This is how the pandemic has affected God of War and Horizon 2
Hulst spoke in the interview about the difficulties that the pandemic has caused in the development of the two games. Both are very narrative-centric games, and recording motion and sound capture was either impossible or very difficult when having to adopt telecommuting. Ingenious solutions were adopted, such as improvising sound studios in employee homes, but the bulk of the work was simply impossible to do.
Sony teams faced a dilemma: delay the recording of actors and sound until conditions permit, or risk the final quality by doing it differently. ” I can tell you that we are not going to risk quality” reassured Hulst. “We want to offer extremely high-quality, complete games, and we have to do that, of course, without pushing our workers to the limit .”
Hulst does not elaborate but acknowledges that both games have been affected by access to motion capture and actors. Hence, although they believe they are on their way to launch this Christmas, they are not entirely sure.
It is understandable that Sony does not want to announce the release date of the game until it is 100% safe, and avoid getting your fingers caught (as has happened with God of War, announced for 2021 and delayed to 2022 without us having seen a second of gameplay. ). Or, of course, like Cyberpunk 2077, which after multiple delays, finally went on sale in terrible condition on consoles … and now CD Projekt is paying the price, with first-quarter results well below expected.
Even so, keep in mind that the situation with Covid-19 is so unpredictable that anything could happen: even if Guerrilla got wet and finally confirmed the date in late 2021, a regrowth in summer, even if it was very local, could derail all plans. And Sony repeats (at least, on paper) that they do not intend to trade the welfare of their workers for being on time for delivery.
Delays are common in the video game industry, and in the second year with a pandemic, even more so: we have to be patient and be understanding if our favorite game takes a few more months to arrive.