Sony's PlayStation 4 has amassed an incredible roster of exclusives, ranging from revivals of legendary franchises like God of War and modern renditions of iconic superheroes, like Marvel's Spider-Man. But Guerrilla Games' Horizon Zero Dawn was in a league of its own.
The one-of-a-kind sci-fi action game was a triumphant comeback for the Amsterdam-based studio, which had been silent since the 2013 release of Killzone Shadow Fall. Horizon Zero Dawn was a completely original IP that went toe-to-toe with big-name franchises and carved out its own lane of fans. The game's breath-taking environments, monolithic mechanical animals, and captivating plot came together to form a near-perfect RPG experience that could soon receive a sequel for the upcoming PlayStation 5.
For the past several months, Guerrilla Games has posted multiple job listings in search for a variety of developers of engineers. That's a strong hint that it’s putting together a team for what will likely be Horizon Zero Dawn 2. The most telling of which is an opening for a Technical Vegetation Artist that might help create new virtual landscapes that players will explore with Aloy very soon. The description of the team reads:
“Within Guerrilla, we have four teams dedicated to creating the stunning environments of Horizon. One team focuses on the creation of lush and stunning vegetation.”
Horizon Zero Dawn was defined by its overgrown jungle region, called The Jewel, and frigid forests. Killzone is the only other active franchise Guerrilla has under its belt, and it has far more urban environments than woodland areas.
That means that a HZD sequel is likely in the works, barring a whole new series. Plus, this isn’t the first time Guerrilla has hinted at the possibility of Horizon Zero Dawn 2 coming down the line.
When is the Horizon Zero Dawn 2 release date?
Guerrilla has not yet confirmed that it will release a sequel for Horizon Zero Dawn, so there hasn’t been any word about a release date. But the first game sold more than 10 million copies two years after launch, so there’s no reason to believe the developer wouldn’t follow up with another installment.
Horizon Zero Dawn took Guerrilla about seven years to develop and it was announced two years before its launch. Production for the game began in 2011 and ramped up after the 2013 release of Killzone: Shadow Fall.
For the original game, Guerrilla built its own engine from scratch, an extremely labor-intensive process. Now that it has an established gameplay foundation and storyline, Horizon Zero Dawn 2 might take them a year or two less time.
The developer will likely have to optimize its engine for the 2020 release of the PS5, but assuming that production could have begun in 2018 we might see a 2023 release date for Horizon Zero Dawn 2. If Guerrilla follows the same timeline as original that means it could announce the title in 2021.
What has Guerrilla said about Horizon Zero Dawn 2?
There has been little in the way of hints from Guerrilla about a sequel, but back in summer 2018, executive game producer Angie Smets dropped the juiciest tidbit of information to date.
She told VentureBeat that Guerrilla put so much time and effort into Horizon Zero Dawn that it would ludicrous not to keep the virtual world alive.
“I can’t really talk about what’s next, but we obviously didn’t invest seven years into creating this big, rich world and all of the technology for nothing,” she said. “I hope everyone is super excited for the future.”
Could Horizon Zero Dawn 2 support multiplayer?
Another Guerrilla job listing for a “Game Server Engineer” also hinted that Horizon Zero Dawn 2 might also feature a new multiplayer, online mode. The job description states that the developer is in need of someone to work on "systems like matchmaking, tournaments, clans, and leaderboards."
A feature like this could take the form of PvE battles where players can team up and face off against powerful robotic animals for better rewards than they would receive by doing them on their own. The mention of "clans" is even more interesting, as Guerrilla could let players create their own tribes with friends to complete quests in a mode outside of the main story campaign, a lot like Red Dead Redemptions 2 Online.
Heavy spoilers for Horizon Zero Dawn ahead.
What could Horizon Zero Dawn 2 be about?
Horizon Zero Dawn is set in a post-apocalyptic world where massive, self-replicating robots are the dominant species and humans — who have already undergone a mass extinction — are thrust back into the tribalistic society.
Gamers play as Aloy a member of one of many warring tribes that stumbles upon the origins of the mechanical beasts the rule the world. They were created by a company, named Faro Automated Solutions, nearly 1,000 ago as “peacemakers” but need biomass for fuel and eventually consumed so much of the Earth’s biosphere that it eradicated humans. But there was a Plan B.
Faro also created an artificial intelligence, named GAIA, which had the ability to shut down the peacemakers, create its own robots, and make the Earth livable for humans again. But APOLLO, the system designed to teach humans to not repeat the mistakes of the last generation, was sabotaged by Faro and led to the rise of Aloy’s tribal society.
Upon discovering GAIA, Aloy is warned about HADES, another Faro system mysteriously triggered to carry out a controlled extinction if GAIA couldn’t reestablish a stable human society. Aloy faces off against HADES at the end of the game and apparently defeats it, but not for good.
The final scene of Horizon Zero Dawn reveals HADES has not been completely defeated. A dark entity — thought to be HADES — shoots out of a pile of rubble and is captured by Sylens, a secondary character thought to be Aloy’s ally.
He seems hungry for knowledge about from the evil system’s “masters” and seems ready to stop at nothing to acquire it. He could be the main villain of Horizon Zero Dawn 2.
What consoles will Horizon Zero Dawn 2 be released on?
Guerrilla has been a subsidiary of SIE since 2005 and has been exclusively releasing on PlayStation since 2004. When Horizon Zero Dawn 2 does eventually come out, it will almost certainly be only playable on the PS5.
Sorry Xbox and PC gamers.
Horizon Zero Dawn 2 has not been announced but it is anticipated to come out for the PS5… eventually.