Horizon Zero Dawn remake leak reveals the secret to Sony's strategy
Despite its criticisms, this project is a smart move.
If The Last of Us Part I taught the world anything, it’s that an exhaustive remake of an already-excellent PlayStation game made far too soon can actually be a good thing. Now, less than a year after the release of Horizon Forbidden West, new reports suggest that Sony may be working on a remake or remaster for the first game, Horizon Zero Dawn. Similar to how the Last of Us remake incorporated the accessibility features, improved visuals, and better performance of its sequel, this Horizon remake could do the same on PS5. While early reactions are mixed, this codifies a novel approach that Sony is taking to its greatest hits, breathing new life into its most beloved titles by making them easier to access and better to play for all types of gamers.
Expanding its player-base
The original Horizon Zero Dawn launched in 2017, and although it holds up well in 2022, there are some growing pains. Including more accessibility features and quality-of-life improvements will allow it to appeal to a wider audience, building upon an already excellent experience. According to MP1st, that’s exactly why this remaster/remake is happening.
Sony has made incredible strides toward accessibility in recent years, and many of its marquee titles have set new high standards for the industry at large. Most notably, The Last of Us Part II offered a slew of impressive features such as text-to-speech, high contrast display, a wide variety of HUD scaling options, lock-on aim, the ability to skip puzzles, and lots more. That ethos was also applied to Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and also to Horizon Forbidden West, which features six different difficulty options along with customizable gameplay elements like player damage, enemy health, and easy looting.
In all likelihood, this project will apply Horizon Forbidden West graphics and accessibility options to Horizon Zero Dawn. We can probably expect an enhanced lighting system, improved textures, new character models, and better animations, bringing it closer to what you’d expect from a PS5 game. The leap between the first two games isn’t as drastic as the gap between The Last of Us and its sequel, but it’s remarkable just how much better Forbbiden West looks compared to its predecessor. Playing Zero Dawn with a more modern look will surely be a treat.
A new reason to play
But of course, if you’ve already played through Zero Dawn, the addition of accessibility features might not be enough to bring you back. Interestingly, the aforementioned report also indicates that a multiplayer game set in the Horizon universe is also in the works. The game will reportedly allow players to choose between different tribes, though, further details weren’t revealed. It’s unclear if it’ll focus on co-op, versus, or some combination of the two.
Assuming this new game is real, Sony should include it as a package with the Horizon Zero Dawn remaster. The base game’s improvements will surely appeal to new players, while the implementation of an entire multiplayer game could encourage longtime fans to jump back in. Given how a multiplayer game needs a community to thrive, lowering the barrier to entry is the best move in this case.
The reports suggest the multiplayer experience is a standalone game, but including it with the remaster would soften the blow, especially if the price is right. It’s unlikely Sony could pull off another $70 priced game without any substantial new features.
Despite its criticisms, a Horizon Zero Dawn PS5 remake/remaster will surely do well for Sony. Sure, it’s not as necessary as other remasters, but if Sony plays its cards right, this will likely be a lucrative endeavor, bringing Horizon to more players than ever.