PlayStation 5 Launch Game Predictions: Horizon Zero Dawn 2
Updated: May 8, 2020
A video game console is only as good as its games. While we wait to hear more details about the PlayStation 5 in the coming months, this new series of articles will provide you with concrete, evidence-based predictions for launch titles we might be seeing this winter.
First up, let's assess how likely a sequel to Guerilla Games' Horizon Zero Dawn is as a PS5 launch title...
Horizon Zero Dawn 2
2017 - Horizon Zero Dawn Releases to mass critical acclaim.
2018 - Guerilla Games, the studio behind the original game doubles in size. Former CEO Herman Hulst says he wants to "release games in the two or three years, both new titles and games based on existing titles."
2019 - New figures reveal that Horizon Zero Dawn has sold over 10 million copies in the two years since its release.
2019 - A voice actor from the original game's DLC alludes to a sequel being in the works.
2019 - After an executive re-shuffle at SIE, Hermen Hulst, the co-founder, and CEO of Guerilla Games gets promoted to Head of Worldwide Studios at Sony Interactive Entertainment.
2020 - Hulst confirms Horizon Zero Dawn, a PlayStation exclusive, will receive a PC release this summer, saying"I think it's important that we stay open to new ideas of how to introduce more people to PlayStation, and show people maybe what they've been missing out on."
2020 - PS5's Controller, the DualSense is revealed. The Official PlayStation Blog post says "We also incorporated adaptive triggers into the L2 and R2 buttons of DualSense so you can truly feel the tension of your actions, like when drawing a bow to shoot an arrow."
Horizon Zero Dawn's popularity has often been overlooked in the three years since its release. Not only did the game sell extremely well, but critics loved it. Horizon quickly established itself as a new PlayStation staple, and the game's protagonist Aloy quickly became one of the most beloved PlayStation mascots. If the critical and commercial success of the game isn't enough to suggest to you that a sequel is at least on the way, Janina Gavankar alluding to a sequel that was already in the works in 2019 definitely should.
In terms of timing, the original's release in 2017 should have allowed Guerilla Games (now doubled in size) to build the game, especially seeing as Herman Hulst said, somewhat confusingly, that he wanted to advance the team's production time to within three years, which brings us to 2020.
Guerilla working to a console launch deadline isn't exactly a new thing, either. Frequently swept under the rug launch title, Killzone Shadow Fall was one of the launch exclusives for the PS4. Guerilla trying to stick to this release cycle would definitely make sense for SIE too, as it would allow the company's many studios to disperse their releases out over the next 5 or so years.
Speaking of SIE's grander plans, Hulst's recent promotion to Head of Worldwide Studios shouldn't go unnoticed. In a GDC 2019 talk, Cory Barlog, Creative Director at Sony Santa Monica Studios talked about the process he went through in pitching 2018's God of War to SIE. Once he had pitched to the studio's producer, and a few other Sony higher-ups, he finally pitched to PlayStation veteran Shuhei Yoshida, who was then Head of Worldwide Studios. Barlog said that Yoshida had the final say in what games were being made and could have easily *axed* the idea completely if he didn't like it. The point is: Herman Hulst now sits atop a throne at SIE which gives him a lot of sway as to what games are important to the PlayStation brand. It wouldn't be surprising if his love of Guerilla and the Horizon Zero Dawn franchise didn't help him place the sequel in a prime launch release window.
We then come to the original game's PC launch scheduled for later this year. If this isn't a move by Hulst and Sony Interactive Entertainment to try to capture the hearts of PC gamers who haven't yet been converted to PlayStation, I'm not sure what is. It would make sense for Sony to give potential new players a taste of what's they can experience on the PlayStation, before saying that they can only get the sequel if they make the move to the next generation console. Making a PlayStation exclusive available on another platform is not a common play by Sony, so this should tell you the lengths they're willing to go to to capture new player bases, and the confidence they have in Horizon as a captivating intellectual property.
Finally, we come to the newly revealed DualSense's adaptive triggers. A bow is a common video game mechanic, indeed, but out of all of the PlayStation franchises, it can only point to Aloy's weapon of choice. Showcasing the DualSense's adaptive triggers through Horizon's multiple bow variations is a tech demo waiting to happen, and again, Guerilla isn't a stranger to showcasing a console's new features. Killzone Shadow Fall made strong use of the DualShock 4's lightbar, touchpad, and speaker when it helped launch the PS4.
For all of these reasons, Horizon Zero Dawn 2 is Game Coping's most secure prediction for potential PS5 launch titles.
Image Credits: Guerilla Games, SIE.