With Horizon Forbidden West, Guerrilla is planning to greatly improve the melee combat featured in Zero Dawn so that it’s on par with its ranged counterpart.
As part of a larger blog post focused on the upcoming sequel’s combat design, a few developers explained the key enhanced features.
Richard Oud, Gameplay Animation Director: The goal was to make human combat as deep and challenging as machine combat. This meant extending the combat system and adding more variety in the way you encounter human enemies in the world. We want to give the player the option to engage in their own playstyle, whether they prefer ranged or close combat encounters. Switching between strategies resulted in a lot of transition animations which feel smooth and reactive.
Charles Perain, Combat Designer: The resonator blast rewards players for using spear combos: whenever Aloy attacks with melee, the resonator in her spear stacks up some energy. This energy can be blasted at the enemy and will stick to them for a short duration. Shooting it with an arrow before it dissipates will deal a huge amount of damage! This mechanic creates a powerful synergy between close combat and ranged combat, encouraging players to transition smoothly between both.
Horizon Forbidden West also features many new human enemy archetypes, each of them coming with its own strengths and weaknesses.
Richard Oud said:
Since there are a lot of new archetypes in human enemies, we had different Mocap sessions to help bring these characters to life. We worked with an experienced Mocap actor who knew how to deal with heavy stunt work and was a master in portraying different combat styles and personalities. We would explore idle behavior for specific classes, as this would tell us a lot about the kind of choices we were making for the character. For example, with the Champion class, it was key that the character came across as confident and experienced. So, the actor moved calmly, looking for gaps in the opponent’s defense and circling around while not losing eye contact and continuously closing in. It almost felt like a wolf stalking its prey!
The Rebel Soldier enemy behaves a lot like a hyena, which resulted in a rowdy and versatile personality with a lot of uncontrolled and ungraceful motion. The posture is hunched over and from a behavior point of view we think of them as being aggressive in groups, but at the same time hesitant in small numbers. They don’t always exactly behave like this from a combat and AI perspective, but it gave the team a better understanding of the character and helped us define choices in poses, combat attacks and personality.
Horizon Forbidden West, originally scheduled to launch in late 2021, is now due to launch on February 18th, 2022, almost exactly five years after the previous title. It’ll be available on both PS4 and PS5.
The post Here’s How Horizon Forbidden West Will Feature Melee Combat That’s As Good as Its Ranged Counterpart by Alessio Palumbo appeared first on Wccftech.