After receiving a lengthy gameplay reveal in May of this year, the upcoming PlayStation-exclusive sequel Horizon Forbidden West went into hiding in terms of previews and hype. Today, the game’s developers at Guerrilla confirmed a major reason for that silence: the game wasn’t actually ready for its teased “2021” release window.
The news of the game’s delay—and a (possible) firm release date of February 18, 2022—came from its director, Mathijs de Jonge, as part of Wednesday’s Gamescom 2021 Opening Night presentation. While he claims that the sequel had reached a “major milestone” shortly after its May gameplay reveal, he then offered familiar-sounding caveats about the challenges of video game development during a pandemic—and didn’t clarify whether the upcoming game was yet feature-complete.
The Wednesday news was met with neither new gameplay footage nor any clarification of how Horizon Forbidden West, launching on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 next year, will scale between two generations of consoles. Instead, de Jonge took the opportunity to announce that a patch is now live on PS5 to bring the franchise’s first PS4 game, Horizon Zero Dawn, up to a 60 fps refresh rate.
This leaves Sony in a peculiar position of zero major first-party games scheduled for launch by year’s end for either of its consoles. Previously announced sequels like God of War: Ragnarok and transforming into “cross-gen” games after their initial announcements. And Sony’s current 2021 console exclusives are made by other studios and largely land in the indie domain—without any Sony-developed indies to fill in the gap, let alone any classic Sony games getting remasters to ease the PlayStation pain.
The biggest exception, ironically enough, comes from Deathloop, a Groundhog Day-like time-loop shooter developed by the Microsoft-owned Arkane Studios and launching on PlayStation consoles on September 14. That deal was inked before Microsoft acquired parent publisher ZeniMax and its many subsidiaries. After that, Bandai Namco’s next megaton PlayStation console exclusive, Elden Ring, isn’t slated to launch until January of next year.
Listing image by Sony Interactive Entertainment / Guerrilla Games