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Horizon Forbidden West story trailer showcases an epic quest to save a dying planet

New Horizon Forbidden West trailer image key art
(Image credit: Sony)

Update: Horizon Forbidden West looks bigger and more dangerous than ever.

A new trailer for the upcoming PlayStation exclusive Horizon Forbidden West has provided a more thorough look at the game's story. This time, protagonist Aloy will explore the dangerous and titular Forbidden West. 

The three-minute trailer starts off by showing how plants and crops appear to be affected by a blight that could make humans in the post-post-apocalyptic Earth starve to death. Meanwhile, the machines created to fix a ruined, human-less planet, and then maintain it after humans returned, seem to be ever more aggressive toward their flesh-and-bone charges. 

The answer to this conundrum seems to lie in the Forbidden West, which roughly translates to the U.S. West Coast — San Francisco, specifically. In comparison, the original game’s setting appears to have been Colorado and Utah, with a sprinkling of Arizona. 

Our very own Philip Michaels hails from the West Coast, and isn't known to be particularly vicious, or live amongst forbidden things. But in the year 3040, the whole situation is different, with the warrior-like Tenakth tribe embroiled in a battle against the rebel Regalla, who happens to have an army of machines backing her up. 

Aloy travels to the West to see if the secrets of the Old Ones — think near-future humanity, before it created an unstoppable robotic force that wiped humanity — can solve the blight. But there, she gets caught between the warring factions.

She won’t be alone either, as returning companions like Erend and Varl will have her back. Furthermore, the mysterious Sylens, with his questionable motivations and what appears to be the essence of a powerful destructive AI, will be back and likely embroiled in the core plot of Horizon Forbidden West.

How all of this ties together isn’t clear, but these threads would appear to be the central thrust of the story. Furthermore, it looks like a new character from the "old world" may even show up, unless she’s actually a human-like AI. I guess we’ll find out on February 18 when Horizon Forbidden West debuts.

Hope West is best

Horizon Forbidden West trailer image

(Image credit: Sony)

I really hope that Horizon Forbidden West doesn't simply retread the same plot beats as Horizon Zero Dawn.  That game basically had two stories working in parallel — two warring factions and the robots' backstory — which came together only at the end. The main story of Horizon Zero Dawn was decent but not exactly thrilling, with the lore and overarching plot feeling more compelling.

It would be good if the two stories worked in tandem from the start this time around. They should also acknowledge what Aloy learned from her adventures in the previous game.

But if this isn't the case, Horizon Forbidden West still looks impressive. Not only does the game seem slathered in proper next-gen graphics, but it should also build upon the big and dynamic battles with robotic beasts of all shapes and sizes. I found Horizon Zero Dawn’s combat to be an interesting mix of frenetic action and clever outmaneuvering of powerful enemies. Refining that system wouldn't be a bad thing.

Horizon Forbidden West is set to launch on both the PS4 and PS5, though judging by the graphics on offer, you may be better off with the PS5 version. Sony’s latest console is tricky to find, so check out our PS5 restock tracker to give yourself a helping hand.

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.