Sony really needs to give Horizon Forbidden West a rest

Horizon Forbidden West screenshot

Horizon Forbidden West – breeding like robo-rabbits (pic: Sony)

A reader is exasperated at just how many Horizon games Sony has planned this year and beyond and argues that no game deserves that many spin-offs.

Executive appointments aren’t usually the sort of news to get most people excited but I remember thinking it was a bad idea when Hermen Hulst was made head of PlayStation Worldwide Studios – effectively the person in charge of PlayStation 5 games at Sony. I’ve no idea what the guy’s like but I do know he was previously the boss of Guerrilla Games, which is the thing that worried me at the time. They’re a studio known primarily for their graphics and not their gameplay or storytelling. And it didn’t seem to me a good idea that their guy was being put in charge of everything.

Although Sony bought them in 2005, Guerrilla have only ever been involved with two franchises: Killzone and Horizon. Killzone was at one point supposed to be a Halo killer but despite never catching on they somehow pumped out five separate games and now they seem to be doing the same with Horizon. We’ve already had two full sequels and now this year we have two more new releases: a VR spin-off and a DLC expansion. There’s clearly going to be a third sequel as well, and who knows how many other games, and I can’t just help thinking… why?

Horizon Zero Dawn had some great robot designs and amazing graphics but I never beat it as I got bored after about 10 hours, once I realized the gameplay was never going to change and the story was going nowhere. I borrowed the sequel from a friend and ran into similar problems, being amazed by the graphics at first… and then starting to wonder why Guerrilla never did anything interesting with them.

Guerrilla has already announced a multiplayer spin-off too, probably a live service game, bringing the number of games up to four, not counting the DLC. There was also talk of an MMO, so that’s potentially five. Add in the inevitable third mainline game and you’re already up to six. Which is crazy for a series that really doesn’t justify that number of games.

Before you complain that I don’t have to play them, I do realize that. I’m not advocating the games be erased from history, if you like them then good for you. And even if I did want them to stop it’s not like I can make them, I’m just voicing the opinion that clamping onto this one franchise and trying to pump out all these extra games is a very weird priority for Sony right now. Especially as it’s using up resources that could be spent on something else.

I don’t know how much it has to do with Hermen Hulst being in charge, but that’s not the point. I just wish, on a wider note, that publishers took a different lesson from a successful new game other than trying to milk it as quickly and completely as possible.

It’s the same with Naughty Dog and, so you know that I’m not picking on Sony, Nintendo with Splatoon. Why is it the first thing these companies do when a new, original IP is a hit, double-down and make as many of them as possible? Why don’t they take the lesson that the reason it was popular is because it was new? So if they want the next game to be as successful as possible maybe that should be new as well?

Of course, that never happens though. What these companies are really doing is waiting for a hit that they can then turn into a franchise, that’s what they really want. I bet they had a plan for a best case scenario for Horizon all ready and waiting to go, if it turned out it did well.

It’s not even as if Horizon is a bad game, it’s okay, it’s quite good… why isn’t that enough? Why can’t they just learn from that and move on? Especially in Guerrilla Games case, where they’ve only really made two games and if nothing else Horizon is better than Killzone. So then couldn’t the next new franchise they work on be even better?

But no, we’ve got to have more sequels, VR games, DLC, spin-offs, MMOs… most games don’t deserve that kind of attention in such a short period of time, let alone something as mid as Horizon.

By reader Sasquatch

The reader’s feature does not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

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