Horizon Forbidden West has officially received a rating from the ESRB. The rating summary describes some instances in the game that led to its “T for Teens” rating designation, which is not surprising, as Horizon Zero Dawn received the same rating. But in its Rating Summary that details the reasons for its “T” rating, the ESRB inadvertently offers some insight into some of the things that could happen in Horizon Forbidden West.
The ESRB description details some of the instances that warranted its alcohol and violence tags under its official “T for Teens” rating for Horizon Forbidden West. Alcohol use in Horizon Forbidden West isn’t a surprise, nor is violence, as the main gameplay loop of Forbidden West is taking down enemy factions and hunting machines. What is particularly intriguing is that the rating summary details some minor plot points that describe what Aloy or other characters are doing in some cutscenes.
The reasoning for the violence tag describes instances where Aloy uses her expanded array of weapons to attack and kill both human and machine enemies. This is no surprise, but what is intriguing is that a sentence later on describes that there will be a cutscene that features an attack of some sort. During the cutscene an NPC character will “be impaled by a sword or spear” and “a character crushed to death by a statue.” This description is obviously kept as vague as possible as not to reveal story content, but it is an intriguing glimpse into the events of Horizon Forbidden West.
In the case of the alcohol use tag, there were references in the first game where there was drinking on drunk characters. Aloy’s Oseram ally Erend was a notorious drunkard and there was a short period where Aloy interacted with him while drunk. In Horizon Forbidden West, it seems like Aloy herself will be partaking in some libations, as the Rating Summary says “one cutscene depicts Aloy drinking beer from a mug.” It goes on to say that one of the game’s NPC’s will comment on their own drunkenness in some fashion and that there will be some scenes where there will be drinking in the background. Aloy never drank in the first game, so there may be a bit of dialogue as to how she chose to be at least a social drinker in this sequel.
This is somewhat aligned with Guerilla Games’ mindset to make villages and encampments feel more alive. Giving Aloy more ability to interact within villages and settlements was a key point made by some of the developers, and will offer a new layer of environmental storytelling to the game.
Horizon Forbidden West releases on February 18th, 2022 for PS4 and PS5.