While a Horizon multiplayer game felt all but inevitable, Guerrilla Games finally made the news official on Friday by way of a new job advertisement. The Sony studio behind the open world RPG series wants to take the post-apocalyptic robot combat online with an upcoming project featuring new characters and a different art-style.
“A new internal team is developing a separate Online Project set in Horizon’s universe,” Guerrilla Games wrote on Twitter. “Featuring a new cast of characters and unique stylized look, friends will be able to explore the majestic wilds of Horizon together.” So don’t expect to teaming up with Aloy and her other friends this time around.
Job listings for the new game include character, quest, and combat designers, as well as “stylized” world artists and character animators. From the descriptions, it sounds like what you’d expect from the creators of Horizon Zero Dawn and Forbidden West, but with a multiplayer twist. The references to a new art direction, meanwhile, might hint at a different set of visual tradeoffs from a studio traditionally at the forefront of visual fidelity, in order to accommodate the new cooperative gameplay.
Guerrilla also makes clear that it’s still working on a new single-player installment in the Horizon series, in addition to the PSVR2 spin-off, Horizon Call of the Mountain, and Forbidden West DLC, Burning Shores, the latter two both due out early in 2023. There are also job listings for an external project, though it’s not clear exactly what that is.
Rumors of a Horizon multiplayer project have been swirling around for a while now, including a report of a Horizon MMO being licensed out to Guild Wars publisher NCsoft. The multiplayer push comes as other major Sony first-party franchises have made the jump to online, including Ghost of Tsushima’s co-op raid update, and an upcoming multiplayer-only Last of Us spin-off.
Following its $3.6 billion acquisition of Bungie, whose successful MMO shooter Destiny 2 has become one of the gold standards in live-service gaming, Sony revealed plans to release over a dozen more live-service games by 2025. If the past few years have been any indication, not all of them will succeed, and few if any will reach the levels of Apex Legends, Genshin Impact, and other recent breakout hits. With a growing majority of all gaming companies’ revenue coming from microtransactions and other “recurrent player spending,” it’s easy to see why Sony would try.