For some time now it has become clear that the Horizon series of games from Guerrilla Games is designed for big things. Ever since the studio released Zero Dawn in 2017, Eloy’s post-apocalyptic adventures have steadily become an important part of Sony’s plans. This is recently evidenced by the central role of the protagonist in the opening of the PlayStation Production in the MCU style and the upcoming spin-off of the franchise for PS VR 2. Thus, the success of Horizon Forbidden West earlier this year on PS4 and PS5 has largely reinforced this upward trajectory.
As the franchise continues to expand into other forms of media and formats, following the achievements of Horizon Forbidden West, Guerrilla Games will have more opportunities to explore other corners of its universe. One of the key groups of people who should be at the top of the list are the villainous Distant Zeniths. Although the faction has been a serious thorn in Eloy’s side lately, there are plenty of opportunities for a prequel spin-off, in particular, to explore their history in more detail.
The Potential of Distant Zeniths
Thanks to Guerrilla Games’ desire to create a complex but believable universe, players already have a clear idea of who Far Zenith is and what path they have traveled. This is mainly due to how in Horizon Forbidden West Eloy reveals details about the group’s attempts to avoid the Faro plague in the 21st century gaming. Tilda Carrie-Anne Moss plays a central role in this process, as she can quickly convey the points of presentation to the main character in their fixed and optional conversations.
However, it’s important to keep in mind the fact that Guerrilla Games has so far used the “tell instead of show” mantra when it comes to Far Zeniths. Players have only heard about the band’s past from other sources and a few holograms. Given the band’s intriguing history and everything they’ve been able to achieve since boarding the Odyssey, depriving the players of the opportunity to see everything with their own eyes seems like a small disservice.
Perhaps this is one of the main reasons why a Horizon Forbidden West prequel starring Distant Zenith would be a good idea to explore Guerrilla Games. Only from the point of view of the narrative there are many details that the studio could highlight and concretize, both during the group’s stay on Earth and in their possible attempts to create a colony on Sirius. Having lived for more than a thousand years, it’s easy to imagine a long list of stories that are just waiting to be told.
The retribution factor
While it’s easy to imagine a Far Zenith-themed game offering interesting plot and gameplay possibilities, a theoretical spin-off could play a more important role in the overall trajectory of the franchise. Thanks to the group’s attempts to achieve various forms of immortality, players have a good idea of what will happen in the inevitable third Horizon main game. So far, everything points to Eloy having to contend with the group’s most destructive creation, a sentient, deadly AI known as Nemesis. Having destroyed the Sirius colony in a matter of hours, it is now said that it is heading for Earth.
While the setup and general groundwork for the third Horizon game was laid, little was actually known about Nemesis and her own story. Everything that the player and Eloy know about the entity right now is obtained second-hand. Thanks to Tilda’s comments, there was a general understanding that AI was created by accident after Far Zenith’s attempts to achieve digital immortality. Being subsequently abandoned by its creators, Nemesis apparently developed a taste for blood and revenge.
Specific details about how this process developed and eventually went wrong are now in the air. However, theoretically, the Horizon spin-off could change all this for the better. Far Zeniths’ attempts to create the first human colony in space may open the door for Guerrilla Games to simultaneously explore the early days of Nemesis’ life. Not only would it be interesting to see this first-hand, it would also add valuable context to the inevitable third main game in the series.
A deeper understanding of what Nemesis really is, and what the motives of this entity are in advance, would make Eloy a much better villain she could face. If Nemesis arrives and its goal is the one-dimensional death of humanity, Guerrilla Games risks looking too much like HADES from Zero Dawn. Given that the release of the third game is probably still a long way off, the spin-off has enough time to solve this potential trap in advance.