Sony Confirms New "Horizon Online" MMORPG
Back in May 2020, I did a video titled “A Horizon Zero Dawn MMORPG?” – in that video I discussed an interesting job listing for what could – at the time, be argued as a potential Horizon themed MMO, but everything went silent as quickly as the announcement was made.
2 years later, Sony shocked the world with the announcement that they had partnered with one of South Korea’s biggest developers to bring to life an MMO adaptation of their enormously popular Horizon intellectual property, adding to their already expanding selection of media like the recently confirmed spin-off and VR adventure.
This confirmation was made a little over a week ago, and is still taking time to sink in. As a huge fan of both Horizon: Zero Dawn and Hoziron: Forbidden West – yes, even despite all the drama surrounding Aloy’s – in the vocal minority’s opinion: less sexy character model this time ’round, I was ecstatic to learn of this.
But where in the timeline is this going to be set? Will this be set within the existing franchise, or will it be spun-off into its own unique world? Are they planning on cross-platform releases on both PC and Console? What about the developer? I plan on answering as much of that as I can. So sit tight.
This all started back in 2017 with the release of Horizon: Zero Dawn. I spent weeks playing through every facet of the game I could. This was a gorgeous, open-world, post-apocalyptic action game with an incredible narrative and strong protagonist brought to life by the incredibly talented Ashley Burch.
The sequel, Forbidden West released back in February 2022, and continued Aloy’s journey. And while I haven’t heard of anything surrounding a third game in the franchise – and let’s be real here, it’s a certainty at this point – neither game had any type of co-operative, nor online features.
Studios have learned over the last several years the importance of having multiplayer functionality in your game, and it seems like Guerilla Games have taken this knowledge and have plans of creating a Horizon game with a strong focus on multiplayer – or, in this instance, massively multiplayer.
The announcement has been covered by every gaming news website on the internet, but most notably, was posted originally onto the South Korean news website MTN.
Translating the website, the title reads:
“NC and Sony promote game IP collaboration Horizon MMORPG,”
NC as in.. NCSoft. The studio behind the Lineage MMOs, Blade & Soul, Aion. And before you throw up in your mouth out of disgust, relax, I understand. But this is also being handled by Sony, who have a slightly better reputation than NC have.
Continuing further through the article, we learn that NCSoft and Sony are looking to collaborate on a Global project. This isn’t going to be an MMORPG exclusive to Korea, nor is it being developed for Korean players in mind, which puts my mind at ease.
Western players are much less forgiving of pay to win in their games after all.
They then go on to state that Sony has given them permission to create new “games,” plural, based around the Horizon intellectual property. NCSoft’s internal development team is in charge of developing the game, and as such, it’s unconfirmed specifically how much influence either Sony or Guerilla Games will have over it.
Supposedly, Sony and NC are still in pre-development post-negotiation, so both companies will need to agree to every term before finalizing anything.
Interestingly, it seems as though the Horizon MMO has been given the working title, “Project H,” and will begin development under the Lineage IP business headquarters.
I’m not entirely sure if that means the studio will work out of the headquarters that handle the Lineage franchise, or rather, the Lineage team are going to be focused on developing the game.
Hopefully the former, which seems to be the direction they’re going, as NC are actively recruiting developers through job listings in an active effort to expand their work force.
A game of this magnitude all but requires it.
NCSoft’s Global communication office made a public statement, that read: “It is difficult to confirm information about undisclosed projects currently under development.”
However, there have been a few features leaked thus far. On the one hand, The Horizon MMO is going to be set in the same world as Horizon: Forbidden West. They used the term “world,” but it could mean the same timeline.
Meaning we might have recurring areas, characters or stories from the prequels present. The game is going to feature full action combat – but as this is NCSoft crafting the game, we don’t know if it’s going to look and feel the same as the first 2 incarnations.
Realistically, we don’t know what the game is going to look like at all. NC have a history of making gorgeous games with very Asian-inspired characters. I’m not sure how well that’ll translate to real-life Western character models.
The game will be set in a large, open world just like its predecessors. And Sony confirmed that they are going to retain control over the direction the game takes.
Meaning that Sony and potentially, Guerilla Games will have the final verdict on whether the game is passable or not. And if it fails, blame will be placed upon them as opposed to NCSoft.
That’s all the info released currently. I’m aware it’s very vague, but unfortunately we’re going to need to wait a while to get anything more concrete.
What I do know, that wasn’t elaborated on, was that the game is a long way from being ready. Yes, it has entered pre-development, but NC are notorious for taking decades to get their games into a final, playable, launchable state.
I highly doubt this’ll be any different, so expecting the Horizon MMO to release in the next few years is unlikely. 2025? Unlikely. 2028? Possibly. If anything, we’re likely going to be anticipating this around the same time Ashes of Creation, ArcheAge 2 and the Riot MMO all launch. 2028 to 2030.
But I could be wrong, who knows.
Regardless, A Horizon MMO is something I’m passionate about, and cannot wait to see and hear more of. I just hope NC doesn’t ruin the game, or delay it as long as Project TL – now known as Throne and Liberty has been.