The Complete List of Horizon Games in Chronological & Release Order

Horizon Zero Dawn gameplay

The Complete List of Horizon Games in Chronological & Release Order

The second original IP from Sony first-party developer Guerilla Games, the Horizon series is a third-person open-world action RPG taking place in the post-apocalyptic United States. In the world of Horizon, technology represents the ultimate downfall of civilization, with humanity now reduced to a semi-primitive state. In contrast, the remaining remnants of an advanced society take the form of giant robotic creatures called “machines”. These creatures take the form of everything from common animals up to massive, dinosaur-like monstrosities.

Players assume the role of Alloy, an orphan child who rises to lead her tribe to prosperity following a series of tragic events. The mysteries that connect Alloy to the machines, as well as the machines to the current state of humanity, slowly reveal themselves over the course of several titles. To date, there are two mainline Horizon titles as well as 2 major DLC expansions for each game. There is also a VR title in the Horizon series exclusive to the PSVR2 headset. As a series, Horizon is a distinct departure from developer Guerilla Games’ previous work on the Killzone franchise.

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Horizon Zero Dawn (2017)

Horizon Zero Dawn gameplay

©Horizon Zero Dawn gameplay screenshot – Original

  • Released for PlayStation 4 and PC

The first game in the Horizon series, Horizon Zero Dawn, arrived on the PlayStation 4 in 2017. Outside of establishing many of the core gameplay mechanics that would become synonymous with the series, the overarching plot of all the games begins with Zero Dawn. Players are thrust into the shoes of Alloy and follow her as she comes of age on the edges of a primitive society. Eventually, players discover that this neo-primitive civilization is actually the remnants of humanity in a post-technological world. Alloy sets off on an adventure to both get revenge for an attack on her village as well as discover crucial details about her past.

Horizon‘s mix of ranged and melee combat along with strategic targeting of enemy weak points makes combat supremely engaging. While there is some open-world bloat and marker chasing across the map, Horizon always makes excursions off the beaten path worth the player’s time. Additionally, fans and critics praise the story missions for the ways that they develop Alloy as a character and keep the player actively engaged. The success and critical acclaim of the first Horizon game led to the immediate development of a sequel following its release.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds (2017)

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds key art

©Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds key art – Original

  • Released for PlayStation 4 and PC

Releasing just a few months after Horizon Zero Dawn is its sole DLC expansion, The Frozen Wilds. In this new adventure, Alloy ventures into a previously unexplored area known as “The Cut”. Home to the mysterious Banuk tribe, recent rumors of a mountain that breathes smoke and appearances of dangerous machines draw Alloy to the region. The expansion introduces a new snowy mountain area that is vastly different from the opening section of the game. Additionally, there are several new weapons to help Alloy face off against some impressively challenging encounters.

The core gameplay remains the same as in Horizon Zero Dawn, with players traversing an open-world map and completing main and side missions. While it’s possible to access the DLC at any time after downloading and installing it, the developers recommend that players have reached level 30. The Frozen Wilds represents some of the best content available in the first Horizon game, making it a near-essential purchase.

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Horizon Forbidden West (2022)

Horizon Forbidden West key art

©Horizon Forbidden West key art – Original

  • Released for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5

The first official sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn arrived in February 2022, selling almost 9 million units in just under 2 months. As a sequel, Horizon Forbidden West improves on nearly every aspect of the original. Players still assume the role of Alloy as she ventures across the United States in search of answers to her past, but each facet of gameplay has received significant improvements. Conversations with NPCs are richly detailed and players have dialogue options that impact the outcome of interactions. Both ranged and melee combat have been overhauled to make each approach a viable option in encounters. And, as an open-world game, Forbidden West features some of the most densely-packed areas to explore of any game in the genre.

Forbidden West is noteworthy for being another Sony first-party exclusive that makes great use of the PlayStation 5 hardware. The overhauled visuals and lighting make the game one of the best-looking titles on the system. Additionally, the solid-state drive of the PS5 helps to reduce load times significantly over its predecessor. Similar to Horizon Zero Dawn, Forbidden West proved to be a massive success for Sony and is praised by both fans and critics alike.

Horizon Call of the Mountain (2023)

Horizon: Call of the Mountain key art

©Horizon Call of the Mountain key art – Original

  • Released for PlayStation 5 and the PSVR2 Headset

After years of rumors regarding its development, Sony and Guerilla Games revealed Horizon Call of the Mountain during the announcement of the PSVR2 Headset. Shipping as a launch title for the peripheral, Call of the Mountain switches perspective to a first-person adventure. Players still complete many of the same activities in the core Horizon games, albeit while assuming the virtual role of an inhabitant of Horizon‘s world. Players control Ryas, who the game introduces as a “master of climbing and archery”. Rather than assume the same open-world format of other games in the series, Call of the Mountain is a largely linear affair.

While it doesn’t quite reach the heights of its predecessors in the core Horizon games, critics and fans generally agree that Call of the Mountain is one of the better VR action adventure games and a great use of the Horizon IP. Notably, while some praised the title’s use of haptic feedback and realistic climbing sections, others note that the game features so much climbing that it begins to feel like a chore. Partially due to the prohibitive cost of the PSVR2 Headset, the game has not sold anywhere near as well as Horizon Zero Dawn or Forbidden West.

Horizon Forbidden West: The Burning Shores

Horizon Forbidden West Burning Shores key art

©Horizon Forbidden West Burning Shores key art – Original

  • Released for PlayStation 5

The most recent release in the Horizon franchise is the massive DLC expansion for Forbidden West, Burning Shores. Releasing in April 2023, the expansion sees Alloy venture out west to the Burning Shores, a volcanic group of islands made up of the ruins of Los Angeles. Similar to what the Frozen Wilds expansion brought to the first Horizon game, Burning Shores provides players with a slew of new locations, enemies, encounters, and missions. The new location of the Burning Shores is a unique biome for the series and houses some of the absolute best boss encounters across the franchise.

The Burning Shores expansion is also noteworthy in that it gives players the option to romance a female character, addressing fan speculation about main character Alloy’s sexuality. As a result, the game has been praised for positive LGBTQ representation in games. Ultimately, Burning Shores further refines the improvements that Forbidden West made to the core Horizon experience over Zero Dawn and is the best representation of the series’ core gameplay loop.

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