Horizon Forbidden West, Mechanical Knockout: this is how the game was born

If you have tried the experience of Horizon Forbidden West you will certainly know Mechanical Beatthe game with which Aloy engages in some areas of the scenario. Well, Guerrilla has published an article to explain how it was born this minigame.

A few hours after the big update that adds New Game +, Ultra Difficult and more, Horizon Forbidden West therefore returns to talk about itself and its rich lore with an in-depth study that is undoubtedly very interesting, which testifies to the work and research behind a project similar.

“Mechanical Knockout is a miniature board game that Aloy can play against various characters from the Forbidden West,” explained community manager Bo de Vries. “In this tactical game, pieces depicting the iconic Horizon Machines move across the board, making them ‘fight’ each other.”

“As you would expect from a game invented by the pugnacious Tenakth, the aim is to eliminate all the machines of the opponent. To win, it is not enough to field the strongest pieces, because strategy is also crucial. And the further you go west. , the stronger the opponents become. “

Bart van Oosten, chief designer of the Guerrilla game world, is one of the “fathers” of this new minigame introduced in Horizon Forbidden West. “We developed the first prototypes right after The Frozen Wilds!” He said.

“Many open world RPGs use this kind of activity to make the world more immersive, which is always appreciated by a certain type of player, so we decided to go this route.”

“In the beginning there were only generic cubes with barely sketched rules, but to incorporate the characteristics of the individual Machines we needed a more dynamic board. Hence the idea of ​​the box system.”

“Each square has a value that affects the parameters of the piece that ends up on it, such as an attack bonus provided by a Lawn square. Then we created a paper prototype … which we played a lot! It took a lot to develop basic rules and mechanics. It took us almost a year to finalize the entire minigame. “

“We have opted for a design that is as minimal as possible. The scoreboard reads clearly and the players are free to create their own strategies,” explained Bart. “Readability is very important, so from the graphic point of view we tried various solutions, from simple discs to more elaborate decorations, up to somewhere in between: the game looks just like a handcrafted object of the ‘ West Forbidden. ”

Mechanical beating, the prototype

As for the design and interface, concept designer Christian Auer said: “All the pieces had to have an eye-catching air, but without explicitly referring to a certain tribe, since the game is popular with many communities in the Forbidden West. Oseram inventors to Tenakth soldiers. Each piece also had to have a special aura, as if it were a collector’s item, and thus evoke a certain prestige. “

“The size of the pieces was an interesting challenge. The metal parts were much smaller than the elements we usually used, so we preferred to include simpler details that enhanced the design as a whole. Initially the wood materials were much coarser, for simulating the traces left by the carvers’ tools. Then, however, we realized that this artisan air could be excessive, so we focused everything on simplicity. So the pieces better reflected our initial intent. “

“This hasn’t stopped us from adding a certain level of wear to the pieces, to liven up the wood surfaces a bit. For example, the engravings are lighter in areas where dust accumulates easily and darker on the bottom, where the wood has been burnt or polished with wax. These details make the pieces more realistic: they really look like they were made by the expert hands of the craftsmen of the Forbidden West! ”

Before Aloy ventures into the Forbidden West proper, one of the first settlements he explores is Aspracatena, an Oseram mining town. Here, inside the lively tavern in the city center, Aloy can meet Salma, a very friendly Oseram and more than willing to explain the rules of the game to her.

“A tutorial was key to sparking interest in Mechanical Knockout,” said Bart. “We wanted to make it as spontaneous as possible, as if it were a normal chat between friends talking about their new hobbies. The narrative team did an exceptional job of conveying all the necessary information in a light and understandable way.”

“As in any board game, the information can be a lot even if the basic rules are quite simple. To avoid getting bored with a long string of information, we have divided the tutorials into several parts. The basic concepts are explained immediately and all the others are learned by playing, consulting the glossary or by taking on additional tutorials. You can also press L3 during the Mechanical Beat to quickly access all this information. “