Developer Guerrilla Games has rolled out a massive patch for Horizon Forbidden West, purporting to fix more than a dozen quests, plus a litany of minor hiccups. It also aims to make the game less shimmery. Those who made it through the era of puddlegate unscathed should rejoice.
Horizon Forbidden West, released last month for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, is the sequel to the best open-world game of 2017. Like its predecessor, you, as a young woman named Aloy, explore a 31st-century post-apocalyptic America in search of an artificial intelligence program. Along the way, you use futuristic bows and arrows to hunt robots modeled after prehistoric beasts. It rules.
Since launch, players have taken umbrage with the game’s shimmering—essentially, that some objects, the fauna in particular, look as if you’re viewing them through the glass wall of an aquarium. Players say it’s more noticeable in Horizon’s performance mode, which runs the game at a constant 60fps frame rate at the expense of visual fidelity. To the untrained eye, it can be hard to spot this sort of thing, especially when you’re running for your life from a fire-breathing mecha bear. But it’s there, as evidenced by this exceptionally thorough rundown from the folks at HDTV Test, which makes use of tech like waveform analysis to highlight some of the game’s more esoteric visual issues. The whole video is well worth a watch, but the segment on shimmering starts at around 1:45:
Today’s patch isn’t the only time Guerrilla has addressed Horizon’s notable shimmering issues. Mere hours after the game launched, the developer pushed out a hotfix to address it. Apparently, the improvements weren’t sufficient, as noted in fan videos over the past month. It’s unclear if the studio considers the shimmering issue fixed for good with this latest patch, and that’ll certainly be dependent on fan feedback. Representatives for Sony, Horizon Forbidden West’s publisher, did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.
Beyond the shimmering, today’s update fixes issues with more than a dozen bugged quests. I spent the majority of my time with Forbidden West pre-release, before the day-one patch rolled out—and fixed a ton of logged bugs—so it’s not quite fair for me to gripe about any bugs, even the game-breaking ones. But here’s Kotaku’s John Walker on “Kappa Cauldron,” one of the missions addressed in today’s update, which he played just two days before the patch would have saved him considerable heartache and frustration:
While fighting the final boss of the Kappa Cauldron, an especially enormous and tricky battle, I confess I done goofed and got killed. It should have reloaded me at the door to the final chamber. Instead, it loaded me just outside the fabric of reality. And then did the same on all the cauldron’s previous autosaves. It was kind of fun, swimming around in the netherworld, before plunging to my death, but there was no way back in, and an hour’s progress was lost.
But perhaps the most amusing line item is that Guerrilla has apparently reduced the time spent in loading screens. In a game that already has an option to slow such screens down because they go by so quickly (at least on PS5). Priorities!