Guild Wars publisher NCSoft’s long-rumoured Horizon: Zero Dawn spin-off is a full-blown MMORPG codenamed Project Skyline, will run on Unreal Engine 5, and is coming to PC and mobile with a PS5 release still TBC, according to a brace of job listings and CVs fished from the post-apocalyptic robo-wilds of yonder internet. Also according to the said listings, it won’t be out for a while.
Korean site MTN published a report about the unannounced game – not to be confused with original Horizon developer Guerrilla’s own multiplayer experiments – in November 2022, citing an anonymous source. This week’s gossip comes care of videogame researcher Kurakasis, who has spent the winter sifting the waters of LinkedIn and various NCSoft job postings. According to one resume, the game began life in 2021, and was initially titled Project H. You can imagine the associated Principal Skinner conversation: “Let’s call it, Project H… wait, that’s too obvious. Well, how about P Horizon?” As has been pointed out on the socials, the logo font for Project Skyline (above) is pretty Horizon-esque.
There are said to be 140 people working on the game, whatever it proves to be, and it’s expected to launch some time after NCSoft’s mobile morepugger Aion 2, which is itself slated for release in 2024/2025. A further Project Skyline listing makes mention of prioritising “fun and systematic gameplay” and “freedom” rather than “simple pattern recognition”.
The publication of the Kurakasis Files, as future historians will doubtless call them, follows the announcement of a strategic partnership between NCSoft and Horizon publisher Sony back in late November 2023. This is designed to “expand beyond console and broaden PlayStation’s reach to a wider audience”, as Sony exec Jim Ryan put it at the time.
Partial though I am to metal dinosaurs, I’ve never warmed to the mainline Horizon games – posh landscape aesthetics and cinematic flourishes aside, I find them clunky and underwhelming in terms of quests and fights. Nate was more positive about the original Zero Dawn, noting in his review that “battering an iron ostrich to pieces never felt so good”. How about you? Would you play a Horizon MMO? I think I’d rather play a co-op party-based affair in the style of Monster Hunter.