If, like us, you’re ridiculously excited to dive into Horizon Zero Dawn again with the first expansion – Frozen Wilds – you’re going to be thrilled that we’ve got some fresh info on the DLC’s storyline, the new location and some of the fresh beasties that you’ll be facing in Frozen Wilds.
Here’s everything we learned about Horizon Zero Dawn: Frozen Wilds DLC at Paris Games Week, direct from Guerrilla itself.
The Cut is your brand new location
Before you learn about the story of Frozen Wilds, you’ll want to know about the new locale you’ll be stomping around. As the title suggests, you’ll be travelling to a cold, rugged and very snowy region called The Cut. When you install the expansion, you’ll find it’s seamlessly added to the north of the main game map. At its centre is the volcano Thunder’s Drum, a major landmark that can be seen across The Cut, that’s also key to the expansion’s main mystery.
It’s this cold wilderness that’s the home of the Banuk tribe. They were originally introduced in the main game, but the nomadic tribe are a huge focus for this new story.
Amongst all that snow, you’ll also spot that it’s a little more alive than the original game, as Guerrilla has added in new wildlife including squirrels, badgers, owls, and mountain goats. Sounds like extra crafting fodder to me.
It’s a story of a new robotic threat
The Frozen Wilds story runs concurrently with the events of the main game, rather than being any kind of end-game content. It begins with Aloy arriving in The Cut at the main Banuk settlement of Song’s Edge. Her goal in this place is to investigate a mystery; rumours of a strange force called a Daemon, that seems to have some kind of effect on the machines – or in Aloy’s words, it ‘frenzies’ the machines.
This Daemon is aided by other new machines called Control Towers, which look like strange triffids with glowing purple flowers – as you can see above. These Towers have sprouted up from the earth across The Cut. The Towers have quite powerful effects on the machines, because they pulse with the Daemon’s energy. They make any nearby enemies stronger, repair any damage they might have and are even capable of disabling Aloy’s mount. They are one of many factors that raise the challenge level in the Frozen Wilds.
Interestingly, Guerrilla Games hints that if you play the expansion before you’ve finished the main game, there may be some narrative differences. What they’ll be though, is for us to find out.
“There are several narrative hooks back and forth between the expansion and the main game. If you do some expansion events before you do some main game story quest experiences, you’ll notice small changes.”
There are changes inbound for more familiar bots
In the Paris Games Week trailer for the Frozen Wilds, you’ll have seen a Tallneck walking elegantly – somehow – through the snow. But in the early section I was shown, possibly that same Tallneck is encased in ice and Aloy herself will have to be the one to free it. It seems that it’s not just the Daemon having an effect on the machines in The Cut, but also the environment itself.
You’ll get better rewards for sidequests
In the main game, doing sidequests is fun and all but the actual rewards were a little… limited. XP is one thing, but I want real presents for fighting these robotic beasts. Well, the Frozen Wilds has recognised all that and implemented a proper rewards system for all the new sidequests – of which there are a lot.
For completing sidequests you’ll actually get new weapons, new outfits, new modifications, and more. You can still buy weapons and outfits from vendors as before, but there is sidequest-specific content to discover. And one particular sidequest reward you’ll want to check out is the ability to modify Aloy’s spear, adjusting its damage and perks to suit your playstyle.
There’s also a brand new weapon called the Stormslinger, which basically launches giant balls of electricity at your foes. You can also take all your new skills, abilities, weapons and armour back into the main game too.
There are new robot enemies
It’s not just the Control Towers that pose a new threat for Aloy in the Frozen Wilds, there’s also this new beastie – The Scorcher. It specialises in fast fire attacks and has a heavy weapon mounted on its back called the Mine Launcher. As you’d expect from the name, it means the Scorcher will be firing explosive mines at you, just to make things more difficult.
And a new skill tree
In the base game, Skills were organised into three headings: Prowler, Brave, and Forager. But, in the Frozen Wilds, there’s a brand new set of skills called Traveller. It’s a set of eight, but just some of these new abilities are as follows:
Mounted pick-up: Lets you to harvest and loot without having to dismount
Shard salvager: You can deconstruct items that you find in the wild without needing to find a vendor or drop them on the ground to make inventory space
Expert carver: Increases your chance of picking up rare loot
Hoarder: Gives you increased inventory space
Dismount Strike: A move that allows you to leap off your mount and perform a devastating attack that will kill smaller enemies and wound larger ones. You can only unlock this once you’ve got all the other Traveller skills, but it’s a doozy.
You’ll gain an informative ally
Aloy’s collected a few friends on her journey in Horizon Zero Dawn and in the Frozen Wilds she’s getting another. Burgrend, who classes himself as a purveyor of necessities, is one of the central figures in the early part of Frozen Wild’s story. He’ll be the one giving you guidance and help early on in the DLC, including giving you the next steps of your journey towards finding the Daemon.
He’s not well liked by the Baruk tribe though, despite the fact he says he’s spent “two long winters” with them. But he does have useful knowledge for Aloy on the Daemon and the shaman she’ll need to talk to next – Aurea.
So that’s everything we learned about Horizon Zero Dawn: Frozen Wilds at Paris Games Week. It’s out, exclusively on PS4 of course, on November 7.