One of the biggest topics in gaming throughout 2017 that will likely carry over into this year and beyond was the alleged decline of the single-player game. It’s interesting, then, that Horizon Zero Dawn, one of last year’s most successful single-player adventures, at one time had a co-op mode built into it.
“At the beginning, we were thinking about two players in co-op, our very early prototype was with two players,” Game Director Mathijs de Jonge recently told NoClip. “We had the game running back then in co-op and that was quite nice to see.”
So, why did developer Guerilla Games drop co-op? Was it out of a sense of dedication to pure single-player experiences a la Machine Games? Not exactly. Guerilla didn’t want to sacrifice other features in order to make co-op run-up to the standard it had set for the game.
“We haven’t got that [in the final game] because the programmers basically said that if we wanted to have co-op, we would also have 50 percent of the features we had been asking for and not 100 percent,” explained de Jonge. “With Horizon Zero Dawn being the first game [in the franchise], we wanted 100 percent, so we dropped co-op in favor of that.
“The NPCs fighting along, that is very complicated to get that right and we didn’t want to go there for this game because it’s so much work to do that well.”
Aside from comments about wanting to feature more machine enemies and an engaging narrative, neither Guerilla nor publisher Sony have announced concrete details about a Horizon sequel. So while de Jonge seems to be leaving the door open for co-op’s inclusion in the inevitable follow-up, it’s anything but a confirmed feature at this point.