Horizon Forbidden West is just a day or two from landing, and the reviews are already rolling in. It ranks as one of the most anticipated sequals to launch in recent memory. Of course, if it wasn’t for a certain FromSoft game launching later this month, it could even take the crown for the most anticipated game this year period. But we digress.
This time around, flame-haired Alloy must save her own personal dystopia from a rouge terraforming system. The blighted environments this unwelcome contraption creates are of course a threat to humanity, leaving famine and destruction in their wake. Very topical, you might think, the good folk at Guerilla Games have no doubt been binging Blue Planet.
But that brings us neatly and squarely to the point. Aligning themselves with the theme of Horizon Forbidden West, Sony has partnered itself with environmental charity Arbour Day Foundation. Through this arrangement, every time a player unlocks the “Reach the Daunt” trophy, Sony has committed to planting a tree in the real world. Dubbed the “Play and Plant” program, this will continue until March 25th, or if the maximum donation is achieved. Right now, that sits at 288,000 trees.
Fear not the platinum grind in Forbidden West
The trophy ties in with Alloy’s overriding mission, and a smattering of side quests. Her objective is of course to restore the scared earth, rejuvenating the “forbidden west”. Obviously, and much like the first, Horizon Forbidden West continues the themes of climate degradation and ecosystem harmony. What’s more, this is no Platinum. The Daunt is the first major area outside of the tutorial, which, unlike that other upcoming release we mentioned, the majority of Forbidden West‘s players should achieve with ease.
Back in the real world, the trees themselves will be planted in three separate locations. Douglas County Forest, in Wisconsin, marks the first. It spans 278,000 acres and is in dying need of new conifer trees. Here deforestation has destabilized the ecosystem’s blue-wing warblers and Blanding’s turtles, along with the forest’s watershed protection abilities. The 30,000-acre Sheep Fire Private Lands, in California, is second up. It has suffered significant burn damage and reforesting will help support grey wolve colonies. Finally, Torreya State Park, in Florida, spans 13,000 acres and suffers from a declining longleaf pine population. Species like gopher tortoises and red-cockaded woodpeckers would be supported by Sony’s efforts.
But whether this is a genuinely selfless act on the part of the publisher, or simply a canny marketing ploy maximizing the current ecological zeitgist, it doesn’t matter. Ultimately, if playing games can help the environment, then we at ABG are all for it.
Horizon Forbidden West will release on Feb 18, on PlayStation 4, and Playstation 5 exclusively.
“Video games are great. I should know, I’ve played some.”
Olly S, July 2020