PlayStation goes back on their Horizon Forbidden West cross-gen policy after a massive backlash

Horizon Forbidden West (Image by PlayStation)
Horizon Forbidden West (Image by PlayStation)

Horizon Forbidden West, the long-anticipated sequel to the 2016’s hit, unveiled all its editions and went on pre-order recently but was quickly faced with backlash due to it locking the cross-gen feature behind a paywall.

Developed by Guerrilla Games, Horizon Zero Dawn lets players explore a post-apocalyptic civilization where humanity has returned to the tribal days, and mechanical beasts roam the earth. The game became a phenomenal hit on the PlayStation 4 and was later ported to the PC platform.

During the 2020 PlayStation 5 Showcase, the sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn - Horizon Forbidden West - was announced in late 2021. The game was later delayed to early 2022, and it also showcased an extended look at gameplay during the State of Play.


PlayStation receives massive backlash from the fanbase regarding the Horizon Forbidden West Pre-order

Horizon Forbidden West takes place a few years after the event of Zero Dawn. In this game, Aloy travels to the west coast and comes face to face with new enemies, both human and mechanical.

Horizon Forbidden West recently went for pre-order before its release in February 2022. Sony announced 5 different editions, Standard, Special, Digital Deluxe, Collector’s, and Regalla. It was also noted that to play on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, players have to purchase the Digital Delux edition at the least.

This has led to a massive backlash, as PlayStation is basically locking the cross-gen feature behind the paywall.

Currently, there is a massive chip shortage, which is also affecting the PlayStation 5 supply. As such, many fans haven’t been able to upgrade to the latest console. Due to this, current PlayStation 4 players who wish to get a PlayStation 5 down the line will have to buy the game twice or pay extra.

Unfortunately, locking cross-gen functionality behind a paywall is becoming more common day by day, as publishers such as Activision and 2K publish a dedicated “Cross-gen Bundle”. This anti-consumer practice is further constructed by Xbox’s play anywhere mentality, where any game for previous Xboxes works perfectly fine for the latest Xbox Series X|S.

PlayStation goes back on Horizon Forbidden West cross-gen playability

Following the massive backlash, PlayStation returned to its decision and promised to include cross-gen playability with the standard and special editions. They further clarified that all future PlayStation titles would be charged $10/- extra for cross-gen playability.

Jim Ryan, President & CEO, Sony Interactive Entertainment, wrote,

"Thursday was to be a celebration of Horizon Forbidden West and the amazing team at Guerrilla working to deliver it on February 18, 2022. However, it’s abundantly clear that the offerings we confirmed in our pre-order kickoff missed the mark. Last year we made a commitment to deliver free upgrades for our cross-gen launch titles, which included Horizon Forbidden West. While the pandemic’s profound impact pushed Forbidden West out of the launch window we initially envisioned, we will stand by our offer: Players who purchase Horizon Forbidden West on PlayStation 4 will be able to upgrade to the PlayStation 5 version for free."
"I also want to confirm today that moving forward, PlayStation first-party exclusive cross-gen titles (newly releasing on PS4 & PS5)–both digital and physical*–will offer a $10 USD digital upgrade option from PS4 to PS5. This will apply to the next God of War and Gran Turismo 7, and any other exclusive cross-gen PS4 & PS5 title published by Sony Interactive Entertainment."

While fans are not happy being charged $10 for a digital upgrade option, it is included at least for Horizon Forbidden West.