Destruction of our planet and how Horizon Forbidden West brings this message to gamers

Destruction of our planet and how Horizon Forbidden West brings this message to gamers
Destruction of our planet and how Horizon Forbidden West brings this message to gamers

One of the biggest games of the year, Horizon Forbidden West, is now available on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. To coincide with the game’s release, Sony has announced a new initiative which the publisher has dubbed “Play to Plant”. The game’s core plot line involves nature reclaiming the plant, and the Play to Plant initiative will aid in allowing nature to claim a bit more of the world – by planting a tree for every player that unlocks an in-game trophy.

Players unlock trophies in game for achieving certain milestones. When a player unlocks the “Reach the Daunt” in-game trophy, Sony will plant a tree. The trees will be planted across three deforestation programmes which run through the United States of America. The three programmes aim to combat deforestation and rebuild natural habitats for endangered wildlife which have been destroyed in recent years. Sony aims to play 288 000 trees.

The link up between the game’s story and the real life need to preserve nature is not surprising. In the prequel to the new game, Horizon Zero Dawn, much of the story centred around the damage caused when technology is prioritised over nature. Horizon Forbidden West continues this tale. Players are able to explore expansive and beautiful natural settings that showcase the beauty of earth’s incredible ecosystems. As the main character, Aloy, traverses the world, she will come across iconic buildings and structures, now dilapidated and ruined. The stark contrast of humanity and nature serves as a warning, as Aloy searches to discover the source of a plague killing all it infects. In a nod to the current changing weather patterns brought on by global warming, the game introduces horrific storms and constantly changing terrain.

Climate change has become a hot topic in recent years. Voices such as 19 year old Greta Thunberg and actor Leonardo DiCaprio have attempted to raise awareness off the back of growing greenhouse gas emissions and growing climate change concerns. Entertainment has been used as a vehicle to try to share this message with the masses. The most recent Netflix original, Don’t Look Up, starring DiCaprio, is reportedly commentary on the climate change crisis. Horizon Forbidden West’s plot could easily mirror the current challenges the world is facing.

The game serves as a cautionary tale of what could happen if we continue to take our environment for granted. While the scenery in game is easily some of the best gamers have likely seen, courtesy of the incredible ability of the PlayStation 5 to bring a real world feel to games, it is also a reminder that humanity is potentially signing away its own existence if we don’t actively make an effort to curb our current behaviour towards nature.