Horizon Forbidden West ending explained

The Horizon Forbidden West ending is quite the bombshell, as you’d hope from a story like Aloy’s latest. Here we’ll explore the biggest plot points, how they’ll no doubt tie into an inevitable sequel. But, before we go any further, here’s your spoiler warning for Horizon Forbidden West

Do not read any further unless you’ve finished Horizon Forbidden West or you want to spoil it for yourself. 

Aloy in Horizon Forbidden West

(Image credit: PlayStation)

Okay, still here? Let’s go. 

Aloy’s journey in Horizon Forbidden West has been to reuinte Gaia with her subfunctions, including Haephestus, Aether, Poseidon, and Demeter. Of course, the moment she does that Gaia – and new character / other Elisabet Sobeck clone – is whisked away by the Zeniths. The last mission of the game is to get both of those back, and wipe the Zeniths out for good. 

Of course, you’ve got some help. Firstly you’ve got your friends and allies like Zo, Alva, Kotallo, and Erend, but you’ve also got your frenemy Sylens with his Zenith shield-destroying weapon, and the assistance of one of the Zeniths themselves – Tilda. What follows in this closing mission, entitled Singularity, is a full-out assault on the Zenith base to the south of the Horizon Forbidden West map, and the mother of all cliffhangers.

Let’s walk through each of the major revelations in the Horizon Forbidden West ending and how they’ll no doubt influence the next Horizon game.

The Zeniths are completely wiped out 

Horizon Forbidden West ending screens

(Image credit: PlayStation)

First up, we’ve got the Zeniths. The futuristic space people who turn out to be the very same humans that left Earth 1000 years ago have been threatening to wipe out all existence on Earth for the entire game. We’ve only really see Tilda and two other Zeniths during the game, but in this final mission it’s the entire pack that come to take down Aloy’s crew. 

Thankfully, Sylens’ backpack weapon works and a cutscene shows it first disabling all of their shields, which alerts Beta’s previously summoned army of ally robo-dinos to attack the Zeniths and take them down for good. Unfortunately Erik and Gerard escape, so Aloy hunts down Erik while Tilda goes after Gerard.  

Minutes later though, you’ll head to a lift where the fight with Erik ensues, and when you finally get him down to critically low health, it’s Zo that lands the final blow – a stab through the heart with her spear. Justice for Varl at last. 

Elsewhere, Tilda takes on Gerard, and we see him come to his end as he explodes through a side door and is then shot in the back by Tilda at the top of the tower where Aloy finds and saves Beta. That’s all the Zenith’s gone, bar Tilda herself. 

Tilda reveals her true intentions

Horizon Forbidden West ending screens

(Image credit: PlayStation)

 As for Tilda, she might be the Zenith that saves Aloy from the same fate as Varl – RIP – but she has always felt like she’s hiding some of her real objectives, and it all comes out here. Turns out Tilda wasn’t just friends with Elisabet Sobeck – Aloy’s genetic source material – but instead the pair were lovers. But, that didn’t stop Tilda from leaving Elisabet behind when the Zenith’s escaped Earth, and clearly, she’s regretted it ever since. 

Once she discovered that Aloy existed and is essentially her perfect version of Elisabet, she plans to take Gaia for herself and take Aloy with her to start a new perfect planet somewhere that’s safe from the real threat – more on that in a minute. 

Of course, Aloy’s discoveries about friendship and family over the course of the game means that there’s no way she’d abandon Earth and anyone on it to die, so she then takes on Tilda in a hectic final battle. However, Tilda also armed herself with a mad mech body made from a Specter – the futuristic robots that the Zeniths have to aid them – so it’s quite the final fight for our old pal Aloy. 

Nemesis is the biggest big bad and Earth was never the Zeniths’ end goal 

Horizon Forbidden West ending screens

(Image credit: PlayStation)

It’s here at the top of the tower that Beta and Aloy discover the Zeniths’ ultimate plan and intentions for Earth. Aloy’s believed from early in the game that their intention was to 

But, it turns out that there’s a bigger threat, Nemesis. This pulsing red foe is a database come to life, a failed experiment left abandoned by the Zeniths as they tried to find a way to upload their minds into any form, to achieve more than just physical immortality. Nemesis is made up of failed copies of the Zeniths’ consciousnesses, filled with all their hopes, dreams, fears, and knowledge, which it then used against them. It wasn’t a natural disaster that destroyed the Zeniths’ colony on Sirius, but instead, it was Nemesis, who became sentient and looked to seek revenge for being locked away in its own prison. 

Horizon Forbidden West ending screens

(Image credit: PlayStation)

The Zeniths never planned to stay on Earth, but instead wanted to take the copy of Gaia and flee from Nemesis to start a new world where their creation could never find them. But Nemesis was one step ahead of them, attempting to destroy Earth before the Zeniths could get there. It was even Nemesis that sent the extinction signal that woke Hades in the first game. 

Unfortunately, despite the fact that you’ve taken out all of the Zeniths, Nemesis is still on its way and according to Tilda, it cannot be stopped. 

Horizon Forbidden West ending screens

(Image credit: PlayStation)

Something that’s not talked about at all in the closing moments of the game’s main story is Gaia’s subfunctions. When Beta reconnects Gaia at the base it’s with more of her subfunctions intact than initially planned. The story sees you collecting Hephaestus, Aether, Poseidon, Demeter, and Minerva yourself, but the others are lost. But not forever. While, Hades has been destroyed by Sylens, it turns out the Zeniths have a copy of Apollo, Eleuthia, and Artemis that Beta has successfully reunited with Beta. 

Interestingly though, Hephaestus doesn’t make it to the base with the others. During the final mission, Beta injects Hephaestus into the Zenith base’s printer matrix to literally start firing out an army of machines to tackle the Specters. But that means that it’s escaped confinement… again… and has fled back into the network. Aloy states that it can be trapped again, but it’s not something that’s then dealt with in the game, although Sylens does suggest its robot creation functionality could be replicated elsewhere using knowledge found in the Apollo database, so maybe we don’t even need it anymore. 

Your allies are still with you – including Beta and Sylens 

Horizon Forbidden West ending screens

(Image credit: PlayStation)

Just as you’re starting to feel like a proper little tribe of your own in the base, the ending does somewhat tear the team apart. As Aloy informs them of Nemesis’ impending arrival, four of your companions – Zo, Alva, Erend, and Kotallo – head out into the world to spread the word and start to prepare for an attack. 

Meanwhile, Beta remains at the base with Aloy, and a surprise new ally – Sylens. The on-again-off-again pal of the crew initially plans to get in the Zenith rocket and head into space completely solo, but eventually decides to stay and help fight Nemesis. Thus, he’s now a fixture in the base with Beta and Aloy. 

So that’s the major beats of the Horizon Forbidden West ending, and with Nemesis literally hurtling towards Earth, we know exactly what the next game will be focused on. 

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