John Gonzalez’ spent more than six years at Guerrilla Games, helping the team craft Aloy’s adventures in Horizon: Zero Dawn. On the franchise’s first title, Gonzalez served as Lead Writer. With regards to the recently announced Horizon: Forbidden West, Gonzalez’ role was that of Narrative Director. The famed scribe has left the Amsterdam-based studio, though, and now works as Narrative Director at a “new AAA open-world studio” in Barcelona, Spain.
News of the writer’s departure from Guerrilla comes courtesy of his updated LinkedIn page via ResetEra. According to said page, Gonzalez joined Guerrilla in September 2013. He served in the role of Horizon: Zero Dawn’s Lead Writer until July 2016. From there, he transitioned to Narrative Director on Horizon: Forbidden West.
With Zero Dawn in particular, Gonzalez “conceived Horizon’s foundational world fiction.” (The FARO Plague, GAIA, etc.) He’s also responsible for the overarching narrative, major characters, and the beat by beat quests. In one description on his LinkedIn page, Gonzalez notes that he penned roughly “90% of the main quest.”
The writer’s contribution to Forbidden West seems largely similar. Gonzalez crafted the sequel’s story, key characters, and designed the main storyline’s “narrative flow.” Working closely with Design and Art, Gonzalez was instrumental in realizing new locales and tribes. Moreover, he scripted major cinematics, dialogue exchanges, as well as other types of content.
All of the above, and Forbidden West’s 2021 release window, suggests Gonzalez’ work on the sequel was complete before his exit. It remains to be seen what his role at the new AAA studio in Spain will entail. However, he has teased it’s a brand-new IP.
Horizon: Forbidden West will land on the PlayStation 5 sometime in 2021.