The team at Guerrilla dives deep on the sea-faring Quen tribe at the heart of the Burning Shores with Lead Writer Annie Kitain.
Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores takes Aloy to the ruins of Los Angeles. The past millennia has seen the metropolis wracked by tectonic and volcanic activity. The result: a dangerous archipelago populated by deadly machines. Among these islands, a large settlement of Quen fight to survive.
Spoiler Alert: Please note this article may contain some spoilers for Horizon Forbidden West and its storyline.
A look at The Quen
Aloy first encountered the tribe in Horizon Forbidden West, during her search for one of GAIA’s subordinate functions. “The Quen are a seafaring tribe from across the Pacific ocean,” Annie Kitain, Lead Writer at Guerrilla explains. “Unlike other tribes Aloy’s met, the Quen have built their society around their ability to use the Focus, which enables them to access and read ancient data. This technological advantage has given them an edge against other tribes in their homeland, the Great Delta, but it has also shaped their culture in interesting ways.”
“Knowledge from the ancient past has allowed the Quen to build an impressive empire. But unlike, say, the Oseram tribe, whose technological prowess is due to their creative inventions, the Quen rely solely on the knowledge they’ve unearthed to drive their advancements. As a result, an important part of their culture revolves around protecting the few Focuses the tribe possesses, as well as strictly controlling who can access the valuable information these devices reveal.”
“To that end, Diviners play a special role in the tribe. As a highly esteemed class of Quen, only Diviners are allowed to use a Focus to read data. Their job is to find and record ancient knowledge that may benefit the empire, ensuring that it doesn’t fall into the hands of outsiders.”
But the Quen’s view of the Old World is skewed. Unlike Aloy’s Focus, we find out when playing Horizon Forbidden West that the devices that the Quen use can only view information up to a certain point in history – anything after that is unreadable. This limitation has led them to misinterpret much of the data they’ve found. Over time, they’ve come to revere a pantheon of Old World paragons, consisting of 21st century CEOs and business tycoons.
The Eastern Expedition
Much like the lands of the Forbidden West, the Quen homeland has suffered from environmental collapse over the last twenty years. Desperate to find a solution, the Quen came to believe that data from the ancient tech hub of San Francisco might be the key to saving their lands.
“Unfortunately, the Expedition faced many hardships,” Annie points out. “Early on, they lost half of their fleet in a violent storm. Then, after the remaining ships managed to make landfall in San Francisco, their search for the data they were after stalled, preventing them from making a triumphant return home. Things weren’t looking so good for them… until Aloy came along.”
On her mission to recover DEMETER from the ruins of an ancient Faro research facility, Aloy meets one of the Expedition’s Diviners. “Brilliant and curious, Alva is the first Quen that Aloy could call a friend,” says Annie. “The two bonded over their exploration of Old World ruins and the discoveries they made of the ancient past. During their adventures, Aloy helped Alva uncover a trove of data that could help her people. In return, Alva helped Aloy in her mission and even joined her growing crew of companions in the Base.”
“At the end of Forbidden West, Alva chose to stay behind with a handful of soldiers while the rest of the Expedition set sail for home. Thanks to Aloy, she has a new understanding of the world. And with a new threat to life on Earth on its way, she’s determined to do whatever she can to help.”
Heading to the Burning Shores
When asked what else players should know about this tribe before diving into Burning Shores, Annie answers: “I think it’s important to remember that we know much less about the Quen than any other tribe. We only got to scratch the surface in Forbidden West, so get ready to discover much more about them and how the tribe’s rigid hierarchy affects the new characters you’ll meet!”
The Quen that ended up in the Burning Shores have been here for some time, and while survival has been a constant challenge, they’ve managed to establish an impressive settlement that’s a lot of fun to explore. Here you’ll meet new characters such as Admiral Gerrit. “We meet him early on in the story,” Annie explains. “He’s a highly decorated commander in the Quen Navy and the leader of this group of Quen. He’s responsible for keeping things together even in their dire circumstances.”
The key art for Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores shows Aloy accompanied by a new companion, recognizable by her Quen attire – Seyka. “We’re excited to introduce Seyka! She’s an ambitious marine who has stepped up to help her people survive. As a new companion for the DLC, Aloy will spend a lot of time with her throughout the story and rely on her help in many situations – a position she doesn’t often find herself in.”
“Confident, compassionate, and fierce, Seyka’s quite unlike anyone Aloy has ever encountered, and she plays an important role in the next chapter of Aloy’s journey.”
Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores is available to pre-order on PlayStation 5 and will be available on April 19. Make sure to follow the team at Guerrilla on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok to learn more about the next chapter in Aloy’s journey!