Thank you, Guerrilla Games, for promoting respect in Horizon Forbidden West

Thank you, Guerrilla Games, for promoting respect in Horizon Forbidden West

This Thanksgiving, PlayStation LifeStyle and sister site GameRevolution are saying “thank you” to their favorite games, consoles and developers.

At the start of 2022, Guerrilla game released Horizon Forbidden West, a fantastic romp through a world brought to its knees by a man-made disaster. The result is several tribes of people who have seemingly lost centuries of technology and worldly knowledge. On one side, tribes fight over different ideologies, which Aloy and her friends try to fix while looking for a solution to their own problem. On the other hand, a human civilization that has learned to live with race, gender identity, sexuality and various disabilities in a tolerant society is full of respect that we can only dream of right now.

As some of many examples, we meet a tribesman going through the early stages of dementia, and there are at least two on the autistic spectrum. All skin colors and former nationalities are mixed together. There are many homosexual partnerships, both male and female, as well as a male Tenakth warrior who prefers to wear armor intended for a female warrior.

While humanity lacks worldly knowledge and this may mean that most people do not understand exactly why these differences exist, it does not matter. Everyone has a chance to hold positions of power and show respect. All people are seamlessly integrated into society as they should be when tolerance and acceptance are central societal values.

Physical disabilities have a slightly tougher ride. A warrior is blinded after a battle goes wrong and faces death if he returns to his tribe. He is taken in by a rival tribe where he thrives. Many other fighters have scars and remnants of serious injuries, including extensive burns that had plenty of time to heal.

Most prominent is Aloy’s friend Kotallo, whose role in society changed after he lost part of his arm in battle, but his new role is no less important. The important message that Guerrilla Games brings is that no matter what happens, people will be fully integrated back into society to continue reaching their potential.

Despite the seemingly primitive nature of the Forbidden Lands, their society seems almost more advanced than ours. In a week where the soccer World Cup shines a discerning spotlight on human rights and a nightclub shooting devastates the LGBTQ+ community once again, it’s worth wondering why we can’t be the same. And I am still grateful to Guerrilla Games for showing us how tolerance, acceptance and respect can only make the world a better place.

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