There are many collectibles in Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West, and the Metal Flowers are one of the most beautiful. They are found throughout Zero Dawn‘s map, and they feature lots of poetry from the Old Ones. The game did a good job of making the Metal Flowers feel mysterious, encouraging players to seek them all out. In Horizon Forbidden West, the flowers are no longer collectible, and they lose a lot of the elements that make them special.

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In future Horizon games, the Metal Flowers should make a reappearance, but they should be much closer to those found in Zero Dawn. Beautiful art should be found in them, and they should no longer be used as an annoying obstacle. They could be included as Horizon collectibles once again, and more information could be given on these strange objects.

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In Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn, players are introduced to the Metal Flowers which are one of the many collectibles available. It’s tricky to find all the Metal Flowers, but the job is made easier by purchasing a Metal Flowers Map from merchants. The Metal Flowers can be traded in sets of ten to Kudiv, who is a Carja merchant, and he gives players valuable Treasure Boxes in return. Metal Flowers are strange, metal objects that have petals like flowers. It is evident that they are from the Old World, though it is not quite clear what their purpose is. Kudiv claims the objects began appearing around the same time as the Derangement that turned machines hostile.

Aloy is quite curious about the Metal Flowers, and she is always trying to find out more about them. In Aloy’s notebook, it is suggested that the Metal Flowers may be used to germinate seeds. When she speaks to CYAN in The Frozen Wilds, the subordinate function informs her that there may be a connection between the Metal Flowers and GAIA’s terraforming system. The Metal Flowers are quite pretty, and they also contain a few secrets within them. There are code fragments in the form of poems about nature in each of the flowers. Some poems are haikus and others are a bit longer. Poems included are from popular real-world poets like William Wordsworth, which makes them a treat to read. The game ends with the Metal Flowers still shrouded in plenty of mystery.

Metal Flowers make a return in Horizon Forbidden West, and they feature even more prominently. This time around, the flowers are no longer collectibles. Instead, they remained fixed, and tangled vines grow from them. They block Aloy’s path, and the only way for her to proceed is to acquire a Vine Cutter which is obtained by completing quests. Forbidden West‘s map is huge, and the Metal Flowers ensure that gamers can’t explore everything from the get-go.

During Aloy’s hunt for DEMETER, another one of GAIA’s subordinate functions, she discovers that Metal Flowers were created to grow vines that cannot be consumed by Faro’s terrible machines that rely on biomass. Although the Metal Flowers showed promise in halting the progress of the Faro Plague, it was discovered that they could not be dispersed fast enough to stabilize the biosphere. Furthermore, before the project could begin, the developers suffered an attack that set their work back significantly. Consequently, the project was scrapped.

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When Aloy eventually finds DEMETER, the subordinate function reveals that it was responsible for dispersing the Metal Flowers, which it did via flying machines. Gamers also learn that it was Demeter who put the poems in the flowers. They were included because the subordinate function was fascinated with poetry talking about plant life. Later, Aloy asks GAIA whether the Metal Flowers would’ve worked had the plan been implemented as intended. GAIA claims it wouldn’t have, as the Faro Plague swarms would have eventually worked their way through the vines.

Horizon Forbidden West expands on the Metal Flowers, and they feature more prominently. However, they are presented as much more mundane objects, and without the poetry, they lose much of their magic. Furthermore, with the Metal Flowers being used to block off locations and valuables, they could end up annoying players. Future Horizon games should not abandon the Metal Flowers, though they should bring back some of the special qualilties that were present in Zero Dawn.

Although not all players liked Horizon Forbidden West‘s Metroidvania elements, it did provide a way to break up the huge map. Future games will likely feature similar elements, although Metal Flowers probably shouldn’t be the objects used for the purpose. In Zero Dawn, the Metal Flowers are beautiful objects containing moving poetry. To see them reduced to obstacles that Aloy bashes with her spear in Forbidden West makes them feel less special. Firegleam works, and the next Horizon game could introduce another substance to block key areas. Horizon 3 should also bring back the poetry that was present in Zero Dawn. This could be expanded with novel passages from Naturalist books, paintings of nature, and other pastoral media that Demeter would have appreciated.

The only confirmed upcoming Horizon project is Horizon Call of the Mountain which is set to release on PSVR 2. While there has been no word on collectibles, it would be interesting to see the Metal Flowers make an appearance. There are also rumors of a multiplayer game, as well as a Horizon Zero Dawn remake could let gamers re-experience the magic of the Metal Flowers. Although Horizon 3 hasn’t been confirmed, Forbidden West ended on a cliffhanger that made it evident that Aloy’s story is far from over.

Horizon Forbidden West is available on PS4 and PS5.

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