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How Horizon Forbidden West Could Still Include Rost

When jumping into Horizon Zero Dawn, Rost is the first face players see. He introduces the world to both the player and baby Aloy as he takes her to the naming ceremony, just casually waltzing past a Thunderjaw along the way. The Horizon Zero Dawn intro cinematic is stunning and right away, Rost is established as an important character. Unfortunately, Rost dies early in the game protecting Aloy from the massacre at the Proving, and from that point on Aloy must journey alone.

It would seem like Rost is gone for good, but Horizon Forbidden West could actually bring back Rost in a very interesting way. He’s dead, and Forbidden West won’t bring him back to life, but similar to how Joel remained the center of The Last of Us 2 despite his untimely passing, Rost could still play a very important role.

Rost’s Significance In Horizon Zero Dawn

Rost is responsible for making Aloy who she is for most of Horizon Zero Dawn. Without his teaching, Aloy never would have been able to run in the Proving and become a true member of the tribe. Until she competes in the Proving and becomes a Brave, Rost is the only person Aloy looks up to.

Like Aloy, he is an outcast, and so the Matriarchs give Aloy to Rost to raise as his daughter. For Aloy’s entire childhood, Rost is basically her only relationship. Even though Aloy is determined to find out the truth about her parents and her origins, Rost is her father and the only person who is really a part of her life. They don’t share all of the same values and beliefs, with Aloy being skeptical and distrusting of the tribe while Rost holds its traditions dear, but they are fiercely loyal to one another.

Rost is the reason why Aloy is such an incredible hunter and the one who teaches her that she needs to fight for something larger and more important than herself. He used to be one of the tribe’s strongest Braves, so he’s a perfect teacher who pushes Aloy to reach her full potential. Little did he know that his adopted daughter would end up saving all of humanity from a second apocalypse.

Rost is a crucially important character and he sacrifices his life for Aloy in the end, but after that, he isn’t mentioned much. Aloy has a lot going on and very little of it has to with Rost, but as one of her main relationships, he should definitely have a role in the sequel.

Rost’s Backstory Is Tied To The Forbidden West

Players won’t know much of Rost’s backstory unless they talk to High Matriarch Teersa towards the end of the game, but Rost is actually one of the only people to go to the Forbidden West and survive. His story is a tragic one, but knowing it adds so much more significance to the relationship he shares with Aloy.

When Rost was a member of the Nora tribe, he had a wife and a daughter named Alana. When Alana was six, bandits attacked the Nora Sacred Lands and killed his wife, escaping with his daughter and other members of the tribes as hostages. Other Braves, including rost, tracked the bandits across the Sacred Lands until they finally left, crossing the border with the hostages.

It is incredibly important to Nora tradition to never set foot beyond the border of the Sacred Lands. Anyone who does is made an outcast. Knowing this, the bandits cruelly killed the hostages, including Rost’s daughter, and left the bodies just outside reach on the other side of the border. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Braves were prevented from exacting revenge on the bandits once they were beyond the border.

To avenge his wife and daughter, Rost then asked the High Matriarchs to become a Death-Seeker. Players may remember that Aloy also becomes a Seeker in Horizon Zero Dawn, which allows her to leave the Sacred Lands, but a Death-Seeker takes the idea one step further. As a Death-Seeker, one is considered dead by the tribe and can never return. A regular Seeker can go west to a point, but only a Death-Seeker can go to the Forbidden West.

Rost tracked the bandits across the continent, all the way to the Forbidden West. Nothing is known of his time there, but he succeeded in exacting revenge. After being gravely injured, he made his way back to the Sacred Lands so that he could die as close to home as possible, 

Aloy And Rost’s Journeys Could Overlap In Forbidden West

There’s no telling who Rost might have met in his journey to the Forbidden West. The Matriarchs only let him stay in the Sacred Lands if he agreed never to speak of his journey and their compromise, and Rost keeps his past guarded from Aloy. He tells her that he had a daughter in the opening cinematic, but it’s unclear if this was ever brought up again at a time where Aloy could have remembered it. Rost remains a mystery until the very end, and even then the truth is an optional conversation that most players miss.

Rost didn’t really get the attention he deserved in Horizon Zero Dawn. His story should have been easier to discover, or the conversation could have included a flashback showing Rost on his journey. Instead, it was all revealed in a simple, but long conversation with High Matriarch Teersa. For being the most important figure in Aloy’s life, Rost deserved more.

Luckily, Horizon Forbidden West is the perfect opportunity to honor Rost’s memory. Aloy is journeying to the place where a major part of Rost’s story transpired, and it’s possible she will encounter some of the same people and locations he did. Rost might have left a huge mark on the Forbidden West that no one knows about, and Aloy could be the one to discover it.

Rost isn’t going to magically come back to life and give Aloy a tour of the Forbidden West, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be present. There are so many little ways Rost’s story could be integrated into Aloy’s new adventure. Perhaps she finds an old journal filled with stories of the Forbidden West that help guide her, or maybe she meets someone who played an important part in Rost’s journey.

If Rost isn’t featured in some way, it would feel like a huge missed opportunity. Horizon Zero Dawn has been criticized for its lack of deep and meaningful relationships for Aloy; she’s used to being isolated, but players want to see more in the sequel. Rost was the most important person in her life for almost 20 years, he taught her everything she knows and he died to protect her. Aloy can’t have forgotten about him or his sacrifice, and in the Forbidden West she could be closer to his legacy than ever.

Horizon Forbidden West will release in 2021 on PS4 and PS5.