Get to know the Quen from Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores

Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores takes Aloy to the ruins of Los Angeles. The past millennia have seen the metropolis ravaged by tectonic and volcanic activity. The result: a dangerous archipelago populated by deadly machines. Among these islands, a large colony of Quen is struggling to survive.

Spoiler alert: Please note that this article may contain spoilers for Horizon Forbidden West and its storyline.

A look at the Quen

Aloy first encountered the tribe at Horizon Forbidden West, during her search for one of GAIA’s subordinate functions. “The Quen are a seafaring tribe from across the Pacific Ocean,” says Annie Kitain, editor-in-chief at Guerrilla. “Unlike other tribes Aloy has encountered, the Quen have built their society around their ability to use Focus, which allows them to access and read ancient data. This technological advantage gave them an edge over other tribes in their homeland of the Greater Delta, but it also shaped their culture in interesting ways.

“Knowledge of the ancient past enabled 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 have unearthed to drive their progress forward. As a result, an important part of their culture revolves around protecting the few Focuses the tribe possesses, as well as tightly controlling who can access the valuable information these devices reveal.

“To this end, soothsayers play a special role in the tribe. As a highly esteemed class of Quen, only soothsayers are allowed to use a focus to read data. Their job is to find and record ancient knowledge that could benefit the empire, ensuring it does not fall into the hands of outsiders.

But the Quen view of the Old World is skewed. Unlike Aloy’s Focus, we discover while playing Horizon Forbidden West that the devices the Quen use can only display information up to a certain point in the story – everything after that is unreadable. This limitation caused them to misinterpret much of the data they found. Over time, they’ve come to worship a pantheon of Old World paragons, made up of 21st-century CEOs and business moguls.

The Eastern Expedition

Much like the lands of the Forbidden West, Quen’s homeland has suffered from environmental collapse over the past twenty years. Desperate for a solution, the Quens have come to believe that the data from San Francisco’s old technology center might be the key to saving their land.

“Unfortunately, the expedition had to face many difficulties,” Annie points out. “At first they lost half 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 looking for came to a halt, preventing them from returning home triumphantly. Things weren’t going so well for them…until Aloy arrived.

On her mission to recover DEMETER from the ruins of an old research center in Faro, Aloy meets one of the expedition’s diviners. “Brilliant and curious, Alva is the first Quen Aloy could call a friend,” Annie says. “The two men bonded during their exploration of Old World ruins and the discoveries they made of the ancient past. During their adventures, Aloy helped Alva uncover a wealth of data that could help her In return, Alva aided Aloy in her mission and even joined her growing team of companions in the Base.

“At the end of Forbidden West, Alva chose to stay 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 for life on Earth, she is determined to do whatever she can to help.

On the way to the burning shores

When asked what else players need to know about this tribe before diving into Burning Shores, Annie replies, “I think it’s important to remember that we know a lot less about the Quen than any another tribe. We’re only scratching the surface in Forbidden West, so get ready to find out a lot more about them and how the rigid tribe hierarchy affects the new characters you meet!

The Quen who ended up in the Burning Shores have been here for quite some time, and while survival has been a constant challenge, they’ve managed to establish an impressive colony that’s a lot of fun to explore. Here you will meet new characters such as Admiral Gerrit. “We meet him early in the story,” Annie explains. “He’s a highly decorated commander of the Quen Navy and the leader of this Quen group. He is responsible for keeping things together even in their difficult circumstances.

Key art from Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores shows Aloy accompanied by a new companion, recognizable by her Quen outfit – Seyka. “We are delighted to introduce you to Seyka! It is an ambitious navy that has mobilized to help its people survive. As the newest companion in 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 is unlike anyone Aloy has ever met, and she plays an important role in the next chapter of Aloy’s journey.”

Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores is available for pre-order on PlayStation 5 and will be available on April 19. Be sure to follow the Guerrilla team on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok for more on the next chapter in Aloy’s journey!

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