Imagine coming across an unexpected blue beacon flickering in Horizon Forbidden West, which carries with it a tragic tale of profound loss and eternal remembrance.
This beacon, as it turns out, is a touching tribute to the late Lance Reddick, which was recently added to the award-winning sequel by Guerilla Games.
An irreplaceable part of the Horizon series and a titan in Hollywood, Lance Reddick is a name etched in the annals of entertainment. So, you can only imagine the shock that reverberated across the world when news broke out that Reddick, who was 60 at the time, had passed away.
A phenomenon both on the screen and behind the mic, Reddick's list of captivating performances includes HBO's The Wire, the gritty John Wick franchise, and video games like Destiny and Hrozion.
In Horizon Zero Dawn and its sequel, Horizon Forbidden West, Reddick brilliantly breathed life into Sylens. This intriguing character is a wandering scholar, archaeologist, and leader of Horizon series’ Eclipse and Sons of Prometheus.
With Reddick's voice and likeness, Sylens transforms from a mere code of pixels to a living, breathing presence. His quest for the technological power of the Old Ones, his complicated love-hate relationship with the game's protagonist Aloy and his transformation from an ally to an antagonist and back to being an ally again created a narrative tapestry that was as rich as it was riveting. The abrupt end to this journey sparked a universal question - what would become of Sylens?
To honor Reddick and commemorate the indelible imprint he left behind, Guerrilla crafted a memorial within the very world that Sylens roamed. Accessible through the game's Burning Shores DLC expansion, the memorial is a poignant reminder of a talent unparalleled. As players navigate their way to Widemaw Island, opposite the lava river, they're greeted by the sight of a hologram bearing Lance Reddick's name.
This radiant blue beacon, standing tall amidst the game's stunning graphics, allows players to mourn and remember the man who brought Sylens to life.
While Guerrilla Games expressed their deep sorrow and gratitude through this homage, they are not alone in their tributes. Reddick's death reverberated through the gaming sphere, where his roles went far beyond Horizon. In Destiny 2, he voiced Zavala. His passing led to a virtual outpouring of grief, as players gathered in droves around Zavala, kneeling in silent tribute to the actor.
Beyond gaming, Reddick's death was mourned in the film community as well. The actor, who played Charon in the John Wick franchise, was honored in the ending credits of the latest entry, John Wick 4. A similar tribute to Reddick is expected in the upcoming John Wick spinoff, Ballerina, where Reddick has a cameo, and the beat-em-up roguelite game Hellboy: Web of Wyrd, where he was set to voice Hellboy.
As the tributes continue to pour in and fans reminisce about Reddick's extraordinary talent, a shadow looms over the fate of his characters. In Horizon, particularly, the story of Sylens is left hanging precariously. While it's unclear how his arc will be handled in future Horizon content, the memorial serves as a fitting tribute to a man who was, as one fan put it, "a towering presence in everything he did."
If nothing else, Guerilla shouldn't be in any hurry to work on the third mainline entry in the series. Judging from what he heard about Sony and its astringent Metacritic requirements for its first-party titles, Guerilla is in the clear. Although if you insist, you should find clues about the threequel in the sequel's expansion.