How to breathe underwater in Horizon Forbidden West: craft the Diving Mask
Forbidden Horizon West the world is huge, built to be explored for a long time. The vast, open wilderness is stunning and overwhelming, giving players the freedom to roam some of the West Coast’s most famous natural sites and cities. It has towering sequoia forests, endemic to parts of Northern California, as well as the dried-up Death Valley and its sandy ocean. You will climb mountain peaks and famous American landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge. You will also swim in the lakes, caves, and oceans that make up one of the unique attractions of Forbidden West.
The way these elements are intertwined together ultimately sets off the exploratory aspect of the game. “The first thing we said when we started development was that we wanted to focus more on diversity and density,” Matijs de Jonge, Director Forbidden Horizon WestPolygon said.
Swimming is a key part of it: it’s beautiful and best of all, it’s completely unnoticeable. Apart from games specifically about swimming, I usually thought of bodies of water as gate mechanisms. When I can swim, this is often with a limited stamina bar – or it can be on the creature’s back, as in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. IN Forbidden West, here you can not run around the lakes so as not to fall, or tiptoe around the waterfalls. I’m jumping the hell out. There are overcrowded ecosystems, collapsing American landmarks, and tons of collectibles.
Although Aloy is initially limited to holding her breath, thankfully there is a Diving Mask tool that allows her to breathe indefinitely. Admittedly, swimming can be ugly until this tool is found, as quests force Aloy to navigate labyrinths of underwater passages. Hang on and get a diving mask and swimming will be truly liberating and exciting. This makes the game one of my all-time favorite games to explore.
After you unlock your base and talk to GAIA, I highly recommend getting this diving mask as soon as possible. Here’s how you can.
How to make a diving mask for endless breathing underwater
To create a diving mask, you need to exit The Daunt, unlock your base, and load the GAIA core. Crafting a diving mask is an early part of the Poseidon sub-feature questline called Sea of Sands. When GAIA prompts you to choose which of the three secondary functions you want to perform – Ether, Poseidon, or Demeter – select Poseidon and go to Las Vegas.
When you arrive, a large yellow circular area will be shown on the map. You are looking for a building that looks like a pagoda but has water leaking out of it. You will know it is correct as Aloy will call it “Tower of Tears” when he sees it. The easiest way to find it is to go up the hill and find the building.
To get inside, there is a capture point on the edge of the first floor, next to where the water spills. You will come across three NPCs who were trying to dive into a recently flooded building. Talk to Morlund and he will give you a task to make a diving mask.
- compressed air capsule
- knee brace machine
- Synthetic membrane
The compressed air pod is inside a flooded elevator shaft that three NPCs dived into. Dive inside, swim down and collect the compressed air capsule from the protruding panel on the wall.
To get other items, activate the hunting part of the quest chain and follow the prompts to activate Aloy’s focus. The focus will be on the tracks that lead Aloy to the Bellowback and Leaplasher site. The bellows will have synthetic membranes; Leaplashers will have Machine Knee Caps. You may need to kill a few to get the items.
After that, go back to the pagoda, talk to Morlund, and craft a diving mask on the workbench inside the building. Now you will have it permanently, and it activates instantly when you jump into the water – it does not need to be equipped.
What makes diving so special
This sense of underwater freedom is largely due to the design. The developers decided not to make underwater combat an option, instead of giving players the option of stealth in the form of tall algae. “I think it’s very similar to moving on the ground; the mechanic itself has to be responsive and you have to feel like you’re in control,” de Jonge said. “On top of that, the environment matters and the player needs options to avoid underwater combat with vehicles. We didn’t even try to develop it, as player movement underwater is too limited and the vehicles are big, fast, and deadly.”
[Warning: the following contains spoilers for late-game locations and machine types in Horizon Forbidden West.]
Some of the most cinematic moments in the game take place while Aloy is underwater. You see some of the most famous Las Vegas hotels set in a post-apocalyptic future that includes light shows and holography. Here, Aloy first encounters one of the game’s deadliest and most intimidating enemies, the Tideripper, a machine inspired by the Loch Ness monster. Also here, players can see just how adorable the norniki are when they swim. The frustratingly bouncy entry-level enemies become like otters underwater, chirping and squirming.