Other infos from the article, the game sound a bit like MH\surge with all this emphasis on specific parts to detach from the dinobots to craft stuff, also the more robust rpg part had me salivating:
Mathijs de Jonge, the game director of HFW, says that they hope to improve melee and "traversal." He also said that there were lots of new ideas for new machines and new weapons that they couldn't fit into the first game that they will fit into this one.
The first new mechanic that was discussed is the new skill tree. In the interview, de Jonge says that the old skill tree from HZD was "completely thrown out of the window" and redesigned from scratch. With the improvements coming to melee, HFW is becoming more of an RPG where you can decide your playstyle and maybe mix-and-match different skills and playstyles if you wanted to. There are six different skill tree specializations, each with 20 to 30 different skills: warrior (melee), trapper (placing/disarming traps), hunter (ranged weapons), survivor (health/resource), infiltrator (stealth), and machine master (hacking/overriding). There are active skills (using fewer resources in crafting) and passive skills (low health regeneration). A specific melee skill that was mentioned in the video interview was Resonator Blast, where Aloy builds up the charge on the spear and blasts the enemy, creating a more sensitive damage point that can be hit with an arrow.
Valor Surge is a meter that fills up when you "play tactfully" and once you fill up the meter you can use your preferred skill tree's Valor Surge. Things that fill up the meter include headshots on humans or removing a machine component while fighting machines. The "hunter" one is called Powershots Valor Surge, which increases your shot damage for an unspecified amount of time, and can be leveled up, maybe to increase the amount of time the damage is increased or just increase the amount that damage is increased.
Outfits and weaves can improve skills well "past their level cap, raising some stats 300 percent." Outfits can have three to five upgrades, which usually increases resistances but may also improve skills learned on the skill tree.
A new Focus scan feature can analyze machines and "cycle through their components." In the article, Alot is using it to scan the Burrowers, new machines that resemble weasel-like animals, like otters or meerkats. The new scan shows that the Burrowers are weak to fire, have a detachable component on them called the "Burrower Soundshell," and that their eye is a weak spot. The article says, "This feature conveys a lot of different information, from letting you know if a machine contains a key upgrade resource to if a part is indestructible." The option to tag machine parts and important components is there, in case you are looking for something specific and it comes off during the fight with the machine. You can also use the Focus to scan for and highlight climbing and grapple points in the environment.
In Game Informer's video interview back in July, the writer asks de Jonge if the new traversal mechanics of the paraglider (Shieldwing), the grappling hook (Pullcaster), and the oxygen mask were the only traversal improvements that they made. De Jonge said that you are free to climb on any mountains, rocks, or cliffs now, so the world should feel a lot more open. They also talking about Aloy's jumping, and how she's able to "high-vault" onto ledges that seem just out of reach.
Melee pits "offer challenges to test your skills," and are utilized to teach melee combos. Ben McCaw says that there is a "cool little story hook into the melee pits as well." This makes me think that melee pits are going to work like the Hunting Grounds. The article says that there is a melee pit in Chainscrape.
The developers mentioned more rewards for quests in their sequel. Instead of just shards, the incentive to complete side quests include new outfits, new weapons, or resources.
The workbench is a new mechanic that I mentioned that Aloy was looking for in her journey to Chainscrape, used to upgrade weapons and armor, and also to craft traps, potions, and "special gear." Ammo and trap crafting can be done without a workbench, so no worries there. The demo shows Aloy putting her common bow on the workbench. It has three different upgrades - the next upgrade gives Aloy a new ammo type (acid arrows) and increases the bow's stats. The upgrades cost more than just shards in HFW. De Jonge says, "In this game, we tried to bring encounters with machines more into play. A lot of these upgrades also cost specific machine resources, so you have to go out and hunt specific machines."
Workbenches are usually in settlements and villages - de Jonge says, "We were looking at how to make settlements more interesting and how we can add more interactivity to settlements, so they become like safe havens for the player." McCaw says, "Settlements are also hubs for all kinds of different content in the game as well. So, sort of drawing the player back to the workbenches makes a lot of sense because you become aware of quests and activities, and even activities within the settlements."
While searching for a specific machine to acquire a specific component might seem tedious as it was in HZD, now there's an option in the menu to create a job to locate the components that you're searching for to upgrade your gear. The article mentions that at the workbench, Aloy's Nora Anointed outfit requires two "Fanghorn Antlers" to upgrade. The demo shows the menu creating a job which puts a quest marker and a marked path to the machines that have that component. Aloy is led to a Lancehorn herd, and Lancehorns have the Fanghorn Antlers.
This is all so exciting and made me realize that the release of this game isn't too far off! Not to be dramatic but I would eat glass and rocks to be able to play this game right now. I'm going to be making a speculation/discussion/theories post about all of this soon, so stay tuned!