Warning: Spoilers for Enslaved: Odyssey to the West ahead!
Horizon Zero Dawn is an upcoming action-adventure game that has three trailers out now. They look amazing and I can’t wait until the game comes out. The premise of the game, so far, is that our heroine, Aloy, is trying to uncover the secrets of her people’s past. She is apparently outcasted because of who her mother was, according to this trailer, and raised by a man we don’t even know the name of yet.
The world of this game looks phenomenal. The animation quite well done – I still can’t get over how the plants move when she hides in them, or sheer logistics of each mechanical dinosaur. It’s Monster Hunter all over again in my opinion. Anyway, it seems that humans live in tribal communities scattered around the world, and our great cities are no more. The mechanical creatures are apparently all that survived of our technological age. The rest, like Aloy’s weapons, appear to have been constructed afterward by the human tribes, not the Old Ones, as we’re referred to.
Watching these trailers, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between Horizon Zero Dawn , and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West . Especially in the human colonies, the mechs, and the mystery behind the game’s world.
If you haven’t heard of the game, Enslaved is also set in a post-apocalyptic world. Monkey, a lone ranger among the human tribes of the world, is captured by mechs. The ship mysteriously malfunctions and Monkey is able to escape. On the way out, another escapee nearly kills him in an attempt to save herself, despite the fact that she could have saved both of them. Surprisingly, this isn’t the most frustrating personality quirk of Trip’s (the second escapee). No, when Monkey wakes up from the crash landing, he discoveres that he’s wearing a headband that essentially enslaves him to her, and now they both have to survive together.
The similarities between the games begin with the world in which the premise of each game is placed. The world of Enslaved is a world of human colonies built to ward off the mechs and sustain the humans. Mechs, in Enslaved , are entirely hostile and essentially “rule” the land. They kidnap humans for nefarious reasons explained much later in the game. The world of Horizon is also a world of human colonies (named tribal villages instead). Though these villages may not ward off mechs as actively as in Enslaved (I will never forget that puzzle to enter Trip’s colony), I believe the point remains. The dinosaur mechs are still hostile enough to warrant the existence of weapons against them. As such, it is clear in Horizon that humans are not living in harmony with the dinosaurs, but attempt to survive despite their presence.
Furthermore, in Enslaved, it is implied that Earth’s former cities are in ruin because of some sort of human technological mistake. Mechs simply took over as the superior race. The same is certainly implied in Horizon as well, as the “previous” humans (the Old Ones) are not spoken of openly, and most especially not the reason “why Earth is ours no more.” I have no doubt that “technological mistake” would fit Horizon as well as it does Enslaved .
The ending for Enslaved is that the mechs have actually been collecting humans to place inside a pyramid. Here, the central mech keeps all captured humans living within the last memories of the human who created it. I don’t think Horizon will have the same ending – of course not – but I do think it will have something similar. There will at least be a grand central mech that controls or creates the dinosaur mechs. I would even bet that earpiece Aloy wears allows her to see memories, much like Monkey’s headband does.
I don’t mean to say that these similarities are bad, but they are there. Enslaved and Horizon have a lot in common, and it should be acknowledged. Their worlds, colonies, mechs, and possibly the ending are much the same. They should be used as a point of reference for the familiar from which to springboard into the differences and enjoy both games all the more.