A new sort of post-apocalyptic world.
Horizon: Zero Dawn is an action RPG that takes place in a new sort of post-apocalyptic world. Revealed at E3 2015 and being developed by Guerrilla Games, this new IP (yes, really, there was a new IP revealed at E3 this year) takes place long after some horrible event that ruined the cities and works of humanity, and I mean long after. People aren’t still living in dirty filthy hovels, raiding convenience stores for their last cans of baked beans. Instead, they have built up a brand new society, creating new cities and new tribes. Granted, it’s a low tech society, but we are living and thriving once more.
Our technology, however, has taken on a life of its own. Something caused the high technology of the world to evolve. Now, beasts of all kinds made out of gears and microchips roam the world. As we saw in the E3 reveal trailer, robotic tigers, giraffes, dinosaurs, deer, and other strange robotic creatures roam the verdant green pastures of a world with limited human influence.
This brings us to the story of Horizon: Zero Dawn , which is not about a human tribe under attack from these robot creatures, nor is it about a human resistance trying to take the world back. Rather, it is simply a story of survival. Hunting these creatures is just a thing that we as a people do, and more importantly, Aloy, our main character, does. But we aren’t hunting these robotic creatures for food, we are hunting them for parts, for tech, for the remnants of a long lost technologically advanced civilization that we no longer remember or understand.
This is the main gameplay concept of Horizon. You’ll go out into the wasteland, hunt different kinds of robotic animals, harvest their parts, and then use those parts to create new weapons and items to continue the hunt. There is a deep story and several missions to undertake, but Guerrilla was not ready to speak about it. Suffice it to say, it will tie in the mysterious past of the game world, and the sudden disappearance of the “Old Ones” who are heavily alluded to be us, human beings, Earthlings, at our present day technological level.
Horzion will be an open world style of RPG, and Guerrilla wanted the focus of the game to be that very world. They wanted players to have fun simply exploring it and wondering what could have possibly caused the planet to evolve in the way it did. They wanted to make your relationship with the world more of a symbiotic one than a conflicted one. Aloy shows respect to the robotic animals she kills, as if she understands them and honors their sacrifice. I give praise to Horizon for somehow making a hunt and slaughter of a robot dinosaur using its own back mounted laser gun feel like the most natural and Earth loving thing I have done in video games since playing E.V.O. the Search for Eden .
Combat in the game is also meant to feel like hunting. Your goal is to examine how these different robot animals behave and use appropriate methods to take them out. If you have a beast that can run at superhuman speeds, then you likely want to set down trip wires to allow their own momentum to take them out. If you are fighting a beast that can summon other beasts to its aid, you’ll have to get up close to take it out quickly, silencing it before its death cries can call its friends. If you encounter a beast with scanners or good eyesight, you will have to stay hidden in tall grass, shadows, and caves, ambushing it to avoid startling it away. Each enemy in the game will have a completely different behavior pattern, and will require a completely different set of skills to take down.
But not every beast in the game is out to kill you. Guerilla games showed off some concept art pieces for the game, and one of them featured a city with children playing with robotic dogs. When asked whether or not it’s possible that these dogs could act as your hunting companions, we were not given a definitive answer. We can only hope the answer ends up being “yes” because Robo Fido might just be the best thing since Call of Duty: Ghosts ’s Riley.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much more to say about Horizon: Zero Dawn . Very little of the game was shown and few details were ready to be spoken about. However, we were told to keep our eyes open, as new details about this new IP should be released relatively soon.
Horizon: Zero Dawn does not yet have a release date. It will release exclusively for the PS4.