Horizon Zero Dawn is an Action Role Playing Game developed by Guerrilla Games and published by Sony. It follows the life of Aloy, an outcast of the Nora tribe, throughout a world that has machines and humans in close proximity to each other. Development of HZD started in 2011 when director, Mathijs de Jonge, selected the concept due to it being the “most risky” presented at the time. The game engine, Decima, which was previously engineered for Killzone Shadow Fall was altered for Horizon Zero Dawn, the first new intellectual property (IP) developed by Guerrilla Games since Killzone in 2004, and also the studio’s first attempt at developing a role-playing game.
HZD Introductory Summary
Aloy, “born” an outcast of the Nora tribe, was raised by another outcast by the name of Rost. After the first few years of life Aloy, approximately 6 years old, encounters what it means to be an outcast from the tribe when she tries to pick some berries and give them to a woman gathering berries from a few children. The woman rejects the offering from Aloy and asks for the children to stay separate from the outcast due to tribal law. Aloy becomes upset over this and runs away from the place accidentally falling into a cavern. In this cavern, which is part of the metal world (the world that was before) she finds a focus.
A focus is a device that provides the wearer incite into the world around them. The focus serves as a tracker, highlighting both the tracks of targeted machines and the machines themselves, as well as providing information from various machines and devices. It even serves as a translator for us in game transforming the pictographs into words that we can read.
Once Aloy climbs out of the cave with Rost’s help. Rost demands that she remove the Focus. “It is of the metal world.” In Nora Culture the Metal realm is sacred and viewed as dangerous. Rost relents and lets Aloy keep her new “play thing”. Shortly after this interaction we begin to discover how the focus can be used by saving a tribe boy named Teb who managed to injury himself within a herd of striders and watcher, two of the machine type prevalent in the area. Using the focus Aloy alone rescues Teb and before he is taken away by other tribesmen, Teb thanks her. This is the first time any of the tribe had spoken to her.
After another encounter with the children from the berry patch, where this time a blonde hair child strikes Aloy in the face with a rock. Aloy demands of Rost to know why she is treated this way. Rost refuses to give her answers but tells her that the matriarchs might grant her a boon in she wins something called the Proving. Aloy then begins her training to win the proving to find out who she really is.
Immediately after she wins the proving a group from the tribe of Carja slaughter all of the candidates but Aloy survives due to Rost interfering in the murder attempt by the leader of the Carja group. Aloy is then nursed back to heath by a tribe Matriarch named Tersa, the only of the matriarchs who have shown kindness to Aloy, even helping her at times. Tersa then tells Aloy that she was found at the foot of All Mother, an inner sanctum within the mountain. The foot of All Mother is a door that is shut that has triangular shaping to it. When Aloy steps up to the door the “All Mother” speaks to her, scanning her for access to the chamber. The scan reveals that she is a 99.4% match but the file is corrupted and she is not granted access in. Thus begins the quest to know who she is. The matriarch grant Aloy the title of Seeker allowing her to travel beyond the boarders of the Nora without fear of being dubbed an outcast again. Oh yeah by the way, since she finished the proving she was automatically back in the tribe as a brave, a warrior for the tribe.
Once Aloy has begun her journey she encounters a corrupter machine for the first time. All the machines that she grew up around even though they are deadly provide a certain function for the sustaining of the land. This corrupter overrode the normal functions of these animal like machines and ordered them to seek destruction, a function that is not with the animal like machines. She soon is contacted by a mysterious voice through her focus who gives her advice and guides her to discover more of past as well as what is presently going on. This voice is from a character named Sylens. Voiced by Lance Reddick, the voice of Commander Zavala in Destiny, Sylens driving force is to gain knowledge and understanding. Everything that he does is to gain incite into both the past and present.
From Sylens, Aloy learns that the machines that have been corrupted are controlled by a being named HADES. With Sylens’ help Aloy then discovers where HADES comes from and who she is within the fabric of the story. They discover what the purpose of project Horizon Zero Dawn and what Operation Enduring Victory is. She learns who her mother is and with the help of her friends is able to defeat HADES for the time being.
To learn more about all the various aspects of Horizon Zero Dawn be sure to listen to Episode 17 of the Focused Fire Chat Extra Lore Series. Until next time guardians, Focused Your Fire and May Your Light Shine Bright.