Sony has taken a very interesting position in this generation of consoles, launching a series of incredible exclusives with a focus on narrative and a singleplayer experience. From Bloodborne to Ghost Of Tsushima, all are games far above average, and some are undoubtedly the best of the generation.
One of these titles, which was even released recently for PC after about three years of exclusivity, is Horizon Zero Dawn, a new IP that introduced players to a new world filled with robotic dinosaurs, and one that is as inspiring and creative as it looks. And like any great game, Horizon Zero Dawn has some very interesting development stories, and here we will comment on some of them.
10 – The map would be much bigger
A very interesting curiosity about the game is the fact that the world map was initially going to be incredibly large – to be more exact, it was supposed to be 50 times the size of the world map we know in the final version.
However, Guerrilla Games also wanted to add interesting things across the map, without empty spaces, which would have been quite a challenge with such a large map. Thus, the size of the map was reduced and it was up to the art direction team to make the world look as massive as possible.
9 – Bandit camps
The only hostile creatures in the game were supposed to be robotic dinosaurs, but Guerrilla Games soon realized that combat would be too saturated with just one type of enemy.
That’s why human enemies and bandit camps were hurriedly integrated into the game – which is why this is an aspect that most people consider one of the most lackluster experiences in a title that is rather brilliant.
8 – Record in the Netherlands
Guerrilla Games is a Dutch developer, and the 47 million euros that were invested in the production of Horizon Zero Dawn made the game the largest and most expensive piece of media ever produced in the Netherlands. To say that the investment was worth it would be an understatement, given the extremely positive reception of the game.
7 – The real Aloy
Aloy is an extremely striking character, and many fans would be forgiven for thinking that his design is completely original.
However, the truth is that a Dutch actress named Hannah Hoekstra lent her face to the protagonist of the Guerrilla game. Of course, the studio’s art direction also did a lot of work to create Aloy’s complete look, like his characteristic red braids and freckles.
6 -The game design took a long time
During the time when the initial ideas for Horizon Zero Dawn were bearing fruit, another title by the name of Enslaved: Odyssey To The West was released with similar themes and tones. Wanting to look original, Guerrilla Games decided to focus on a more steampunk aesthetic. But that niche was also covered by The Order: 1886.
Fortunately, Sony realized how much its initial proposal was worth and gave Guerrilla Games all the support it needed to make this idea a complete reality. Thus, the world of Horizon Zero Dawn emerged.
5 – Reference to Jazz Jackrabbit
One of the guerrilla games co-founders, Arjan Brusse, worked on a little-known game called Jazz Jackrabbit in the 90s. So, needless to say, there would be an obscure reference in Horizon Zero Dawn to this classic title.
There is a mining camp that the player attacks after finding War Chief Sona. Near this camp is a metal flower, and next to this collectible are two rabbits that are just playing. Examining them reveals that their names are Jack and Jazz, which is as subtle a reference as possible.
4 – Connection with Death Stranding
Another title with which Horizon Zero Dawn is closely related is Death Stranding, with the latter even using the same engine as the basis for its title, the Decima Engine.
In fact, Horizon Zero Dawn still has three collectibles that reference the title of Hideo Kojima – the Stranded Necklace, Stranded Shackles, and Stranded Figure. In contrast, Death Stranding has holograms from Aloy and some of Horizon’s machines throughout the game.
3 – Design of enemies
Deathbringer is one of the most “normal” looking enemies in the game, which is proof of how bright and unique the enemies in Horizon Zero Dawn really are.
According to the developers, virtually all early enemy designs mirrored the Deathbringer in one way or another, which made fighting them more like a battle than a hunt. Since Guerrilla Games wanted the player to feel more like a hunter in a post-apocalyptic world, these early designs were dropped in favor of more animalistic machines.
2 – Aloy would have a real horse
During the development of the game, the idea of Aloy riding a flesh-and-blood horse came to be considered.
However, this was discarded at the very beginning of the project, as it would imply that more people would wander on horseback, which implies a whole new programming process. Thus, it was decided that Aloy’s mount would be mechanical, which gives him a unique aspect in that world. A wise decision.
1 – Modo Co-op
Perhaps the most unexpected thing that most people don’t know about Horizon Zero Dawn is the fact that the game was originally a cooperative title.
Fortunately, Guerrilla Games realized that the game’s content would have been severely affected if that were the case, and the idea was rejected in favor of the narrative-based single-player experience that we all love.