Given how jam-packed the Sony conference was with massive fan favorites, it was no small feat for PS4 exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn, the next game from the dev behind Killzone, to make the showing that it did. Regardless however, before the announcement, Sony was nervous about the new title.
Speaking with Polygon, Shuhei Yoshida admitted, “Personally, The Last Guardian was very emotionally important, a great reveal, but for me the announcement of Horizon from Guerrilla Games is actually the biggest project for me for this E3 to announce because it’s a big project and a new IP. I was nervous to see the reaction from people.”
Another point Sony was worried about centered on the lead protagonist being a young woman. It’s no secret that video game publishers have shied away from female led games in the past, concerned that such games won’t sell, but that lingering fear is still alive and well in the industry.
“She’s a female lead character,” Yoshida said, “That has always been the vision by the team, but we had a discussion. Is it risky to do a female character? The concern came after the game was in development.
“We started to show it to many more people internally and they had questions about it. So we worked with our marketing groups to do this focus testing. We wanted to see how people would react to some of the things: open world RPG, the set up of machine versus primitive weapons and the female protagonist. All of those things.”
While the focus group data came back positive, Yoshida and Sony were still nervous for the wider reveal. Following the announcement however, Yoshida is confident in the game and the direction it is going.
Speaking about female protagonists in general, he said, “Looking at our press conference and other’s press conferences, many teams our doing it now. Like there is a new lead in Assassin’s Creed, and Mirror’s Edge is back. I feel great that there is more diversity in the kind of worlds and kind of characters that we are making as an industry.”
As gaming grows it has the chance to reach a diverse audience, but according to Yoshida it is on game developers and publishers to create games to appeal to the wider audience.
What did you think of Horizon Zero Dawn’s reveal? Let us know in the comments.