Horizon Zero Dawn is just days away from release. Guerrilla Games and their PlayStation 4 exclusive title have players around the globe ready to jump into the post-apocalyptic world, and face off against giant machine-animals. The developers have just released a new launch trailer where we see the main character Aloy using her hunting skills to the full, and exploring the impressive looking scenery. This comes alongside new information from Guerrilla Games about the making of the robotic creatures that are already a trademark of the new title.
Detailed on the PlayStation Blog, Guerrilla Games tell us what inspired them to design their dramatic machines. Game Director Mathjis De Jonge explains, “We didn’t know how animalistic we should go for the machine. We did crude models and mockups at a very early stage.”
Using one of the game’s enemies, the Watcher, as an example of what the team finally landed on, he continues, “The Watcher in the game, it’s animalistic but you can’t say exactly what type of animal it is, which was what we were aiming for – it should resemble a combination of animals but not a literal translation of a singular one.”
With humanity back to the Stone Age and with the world ruled by mechanized fauna, the back story for Horizon Zero Dawn is intriguing enough. The designs created for the creatures that populate the diverse landscapes are all based on real life animals, but none are carbon copies of the original.
The team at Guerrilla originally looked at scorpion type creatures, but felt they made for less inspiring combat scenarios due to the surface area of its separate body parts being too small. They also toyed with the idea of including flesh and blood predators like bears and mountain lions, but “we thought it may get a little strange as they’d get into conflict with the machines and you’d get these weird looking fights between them.”
In the end, the creative team feels they have found the perfect balance for Horizon Zero Dawn and the adventure of discovery of Aloy. They are extremely proud of their leap from FPS Killzone to the open-world RPG genre, and each member of the team seems to have their own favorite element. Combat Designer Troy Mashburn cites the Shell Walker enemies, essentially large crabs with loot crates on their backs, as the most interesting of the designs.”Shell Walkers have a variety of things you can do to them. They’re fun as you need to plan how to attack them, set traps and maybe disable them piece by piece, or maybe lob some explosive grenades and weaken them.”
Meanwhile, Lead Quest Designer David Ford prefers the hyena based Scrapper, saying it “has more weak points but not one single critical weak point. That presents a different challenge. They have this scary projectile attack from their mouth and they’re really good at flanking and swarming you, so they can be deadly in groups.”
And Art Director Jan-Bart van Beek singles out the iconic Thunderjaw as his favorite. The T-Rex based giant is the most recognizable machine from the new title. He says, “It was the first one that we did and was our proof of concept; if we could make this work then we could make the game work.”
Horizon Zero Dawn releases on February 28th for PlayStation 4, check back to Gamespresso for the latest news on the release.