Horizon Zero Dawn Devs Want Aloy To Be The New PlayStation Icon
Horizon Zero Dawn
(Last Updated On: February 5, 2017)

Guerrilla explains that the philosophy of combat that they designed for Killzone still carries over into Horizon: Zero Dawn. You can still breakdown enemy robosaurs using weapons to destroy energy capacitors, or weaken them by selectively damaging their armor plating in order to expose a weak point.

They showcase how some of the old combat mechanics apply to their new IP, which you can check out below in the behind the scenes developer documentary.

They’re still using the Decima engine that they used to build Killzone: Shadow Fall, but they adapted it to fit the open-world nature of Horizon. That open-world change also came with hiring in new team members to design narrative structures, quests and dynamic dialogue trees.

Over on the PlayStation Blog, community manager from Guerrilla Games, Jeroen Roding, went into more detail about the company ecosystem and ethos changing at the studio in order to better adapt to what they wanted to achieve with Horizon. This concept was also further discussed in another behind the scenes video, which you can check out below.

They talk at length about how they first designed the concept of Horizon being in a post-apocalyptic world with robo-dinos and primitive cave people, but they hadn’t quite worked out the details on why there were robo-dinos and cave people.

They hired in a team to iron out the details and then sprinkle in some fairy dust to give players a reason to discover the mysteries of the game world.

Horizon Zero Dawn - Mother Brain

They discuss that the story is the driving factor for Horizon and that they had to figure out where to place cinematics and how to interweave the gameplay into those story and questing elements.

The last behind the scenes video discusses how they wanted to create a new icon for the PlayStation 4 as a way to give the system a new mascot.

They showcase a few of the concepts of Aloy before they settled on the design that we see in the game, and I must admit that some of her earlier concepts actually looked better than the final and finished version below.

Horizon Zero Dawn - Aloe

A few of the concepts that they were working with before they finalized Aloy, had a more whimsical design for the character as opposed to the more realistic and modernized look they went with.

They gave up the more playful look in the early concepts for a more mature design… she’s not quite Rambo but not quite a girlie-girl either. They settled on something in between.


In some of the concepts it reminded me a bit of Ninja Theory’s Enslaved: Odyssey to the West… just in terms of color tone and their depiction of Aloy.

Another concept art showed her as more of a fantasy warrior type, looking as if she came right out of League of Legends. Just as a comparison to what they were working with before, you can check out the older concept art below.

Horizon Zero Dawn - Early Concept

Notice how she had the wild hair going on? Pretty cool. I would have loved to have seen how it would have blown in the wind with some top notch physics on display.

Also note that in the older concept art Aloy carried around an old Italian Beretta Laramie, which is an interesting weapon choice. It’s a shame they later removed guns from the game saying “no guns” for Aloy.

It would have been cool to at least have a limited amount of ammo so you only used the pistol during desperate times or against other humans.

Oh well.

Horizon: Zero Dawn is due for release on February 28th at the end of the month, exclusively for the PS4 and PS4 Pro.

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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • BubbaHoTep

    I figured that Nathan Drake or maybe Ratchet and Clank made better mascots, but I guess Guerrilla feels Aloy is much more memorable (virtue signal?). I’ll reserve full judgment for when it comes out, but from what I’ve seen so far it looks like they fell into the same ‘progressive’ trap as many others have; strong and independent woman = bland and one dimensional with no defining traits other than she does stuff that guys do too.

    On top of that, she’s rather visually bland as well, like the character from Heavenly Sword but less dynamic and vibrant. Looking at this concept art, she seemed so much more interesting before the final design (particularly the second one from the left in my opinion).


  • Disqusted

    Meh. I really can’t stand Aloy, everything about her looks and sounds annoying to me. Aside from that trailer where all her dialogue consisted of “I can do this”, I dunno if it’s because she has one of those “punchable” faces, or because she kinda looks like Tintin if he ran into the wilds and became an Indian Amazoness.

    I skimmed through the video looking for the concept designs to see if they looked better, and couldn’t find it. All I found were the devs constantly going on about “story”, “story” and “story”. That rings alarm bells in my mind.

    Not interested in the story, I’m more interested in gameplay. This is probably just me, but when I see all those ridiculously detailed visuals, the first thing I think of is “But how can we interact with those detailed landscapes, etc? Are they just there to look at and traverse over?”

    The whole thing very much gives me the impression of “we’re making an interactive movie” more than “we’re making a game”.

  • Fear Me I Am Free

    We don’t even know if it will be good yet. From what I’ve heard the gameplay is vastly different from the E3 premier gameplay and not for the better.

  • durka durka

    Like the character from Heavenly Sword?

    Sorry i couldnt resist.

    • The one concept pic of Aloy did remind me a lot of Heavenly Sword, yeah.

      • durka durka

        Which was reused in enslaved.

    • Disqusted

      Can’t stand how that girl looks. I wish we could get more Asian female protagonists who actually look attractive by Asian standards. If there are even any games like that now. Can’t think of any.

  • LurkerJK

    I am sure she will stand tall along side other remarkable heros like Jason Brody, Steven Pearce, Alex Mason, Alex Mercer, James Heller, Ajay Ghale, Nick Mendoza, Rico Rodríguez, Aveline de Grandpré, Connor Kenway, Edward Kenway, Jacob Frye, Evie Frye, Grayson and so many other highly memorable characters that i totally did not have to google to write this

    • The reality is that if they try to push her too hard as “Look at the strong female protagonist! She’s feminist friendly and powerful and real!” they’ll lose all their normal customers. Same thing happened with Faith from Mirror’s Edge.

      Instead of being a cool parkour artist who delivered packages and let players embody her by giving her a cool adventure with cool levels like the first game, they muddied their own concept by making a story so overbearing it couldn’t get out of its own way. They tried making Faith this “special” person who had to save the city of glass, with everybody giving her the “You can do it!” speech just like in the new Tomb Raider.

      I cringed.

      • Disqusted

        I’ve said this before, but I think if a female needs to keep telling herself “I can do it”, then she is not strong. It also speaks volumes about how they write their female characters. “She’s so damn unconfident that she needs to reassure herself every 2 seconds, and nothing else crosses her mind.”

        I haven’t looked at Catalyst (because it sounded like shit from the moment they announced it), but that sounds awful. I’m so tired of the “you are the chosen one, you are the hero” cliche. At least the original game had her as a somewhat regular person who got pulled into a big conspiracy. Though even that was such a damn mess. You’d think they’d learn and drop the whole story nonsense, but no.

        I think what should make the player feel like a hero is what they accomplish through their own actions and achievements, not what’s decided by following a predetermined narrative.

        • At least the original game had her as a somewhat regular person who got pulled into a big conspiracy. Though even that was such a damn mess.

          THANK YOU! Yes, this exactly. Faith was just a person delivering packages who got Mario’d into saving her sister. Why couldn’t that have been ME: Catalyst?! They ruined a potential mascot by turning her into another diva in distress. When she started getting the Tomb Raider “You can do it” speeches from everyone I just face-palmed all the way to the credits.

          I think what should make the player feel like a hero is what they accomplish through their own actions and achievements, not what’s decided by following a predetermined narrative.

          THANK YOU! This has always been what defined heroes in gaming media. Link, Mario, Samus, Kirby… they didn’t have awful narratives giving them “You can do it!” speeches from a bunch of annoying characters. They tried it once with Samus in Other M and it was the worst Metroid story in the history of the franchise.

    • Disqusted

      Mercer is the only name there that I recognize, and I hated that game.

      • LurkerJK

        You have protagonists from 2x Far crys, 3x Asscreeds, 1x call of duty, 1x battlefield, 2x Prototype, Watch Dogs and Order 1886

        Mercer maybe wasnt as forgettable as the others, they kept screaming his name the entire game

    • BubbaHoTep

      Don’t forget Aiden Pearce and his ‘iconic cap’.

      • LurkerJK

        lol, I intended to put mr generic and his iconic cap but it seems that his name did not remain in my mind long enough to change tabs from wikipedia to disqus and became “steven”

  • ptitty

    As much as I am excited for this game, Horizon Zero Dawn is going to have to blow everything out of the water for Aloy to be the new Playstation mascot. The devs are coming off a bit too arrogant to make that claim. But if it does ends up being beyond amazing and goes above any expectations, then maybe it is possible. Until I play it Im not holding my breath.

    • I’m beginning to worry…

      We’re hearing more about how she’s a strong, independent, powerful character we’re going to love and not about the strong, cool, unique weapons you can acquire and use.

      So far I think they’ve showcased like three weapons. They mentioned that Aloy wouldn’t get guns (and obviously they had intended her to use guns at some point given the early designs) so they removed some weapons they intended for her to use… and they haven’t shown off much of the other weapons. I’m just worried this is going to be a six to eight hour game stretched to 20 hours with a lot of filler quests and repetitive combat. I hope I’m wrong, but they just haven’t talked much about the actual gameplay other than what they’ve showcased at E3/GamesCom.

      • LurkerJK

        I don’t understand why they are not focusing the marketing on the dino robots, they are the selling point of the game and the only reason i remembered the name of the game after E3

        Who gives a crap about a protagonist in an open world game anyway ? they are usually bland as fuck

        • I don’t understand why they are not focusing the marketing on the dino robots, they are the selling point of the game

          You would think the robosaurs/dinomechs would be the focus of all the marketing right? Like, you could get kids and adults alike to just go head over heels for Horizon by saying: Look at this cool robo T-Rex! Here’s how he eats!

          Instead they’ve tried veering away from even calling them robosaurs (HORRIBLE marketing move right there). They’ve been the least centered on element of the lore and marketing and we really don’t know much about their attack patterns, living conditions, etc. You’re absolutely right about that, though… they seem to be doing the marketing arse backwards.

          So its going to be like every open world game ever made, yep

          As for the 20 hour filler quests… I actually went back and started playing Sleeping Dogs again. That game has some of the most generically fun filler quests in an open world game. It helps that the fighting is fun, unlocking new clothes/weapons/items is fun, and the parkour, chase scenes, mini-games are fun.

          So far in Horizon, they haven’t showed us much gameplay other than Aloy climbing rocks, riding a robosaur and using a few scant weapons. It’s going to be rough if they try to fill out 20 hours with such limited gameplay appeal.

          • LurkerJK

            I enjoyed Sleeping dogs quite a bit myself, but if i had to point out an open world where i enjoyed the filler the most it would be Driver San Fransisco, i just got a kick out of possessing a car driver and freaking out the passengers

          • Inquiring

            The lack of focus on robosaurs makes it seem like they might not be in the game that much at all.

            Hell, what they have revealed of the story makes it look like other humans will be far and away the primary enemies of the game.

          • What you say could be true… so far they seem to be really focusing the narrative on the bad humans being the primary antagonists, which would be a huge letdown. Oh I hope you’re wrong, though, but a gut feeling is telling me that you may be right.

            We’ll find out at the end of the month.

          • Disqusted

            This game would probably sell like hotcakes if the dinobots were the focus, or even the playable protagonists. Assuming the game wouldn’t still be about rock climbing and shooting the same few weapons over and over.

          • Disqusted

            Yeah, when I do talk to people about this game (and that isn’t often), the dinobots are what grabbed their attention.

            Climbing rocks, eh? Hell yeah, sounds real fun. Not. Maybe if it controls like GIRP, but they won’t do that because all their budget went into animating the climbing so that it doesn’t break immersion and ruin the STORY.

        • Disqusted

          I hate being a predefined protagonist in an open/huge world. Especially if it’s a protagonist I don’t even like. Feels like a huge waste and an immediate turnoff.

          Maybe they don’t market the dino robots because they don’t want to get sued by Zoids.

      • ptitty

        And that’s what worries me; I dont care that she’s a strong, independent ~~~woman~~~ character. I just want good gameplay, lore, and story. Her being a woman (which tbh is the whole reason why the devs are pushing her so much) is is not important to me. Yare yare, if this ends up being the No Man’s Sky of 2017….

        • It’s all marketing spiel to appeal to the raving online SJWs. The tiny minority of loud people who don’t buy video games.

          We’ve seen a lot of games take to trying to appeal heavily to these people while limiting or removing gameplay in the process or tailoring the lore around feminist talking points. I couldn’t believe how dull they made Assassin’s Creed Syndicate coming off of Rogue, Black Flag and AC III. The amount of content they removed to dumb everything down and make it more casual was just disgusting.

          I don’t think Horizon will end up like No Man’s Sky, but if there’s not enough depth to the gameplay it could end up like a lot of other recent AAA titles that were quickly thrown to the side by consumers.

          • Disqusted

            Yet another example of stupid companies focusing their marketing entirely on non-customers who will never buy their product, while shitting on their loyal fanbase.

            Have to wonder if that kind of stupidity is Soros’ plan to destroy capitalism by having businesses implode themselves in the stupidest way possible.

        • Disqusted

          I like playing as a female protagonist, but no female protagonist can save a shitty game. No male protagonist can save a shitty game, either. As far as I can think of.

          People nowadays don’t seem to make comics, games or movies for the sake of bettering the media. They just use those platforms to push personal agenda and politics.

          Never mind the fact that most people enjoyed comics, games or movies specifically to get away from that shit.

          • durka durka

            If you typed that comment in dualshockers people will attack you claiming you bash this game cuz its a playstation title.

      • Disqusted

        I only watched a little of the reveal trailer, and already got that impression. It’ll be sad as hell if my initial impression still turns out to be correct.

    • durka durka

      It will end up like infamous second son, forgotten.