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How Guerrilla Games are creating a new world with Horizon Zero Dawn

Learn how the Dutch studio evolved to build an expansive open world in this new video.

One of the most remarkable features of Horizon Zero Dawn, that has captured imaginations ever since the game was unveiled at E3 2015, is the vibrant, living world that Guerrilla Games have given us a glimpse of.

Here, two societies vie for control of a landscape that at first glance looks entirely familiar. Snow-capped mountains, lush green valleys, woodland and sprawling desert vistas promise a gaming playground that reflects the best our world has to offer; scratch the surface however, and it’s clear this is no longer “our” world to play in. Ancient ruins scatter the land, providing eerie flashbacks from the distant future to a crumbling remnant of the player’s reality, while a society of mechanized creatures enforce their dominance.

On a recent visit to Guerrilla Games’ canal side studios in Amsterdam, the team there gave us a tour of their forthcoming action-RPG – and provided some insight into how they’ve approached creating a vast, living world and how this differs from the intensely focused FPS world of Helghan in their legendary Killzone series.

In our play-through session, Game Director Mathjis De Jonge guided the way from initiating a quest from talking to Rost – a member of the Nora tribe who remains friendly to Aloy despite her outsider status – to hunting down a herd of machines to harvest parts from them, which then allow Aloy to create new, upgraded arrows.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

It’s a task that shows off the rocky, wooded landscape and allows Aloy to use the terrain to achieve her goals. Clifftops and outcrops can be used to spot prey, while the long grasses provide cover when she moves in to stalk the machines. Traps can be set amongst narrow mountain passes, then machines can be lured into them; it’s a strategy that has countless iterations in each part of the map, and something that promises great depth of gameplay when more of the tools, traps and areas are revealed.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Aside from how the player interacts with the world of Horizon Zero Dawn, it’s the natural feel of the machine’s ecology which really impressed. Herds of Grazers roamed, following their own instincts; startle them, and they’ll bolt or stampede, fleeing from danger – just as you’d expect to see on a nature documentary. The overall feel was one of a living, breathing world that has evolved in harmony with the machines – with humans being only a distant memory.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

You can experience this world for yourself when Horizon Zero Dawn launches in March 2017 – and check back soon for our next video focusing on Aloy and her place in our re-imagined future.

And to prepare for your first steps into this new world, you can now pre-order the digital version of Horizon Zero Dawn, as well as the Digital Deluxe Edition, featuring a digital art book, a dynamic PS4 theme and bonus in-game content. You’ll find both editions on PlayStation Store now.

21 Comments
3 Author replies

This is real nice to see the different places we can see in the game I can not wait to see my collection edition turn up next March

Are these screenshots from Pro or standard PS4? Please always tell us from now on so we know whether our game will actually look like that.

2.1

assume pro and you won’t be disappointed when it looks at little less pretty on a regular ps4.

It’s PS4 Pro… 0.32 on the video says it.

“Sandbox” is not a genre. So far Horizon’s open world seems empty and looks more like a glorified Monster Hunter, which I’m not interested in. I want ruins to explore, quests, stories. And I want a game that runs on PS4, not on PS4 Pro.

It runs on PS4 and is optimised for Pro. No games atm are Pro Exclusives so don’t get so worked up. It’s nice to let those of us that made the upgrade know what the differences are.

If you aren’t interested in Horizon then why comment? Games aren’t tailored to an individual. I would hope they are just made the way the developers want to make them.

3.2

Everything we have seen of this game before September 2016 was on PS4. This game clearly “runs” on PS4.

3.3

You’ll be getting all of this and a lot more!

(and every PS4 game works with both PS4 and PS4 Pro, so no worries there ;) )

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2

Hey Rhys Sutheran, I pre-ordered this a couple of days ago and was hoping we would get the theme on payment. Is there a way it could be released to the pre-orders earlier than release date?

I see your an ‘Online Content Producer’ for SCEE, so this is an opportunistic moment where I have to ask do you know what is going on with the Rock Band 4 entitlements.

5

love the killzone series and glad you guys are taking a risk trying something new and not a sequel. can’t wait for this game!

5.1

If Guerilla Games can pull this off, they have done what other studios have not and that is, proved they aren’t a one trick pony. And its looking promising they will pull it off :)

Bungie proved with Destiny they were a one trick pony with Halo. They even had a few titles before their success with Halo like Oni on PS2 and it was very mediocre. Guerilla are about to surpass them and do what Bungie could never. ^_^

And how about you tell us about why they started designing a “standard ubisoft-style open world game” with collectathlon checkboxes and mandatory TOWERS !?

These geniuses turned their most iconic creature design into a freaking walking tower…

AmorousBadger1 13 November, 2016 @ 02:17
6.1

So, you’re basically saying you AREN’T a little intrigued about a game that marries Far Cry/Assasin’s Creed to Shadow Of The Colossus?

And how about you tell us about why they started designing a “ubisoft-style open world game” with bog stardart collectathlon checkboxes and mandatory TOWERS !?

These geniuses turned their most iconic creature design into a freaking walking tower…

European_Gamer 12 November, 2016 @ 11:53
8

Horizon Zero Dawn is a pretty game on both PS4 and pro.
But the two consoles makes it important that you leave a small PS4 or PS4 Pro tag on any image or video.

The game looks cool but that was exactly what i thought of No man’s sky. So im gonna wait till i get to see more of this game.

9.1

There’s more to come soon, keep your eyes on the blog ;)

AmorousBadger1 13 November, 2016 @ 02:14
10

Not going to lie here, I am mainly excited about this game because I am old enough to remember ‘Zoids’ from the 80’s. Specifically, Grant Morrison’s comic script of said toy franchise.

I WANT A CHAOTIC CENTURY RPG man.
While they’re at it, give us a Zoids: New Century, VR Combat game too. $$$$

10.2

Oh man I used to LOVE Zoids! Didn’t know there was a comic series though, I’m going to have to look that up, cheers.

10.3

I don’t have to wait gorrilla is not known for downgrades never as naughty dog began something new what was uncharted was good not exactly as same as e3 showing was nearly the same in every detail just not exact as the CGI showing at e3 some very high rez details wasn’t the same was still a good action based franchise

This game hasn’t interested me that much yet, I do like Elder scrolls & Assassins creed which I think there is similarities. But I have not seen much of a interesting story nor a reason to go out and explore akin to Skyrim.
So far the gameplay from what I have seen is just about different ways on taking down robotic dinosaurs which is cool but can get dull quickly if that’s all there is to do.

Kinda liking the idea of Days Gone a little more especially if it has a The Last Of Us feel, with a Fallout 4 kinda world. But again apart from the e3 trailer shooting lots of zombies we have not seen much of that either.

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