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


Jul 30, 2007

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 sandbox environment and how this differs from the intensely focused FPS world of Helghan in their legendary Killzone series.
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.