Horizon: Zero Dawn Preview – E3 2015

June 18, 2015

Though Sony’s press conference wasn’t short on surprises, one that really lingers with us is the reveal of Guerrilla’s new game – Horizon: Zero Dawn. Stepping away from their Killzone roots, Horizon signifies a new direction for Guerrilla, both in presentation and design. And we got to see some more Horizon in action, and hear from the team as to their overall vision.

Horizon is centred around Aloy, the girl seen in the trailers, who shares a sympathy towards the robots for reasons that’ll be elaborated at another date, while drawing themes from the film Nausicaa and the game Enslaved as points of inspiration. According to the team Aloy was part of the overall game’s vision right from the start, the game coming about from the Killzone team’s hunger to try something new and challenge themselves with a different direction from the latter’s famed corridor shooting. It’s quite a departure, as Horizon is fully open world, on an engine built from Killzone: Shadow Fall‘s.

Demonstrating the game for us the team explained Horizon is built on three pillars: a lush and beautiful post-post apocalyptic world, amazing machinery, and tactical combat. Coming from a tribe and faced with advanced machinery, much of the combat will require a tactical approach. The team took us through instances from the trailer, now played before us, showing a similar sequence of taking out the watcher robot before it could alert others, moving on to the stampede and T-Rex-like robot battle. Most of your equipment within the game will be primitive, the key in combat being to use your tools wisely. In the demo the team used an electric arrow to stun the robo T-Rex, then an armour perceiving ammo to break of its launcher. This allows you to pick up the launcher and use it against the enemy. Just like the trailer, the team demonstrated using rope arrows to tether opponents to the ground, immobilising them for easier shots at their weak spots

Much is going into Horizon that Guerrilla is tight lipped on, but what they’ve shown is promising. They’ve stated there are broader RPG elements in the game, and a story penned by Fallout: New Vegas writer John Gonzalez, both of these points we’re sure will be explored in the future. For now we’ll just have to enjoy what was shown, a gameplay demo the team insisted on having to reveal their game, and we couldn’t be more thankful for that.