e3 2016

Horizon Zero Dawn

Everything We Learned During E3 2016
by Jeff Marchiafava on Jun 15, 2016 at 02:10 PM
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Guerrilla Games
Release:
Rating: Teen
Platform: PlayStation 4

We had a lot of fun during our hands-on session with Horizon Zero Dawn yesterday, but we were also furiously taking notes about everything we saw. Here's our full list of all the observations we made during our time with the game.

If you've been following Horizon Zero Dawn's development closely, some of this information may be familiar to you already. If so, feel free to erase those bullet points in your mind, or read our hands-on preview for all new impressions.

  • Horizon Zero Dawn takes place 1,000 years in the future, with some Internet sleuths pegging a post-apocalyptic Colorado as the location.
  • Aloy is considered a tribal outcast, and heads out into the larger world to discover the origins of her people.
  • All of the machine-like animals in Horizon are hostile towards humans, but it wasn't always that way. Figuring out why the machines have become aggressive is another mystery that Aloy intends to solve while exploring the world.
  • Corrupted machines are particularly hostile towards humans, and have red glowing lights and emanate a strange black smoke.
  • A special enemy type can corrupt other machines and make them more hostile towards you. These enemies are appropriately called corruptors.
  • Unlike the people of her tribe, Aloy is not superstitious; while most humans believe the corrupted machines are evil and that only the goddess can save them, Aloy believes there must be a scientific explanation.
  • One of the villages Aloy visits is called Mother's Crown, a heavily fortified settlement containing various NPCs that will offer her side missions.
  • Horizon features its own economy; traders will sell Aloy new weapons and gear for shards, which are collected from defeated machines.
  • Horizon also features a dialogue wheel, allowing you to choose Aloy's reaction to certain NPCs and pry for more information during conversations.
  • Based on the map that Guerrilla pulled up during the demo, the size of Horizon's open world is massive.
  • Weapons have multiple ammo types, such as fire, cryo, and electricity shots, as well as modification sockets. Mods can be collected from defeated machines as well.
  • Aloy can acquire new outfits which offer various passive abilities, as well as additional mod slots.

  • Guerrilla games has created a "robotic ecology," and each machine type has its own behaviors and purpose in the world. For example, shell walkers are crab-like machines that carry around cargo boxes on their backs.
  • Aloy has a focus scan ability that allows her to tag enemies. It also reveals an enemy's level, what components they are made of, what weapons they are equipped with, and any vulnerabilities they may have.
  • Horizon's stealth system takes sight and sound into account, which is conveyed by an eye icon at the top of the screen. Enemies will track you to your last known location, so breaking line-of-sight is vital to getting away.
  • Horizon's robust crafting system incorporates synthetic items collected from enemies as well as organic items found in nature. You can craft items on the fly straight from your weapon wheel.
  • Aloy has the ability to override certain machines. Some of these passive machines can be mounted, while others will fight by your side. Aloy can unlock the ability to override additional machines, which plays into Horizon's extensive progression systems.
  • While Aloy has been shown primarily using a bow in demos thus far, Guerrilla says it's only one of a number of weapon types, and that it's possible to play without even having a bow equipped.
  • Aloy has three skill trees  Prowler, Brave, and Forager  which each contain a number of unlockable skills.
  • The demo featured a considerable amount of destructible items in the environment. During the fight with the corruptor, the machine's boulder-launching attack was splintering trees to pieces and flattening entire shacks.  
  • Each machine has its own weapons and behaviors in combat, requiring you to tailor your tactics to the type of enemy you're facing. Thankfully, each of Aloy's weapons and items also has its own unique abilities, giving you a wide swath of tactics to employ during combat. Bringing up the weapon wheel slows down time, allowing you to switch between weapons, tools, and items as the situation dictates.

For more on Horizon Zero Dawn, check out the big takeaways from our hands-on demo (seriously we're not going to tell you again!).