Horizon Zero Dawn, Guerrilla Games’ brand new IP, is almost upon us. In a little over a month, players will be able to get their hands on this open-world adventure with robot dinosaurs. There’s much more to Horizon than just robot dinosaurs, though. Here are a few things to know about the game as we head towards launch.
In it’s entire history, Guerrilla Games has only ever created to IPs; Shellshock and Killzone. Only one of those IPs went on to become a key staple in Sony’s library. Indeed, between 2004 and 2013, Guerrilla had developed five Killzone games and nothing else. This is what makes Horizon Zero Dawn so exciting, it’s something brand new from a developer that has been so focused on a particular type of game for so long.
While Sony likes its franchises, they’re also good about giving their developers free reign to develop new IPs. Naughty Dog created two of the most celebrated video game franchises of all time (Uncharted and The Last of Us) thanks to Sony giving them the opportunity. It’s how Sony has been able to cultivate such a diverse lineup of games. Now, it’s Guerrilla Games’ chance to add another blockbuster IP to Sony’s library.
Killzone was a gritty first-person shooter set in beautifully detailed, but linear environments. While later games added in more color and offered more gameplay options, Killzone never had an open-world environment or a whole lot of lust vegetation. Essentially, Horizon and Killzone are direct opposites.
Horizon Zero Dawn is a third-person action role-playing game. Guerrilla trades in their signature gritty atmosphere for a lust, colorful post-apocalyptic world. Linear corridors have been replaced with a mysterious open-world just begging to be explored. There’s a big emphases on looting to find resources to craft new items. Players can tackle encounters how they want. While you can go in guns blazing, those who prefer a stealthier approach will have plenty of traps and tools to utilize.
The latest Horizon trailer dropped quite a surprise. While earlier trailers hinted at a Man vs. Nature type of story, the latest revealed this to not be the case. Aloy will embark on a journey to face off against a mysterious tribe of warriors capable of corrupting the different Machines. The threat is real, and Aloy must find a way to put an end to the threat before it changes her world. So, while the Machines will be a enemy type to fight, Aloy will face much more.
Of course, not everyone she faces will be adversaries. Aloy’s journey will put her in contact with a wide range of tribes that she can interact with. From them, players can accept sidequests that will further reveal more information about the mysterious world.
The PS4 Pro is somewhat of a mixed bag. Though most updated games now run well on the updated system, there’s no denying that the PS4 Pro doesn’t have a killer app. There just hasn’t been a game that really shows off what the more powerful hardware can do. Thankfully, Horizon Zero Dawn looks set to do just that.
Sony made it clear back at the PS4 Pro reveal that Horizon Zero Dawn will be a showcase for the system. A gorgeous demo showcasing the game running using a checkerboard technique to simulate 4K was shown off, and it was breathtaking. You’ll still need a 4KTV to get the most out of the game running on PS4 Pro, but those that do are likely in for a real treat. While it’s unknown what benefits 1080p owners will get out the game running on PS4 Pro, there’s no doubt that there will be visual improvements. Hopefully, Horizon Zero Dawn will be the game that makes the PS4 Pro a must have item.
Guerrilla’s Decima Engine is gaining quite the traction. It was the same engine that powered Killzone: Shadow Fall back in 2013, and is powering Horizon Zero Dawn. Decima was created with the tools to create artificial intelligence, physics, logic, and resources for creating entire worlds. On top of this, the engine is also compatible with 4K and HDR. While we got a snippet of this with Killzone: Shadow Fall’s enhanced AI and more open environments, Horizon Zero Dawn is set to show us what the engine can really so.
It isn’t just Guerrilla Games titles that are benefiting from Decima. Supermassive Games and Guerrilla Cambridge utilized the engine in their latest games, Until Dawn and RIGS respectively. Most exciting, however, is the fact that Hideo Kojima is using the engine in his upcoming game, Death Stranding. The future looks bright from Decima, and it will be interesting to see if other Sony studios adopt the engine. After all, Horizon Zero Dawn looks to be a great showcase for the technology.
Horizon Zero Dawn is out February 28 exclusively on PS4.