Horizon Zero Dawn is an action role-playing video game developed by Guerrilla Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 4. The game was released worldwide in 2017.
The plot revolves around Aloy, a hunter and archer living in a world overrun by robots. Having been an outcast her whole life, she sets out to discover the dangers that kept her sheltered. The character makes use of ranged and melee weapons as well as stealth tactics to combat the mechanised creatures, whose remains can also be looted for resources. A skill tree facilitates gameplay improvements. The game features an open world environment for Aloy to explore, divided into tribes that hold side quests to undertake, while the main story guides her throughout the whole world.
Development began in 2011, with game director Mathijs de Jonge considering it “the most risky” idea of those that were pitched at the time. The concept explores the contrast between the beauty and danger of the game’s setting. Guerrilla Games emphasises trial and error as the basis for playing the game, choosing not to implement a tutorial. The game engine, Decima, was previously engineered for Killzone Shadow Fall and altered for Horizon Zero Dawn, the first new intellectual property (IP) developed by Guerrilla Games since Killzone in 2004, and also the studio’s first attempt at developing a role-playing game.
Horizon Zero Dawn received positive reviews from critics, who praised the open world, story, visuals, combat mechanics, enemy designs, and the character of Aloy, whilst giving some criticism for inconsistencies to facial animations. As of March 2017, over 2.6 million copies of the game have been sold, making it the best-selling new first party IP launch on the PS4 system to date.