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The Bristleback is a machine in Horizon Forbidden West.


Bristlebacks were originally designed by the terraforming AI called GAIA. During the Derangement, HEPHAESTUS rewrote their programming to become hostile towards humans.

As a result of Ulvund's reckless and unauthorized mining, a cavern opened up beneath a pen of Bristlebacks kept by Regalla's Rebels. These Bristlebacks escaped in a stampede into The Daunt, resulting in massive collateral damage and delaying an upcoming Embassy with the Tenakth.


The Bristleback resembles a large warthog. The head of the machine is boar like, with a binocular array of eight optical sensors, two panels above the back of the head resembling ears, and two metallic protrusions at the front, resembling tusks, ahead of the mouth, which contains two circular saws as the machine’s mouth. The back is lined with armor plating, save for one opening that serves as a place to mount the machine, and on its rear end is two elemental canisters, either with Blaze or Acid, depending on the variant. It appears to have elemental lines running under its belly, connecting to the canisters on its rear.


Found in herds of two or four, Bristlebacks will become highly aggressive when threatened.

An idle Bristleback will periodically sniff out buried resources before digging them up with their tusks. This salvage, which is unearthed in round containers, generally carry Metal Shards but occasionally includes Metal Ingots.


As a mount, the Bristleback is bulky but powerful, having over twice the health of a Charger in its normal state. They will utilize their tusks as weapons and charge with great force.[1] They can use their grinder disks to their advantage, grinding up pieces of scrap or earth and putting it in their mouth before covering it with blaze or acid to ram or throw at enemies. When overridden, it is mountable by humans.


Name Windup Time Damage Residual Damage Area Trigger Range Description
Tusk Smash Short/Medium
  • Initial: 127 Melee
  • Follow-up: 76 Ranged, Fire-Icon.png/Corruption-Icon.png 76 buildup
- 3m - 13m
Hoof Thrust Very Short 137 Melee - 2m - 8m
Reverse Snout Swing Short/Medium 137 Melee - 3m - 9m
Snout Swing Short 180 Melee - 4m - 15m
Snout Bash Combo Short/Medium 180 Melee - 0m - 6m
Spewing Twist Kick Very Short
  • Kick: 180 Melee, Fire-Icon.png/Corruption-Icon.png 180
  • Spit: Fire-Icon.png/Corruption-Icon.png 89 buildup
Fire-Icon.png/Corruption-Icon.png 10/s buildup 0m - 7m
Wreckage Rush Medium/Long 180 Melee

Fire-Icon.png/Corruption-Icon.png 180

Fire-Icon.png/Corruption-Icon.png 89 buildup

Fire-Icon.png/Corruption-Icon.png 5/s

Fire-Icon.png/Corruption-Icon.png 10/s buildup

14m - 47m
Charge Medium 137 Melee - 14m - 47m


There are a total of four Bristleback variants that can be cataloged.

Variant Weakness Strength
Acid Bristleback Shock-Icon.png Shock

Corruption-Icon.png Acid

Fire Bristleback Shock-Icon.png Shock Fire-Icon.png Fire
Apex Acid Bristleback Purgewater Icon.png Purgewater Corruption-Icon.png Acid
Apex Fire Bristleback Freeze-Icon.png Frost Fire-Icon.png Fire


Name Variant Image Description Attributes
Body All Hard outer casing to protect synthetic muscle and operational systems. None
Tusks All Metal tusks used to dig up natural resources. Detach or destroy both to disable its more damaging attacks
  • Detachable
  • Attack Removal
  • Destroyed When Killed
  • Key Upgrade Resource
Grinder Discs All Razor-sharp, circular blades used to dig up valuable underground resources.
  • Detachable
  • Ability Removal
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed
Acid Canister Acid/Apex Acid Metalbite storage. Tear off to collect this resource or shoot with an Acid Arrow to detonate.
  • Chain Reaction
  • Detachable
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed
Blaze Canister Fire/Apex Fire
  • Chain Reaction
  • Detachable
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed



  • This is the fourth Forbidden West machine to be named. However, this is the first to be given a classification.
  • Bristlebacks are one of only three machines (the others being Glinthawks and Chargers) to resemble a creature which is definitively not extinct during the in-universe present, namely the boar.



Horizon Zero Dawn
Acquisition Class Broadhead - Charger - Fireclaw - Frostclaw - Glinthawk - Grazer - Lancehorn - Rockbreaker - Scrapper - Snapmaw - Strider - Trampler
Chariot Class Corruptor - Deathbringer - Metal Devil
Combat Class Ravager - Sawtooth - Scorcher - Stalker - Stormbird - Thunderjaw
Communication Class Tallneck
Recon Class Longleg - Watcher (Redeye Watcher)
Transport Class Behemoth - Bellowback - Shell-Walker
Unknown Class Control Tower
Horizon Forbidden West
Acquisition Class Bristleback - Clamberjaw - Fanghorn - Plowhorn - Scrounger - Spikesnout - Sunwing - Tideripper - Widemaw
Combat Class Clawstrider - Dreadwing - Grimhorn - Shellsnapper - Slaughterspine - Slitherfang - Specter - Specter Prime - Tremortusk
Recon Class Burrower - Skydrifter
Transport Class Leaplasher - Rollerback