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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/Corruption-Icon 76 buildup
- 3m - 13m Leaps at target and smashes snout into ground. If it misses, can follow-up by flinging rocks infused with Acid/Fire.

Acid/Fire damage disabled when Drenched.

Attack disabled when Slowed.

Desperation Attack.

Hoof Thrust Very Short 137 Melee - 2m - 8m Hops backward and unleashes a swift kick with its hind legs.
Reverse Snout Swing Short/Medium 137 Melee - 3m - 9m Swings snout left or right in 180o motion as it turns to face target. Often follows up with Snout Swing if it misses.
Snout Swing Short 180 Melee - 4m - 15m Swings snout while lunging diagonally left or right. Can follow up with a second swing in the opposite direction if it misses.
Snout Bash Combo Short/Medium 180 Melee - 0m - 6m Lunges at target while bashing with its snout. Can follow up with up to 2 more lunging bashes if it misses.
Spewing Twist Kick Very Short
  • Kick: 180 Melee, Fire-Icon/Corruption-Icon 180
  • Spit: Fire-Icon/Corruption-Icon 89 buildup
Fire-Icon/Corruption-Icon 10/s buildup 0m - 7m Spins 360o, kicking with hind legs and spewing Acid/Fire from its mouth. Leaves a residual Acid/Fire damage area around itself.

Acid/Fire disabled when Drenched.

Wreckage Rush Medium/Long 180 Melee

Fire-Icon/Corruption-Icon 180

Fire-Icon/Corruption-Icon 89 buildup

Fire-Icon/Corruption-Icon 5/s

Fire-Icon/Corruption-Icon 10/s buildup

14m - 47m Unearths scrap with its Tusks, infusing it with Acid/Fire before charging at target. Creates residual Acid/Fire damage areas in its wake.

Acid/Fire damage disabled when Drenched.

Attack disabled when Slowed.

Charge Medium 137 Melee - 14m - 47m Weaker version of Wreckage Rush if both Tusks are removed. Charges directly at target.

Attack disabled when Slowed.


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

Variant Weakness Strength
Acid Bristleback Very weak iconShock-Icon Shock

Strong iconCorruption-Icon Acid

Fire Bristleback Very weak iconShock-Icon Shock Strong iconFire-Icon Fire
Apex Acid Bristleback Very weak iconPurgewater Icon Purgewater Very strong iconCorruption-Icon Acid
Apex Fire Bristleback Very weak iconFreeze-Icon Frost Very strong iconFire-Icon 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 Blaze storage. Tear off to collect this resource or shoot with a Fire Arrow to detonate.
  • Chain Reaction
  • Detachable
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed




Grinder Discs

Blaze Canister


  • 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.
  • Bristlebacks can supply the player with infinite shards when overridden as when idle it periodically drops salvage pods which contain valuables and shards.



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 Bilegut - Bristleback - Clamberjaw - Fanghorn - Plowhorn - Scrounger - Spikesnout - Stingspawn - Sunwing - Tideripper - Waterwing - Widemaw
Combat Class Clawstrider - Dreadwing - Grimhorn - Shellsnapper - Slaughterspine - Slitherfang - Specter - Specter Prime - Tremortusk
Recon Class Burrower - Skydrifter
Transport Class Leaplasher - Rollerback
Unknown Class Defense Drone