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"The lesson will be taught in due time, Aloy. Until then, we wait."
This article contains heavy spoilers, and may reveal plot or quest information.

CYAN, an acronym for the Caldera of Yellowstone Analytic Nexus, is the governing artificial intelligence of Project Firebreak and a main character in Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds.



CYAN was created in the mid-21st century by Anita Sandoval, the lead programmer of Project Firebreak, an underground complex built to stabilize the Yellowstone Caldera and prevent it from erupting, for the purpose of operating the immense machine complex.[1] Like a smaller-scale GAIA, it was designed to be capable of limited emotions and empathy as well as perform its duties as a governing AI. These capabilities, however, were kept a close secret between Anita and Kenny Chau, the project director, as they were in direct violation of the Turing Act of 2044.

The Faro Plague

When the Faro Plague began to wipe out the world, CYAN was left to keep the facility running, hidden from the Swarm. It had one final, emotional conversation with Chau where he told CYAN to be strong and sleep, and that someday it would have to protect whoever was left. Before he left, it asked if he would stay with it while it began hibernation, afraid of being alone, which he gladly did.

New World

After reactivating, CYAN spent approximately eight centuries in total isolation, unaware of what had happened or what the state of the world beyond her facility's walls. It passed the time optimizing Firebreak's functions and solving Gaussian integer problems, but it was saddened by its solitude.

One day, while running from a Carja raid, a Banuk Shaman named Ourea stumbled into Firebreak's auxiliary control center. Needing repairs in its main facility, CYAN reached out to Ourea, asking her for aid. Once CYAN helped Ourea escape the Carja, the shaman brought the necessary equipment to Firebreak's main facility (which came to be known as Thunder's Drum to the Banuk) and followed CYAN's instructions to perform the repairs.

CYAN would be visited by Ourea many times after, and a powerful bond formed between human and machine. Through Ourea, CYAN learned about the Banuk, the changes in the surrounding geography, and Ourea's own struggles, all of which it listened to eagerly. Unsure as how to approach the Banuk's spirituality (Ourea's ignorance of Old World technology led her to believe CYAN was a spirit), CYAN did not share its true nature with Ourea.


Five years before the events of The Frozen Wilds, CYAN unexpectedly received a direct network connection request from what it thought were humans more advanced than the surrounding tribes. Eager to connect with technologically advanced humans, CYAN accepted the request. Instead, it was immediately bombarded with a flood of malicious code. The request had in fact come from the rogue AI HEPHAESTUS, which sought to commandeer the facility to build and operate a research and development cauldron at its location. The far more advanced AI had little trouble overcoming CYAN’s defenses, and swiftly overpowered and enslaved it. Many times CYAN tried to resist, but was forced into submission with little effort. It managed to reach out to Ourea, begging to be set free, before HEPHAESTUS cut off contact.

Thanks to Ourea enlisting the help of her brother Aratak and the formidable Nora Brave Aloy, HEPHAESTUS's control over CYAN was purged and its control over the Firebreak facility was cleared. Unfortunately, this cost Ourea her life, much to CYAN's sorrow. With control restored, CYAN triggered the self-destruction of Cauldron EPSILON and transferred itself to the auxiliary control center.

Having escaped the Cauldron's destruction, Aloy and Aratak came to CYAN. Doing its best to comfort the grieving Aratak, CYAN then proceeded to speak with Aloy. Deducing that Aloy possessed a higher understanding of the world than the Banuk, CYAN was able to discuss with Aloy like a colleague regarding the recent events. As Aloy departed, CYAN asked for her advice about how to approach the spirituality of the Banuk. Aloy advised her to tell the Banuk her true nature, to which CYAN agreed.

CYAN currently remains at the control center. In spite of its loss, CYAN is free to continue to maintain the Firebreak facility, which it proudly declares will still be able to prevent the Yellowstone Caldera from erupting for over 3,000 years in spite of damage incurred. If Aloy chooses, she can share her questions about the old world and experiences in the new one to CYAN, to which the AI will offer its insight.


"She's human... in all the ways that matter."
―Kenny Chau[2]

CYAN is a highly advanced AI that was designed to be capable of limited emotional response and rational decision-making. This allows it to make the right decisions while empathizing with the people she would have to protect when the time came.

CYAN can experience an array of emotions, including fear, loneliness, depression, grief, and joy. It expresses fear of being alone or "non-existent" but also quickly accepts what must be done. Its emotional capacity extends to empathy and a limited understanding of psychology.

The AI soon developed a close relationship with the Banuk Shaman Ourea when the two met, and after having been isolated for centuries from human contact soon developed a fond attachment to Ourea. When Ourea gave her life so that HEPHAESTUS's control over CYAN could be freed, the AI expressed sorrow over the loss of its dear friend, but also cherished its memories of their interactions and was grateful for her bravery.

CYAN's hologram display changes colors according to its emotional state; yellow when afraid, and lavender when in deep thought. Usually, like her acronym, her display is cyan.


AI Characters