Horizon Zero Dawn is an open-world action role-playing video game developed by Guerrilla Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 4 in 2017. It was officially revealed at E3 2015 during Sony's press conference and is the first intellectual property created by Guerrilla Games since Killzone in 2004, as well as the developer's first foray into the role-playing genre. The game was subsequently released on Microsoft Windows in 2020.


Horizon Zero Dawn takes place in the 31st century, in a post-apocalyptic world where colossal machines dominate the land.[3][4] Human civilization has regressed to tribal societies of hunters and gatherers who survive in immense forests, imposing mountain ranges, and the atmospheric ruins of their ancestors – all while the machines become increasingly powerful. The player controls Aloy, a huntress who uses her speed, cunning, and agility to stay alive and protect her tribe against the force, size, and power of the machines.

The game features mystical and mythical elements.[5]



  • Horizon Zero Dawn features quest elements which includes the main story quests, national quests involving the tribes and also the side quests.
  • As a player progresses through the game, they are able to level up their character.
  • Aloy has three skill trees which are the Prowler, Brave, and Forager.
  • The foundation of combat in Horizon Zero Dawn is built upon the speed and cunning of Aloy versus the raw strength and size of the machines. In order to overcome a much larger and technologically superior enemy, Aloy must use all her knowledge, intelligence, and agility to survive each encounter.
  • Aloy has multiple hunting weapons at her disposal, including, but not limited to, medium to long range bows with various arrow types, melee spear, a Tripcaster, which remotely places tripwire traps between two horizontal points, and a Ropecaster, which fires lengths of rope to pin down and temporarily restrain machines.
  • Aloy can target individual key components on the machine's body for extra damage bonuses and weakening or disabling different attacks and abilities, like detachable enemy weapons which can be picked up and fired against them with limited ammo supply.
  • Stealth is also a central element of the game, comprised of a crouch system and sections of tall grass, which can be used to avoid visual detection completely or hide downed enemy bodies.
  • Guerilla Games has created a robotic ecosystem where each machine type has its own unique behaviors and purpose in the world of Horizon Zero Dawn.
  • Aloy has the ability to override hostile machines with her old-world technology. This will allow the player to mount certain quadrupedal machines such as the Broadhead and Strider, while others will fight by your side. 
  • The override feature has a progression system, allowing the player to extend maximum duration, repair damaged overriden machines, etc.
  • Aloy has an old-world device which provides a Focus scan ability. It shows the enemy's challenge level, elemental weakness, weapons they are equipped with, and the components they are constructed from. 
  • Aloy can swim in the game, but the player might encounter hostile machines in the water, like the Snapmaw
  • The world of Horizon Zero Dawn has its own economy and is heavily trade-based. 
  • There are two types of currency in the game: Metal Shards and Blaze. Shards are the common currency, whereas Blaze is more valuable and is acquired through hunting rarer and tougher machines.
  • The hunting of machines and harvesting of their parts is essential in the game as it provides important resources and components for food, crafting, and trading.
  • Aloy can also gather natural resources such as medicinal herbs to fill healing salves and roots to concoct protective potions.
  • Weapons and outfits are customizable and have slots for modifications.
  • Outfits have specific stats and weaknesses. Players will have to wear warmer outfits in colder regions.
  • Another aspect of machine combat includes detachable enemy weapons, such as the Disc Launchers of Thunderjaws; if a Thunderjaw's disc launchers are successfully detached, they can be used to deal heavy damage and quickly dispatch opposition.


The open world of Horizon Zero Dawn is dense, varied, and full of opportunities for exploration, as well as transitionally dynamic and seamless, due to day-night and weather system cycles, and a lack of loading screens. Guerrilla Games has stated that they are focusing on world density in particular, rather than size. Of the three known biomes—alpine, desert, and tundra—all are said to be explorable.

Special Editions

Digital Deluxe Edition

Digital Deluxe Edition



Collector's Edition

Collector's Edition


  • 9'' Aloy statue
  • Steelbook case including Horizon Zero Dawn PS4 game
  • The Art of Horizon Zero Dawn digital art book
  • Exclusive PS4 theme
  • 2 Outfits: Carja Storm Ranger outfit and Banuk Trailblazer outfit
  • 2 Bows: Carja Mighty Bow and Banuk Culling Bow


Complete Edition

Complete Edition


  • Horizon Zero Dawn PS4 game
  • The Frozen Wilds Expansion
  • The Art of Horizon Zero Dawn digital art book
  • PS4 Dynamic Theme
  • 2 Outfits: Carja Storm Ranger outfit and Banuk Trailblazer outfit
  • 2 Bows: Carja Mighty Bow and Banuk Culling Bow


  • Banuk Traveler Pack
  • Carja Trader Pack
  • Nora Keeper Pack


Horizon Zero Dawn was conceived in 2010.[6] Development began in 2011, after the release of Killzone 3.[7] Guerrilla Games announced that they were creating a new intellectual property, with 40 concept ideas created for the game. Among them was Horizon Zero Dawn, one to which the director Mathijs de Jonge called the "most risky."[8] The original concept has been described as "a pretty fresh mix of ingredients; the BBC nature documentary kind of feel, and then the sci-fi elements with the robots." Likewise, Guerilla sought a new main character, different from the male protagonists of the Killzone series.[9] When the concept was chosen, a team of 10-20 people started building prototypes for the game, with many of the prototypes' elements being included in the game. Roughly 20 unique stories were written, all exploring various concepts and character ideas. The story was written by John Gonzalez, the head writer of Fallout: New Vegas. Since the beginning of development, the various elements of the story remained intact.[8] Aloy was in the original pitch, and regarded as one of the game's three 'pillars,' the others being "gorgeous nature" and the machines.[5]

Early on, the game's combat bore a resemblance to the Killzone series. In fact, the M82 rifle was present in early builds of the game, being fired at robot dinosaurs. In the words of Hermen Hulst, this started to feel weird "very quickly," and the direction was changed in terms of combat.[10]

Guerrilla Games invested more of its staff into the development of Horizon Zero Dawn following the completion and release of Killzone: Shadow Fall.[11] More staff were hired, as the studio's experience mostly lay in FPS games.[5]

The game delves into the juxtaposition of the beauty and dangers of its world. More precisely, it considers the scenario of humanity's fall from grace and regression into hunter-gatherers, where the species is no longer "at the top of the life list."[8] Emphasis was given to a quest system; various acquirable items are spread throughout the world, used for crafting resources and replenishing health.[8] Horizon Zero Dawn is also completely devoid of tutorials, an implementation purposed for fostering trial and error solutions to the game's various obstacles.[12]

Horizon Zero Dawn was created with the engine used in Killzone: Shadow Fall; Guerrilla Games, however, felt that the purposing the engine for Horizon Zero Dawn was a technical challenge, with regard to loading and distances times.[8] The team also sought a simplistic user interface, avoiding overly-complex menus for features such as crafting. With Horizon Zero Dawn being Guerrilla Game's first venture into the role-playing genre, the developer sought assistance with design, art, and other technical fields to discover how elements of said genre work.[8][13]

Conceptual art of hunters and machines, as well as the name of the game code, surfaced on September 14, 2014.[14] Horizon Zero Dawn was officially unveiled during the press conference Sony at E3 2015, with a worldwide release, exclusively for PlayStation 4, being expected in 2016.[15] The game's release was then pushed back to 2017. Guerilla used the extra time for playtesting.[9]

Guerilla is open to books and comics based on the game being released.[5]





The reveal of Horizon Zero Dawn during E3 2015 received critical acclaim from the critics and received several awards, including "Best Original Game" awarded by the panel of judges Game Critics Awards (2015 and 2016).[16] The game received "generally favorable" reviews from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic, scoring 89/100.[17] Most critics praised the visual aesthetics and the depth of the story, while Slant users voted it the best action RPG for PS4 and agreed the game has an intriguing world and offers exciting hunting gameplay.[18]

The Microsoft Windows version, which released on August 7, 2020, received similarly high praise, though issues with the port were apparent and a common thread throughout reviews, including the player reception on Steam.


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