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"The lesson will be taught in due time, Aloy. Until then, we wait."
This article contains heavy spoilers. Read ahead with caution.

"You're an ugly one, aren't you? No wonder you hide your face underground."
Aloy, upon sighting a Rockbreaker

The Rockbreaker is a machine in Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West. It is a large Acquisition Class machine, and one of the largest known machines, behind the Thunderjaw and Stormbird, respectively. Its main purpose is the underground mining of mineral resources, to make more machines. However with the onset of the Derangement, its huge size, power and subterranean ability have been turned toward attacking any human it senses walking the ground above it, ambushing the target with lethal results.


Rockbreakers were created by the Zero Dawn terraforming system’s governing artificial intelligence (AI) GAIA as one of the machines designed for terraforming the Earth after it was left lifeless and sterile by the Faro Plague in the mid 21st century. However, after GAIA self-destructed, the AI HEPHAESTUS, formerly a subordinate function that manufactured machines under GAIA’s direction, gained control of five Zero Dawn cauldrons and the machines they produced, including Cauldron ZETA, which produced Rockbreakers. It altered the behavior of these cauldrons’ machines toward humans from docility to hostility.

The Nora huntress Aloy encountered Rockbreakers during her journeys in the Carja Sundom and environs, and in the Banuk region known as The Cut. At the Cut-Cliffs quarry, she investigated a series of gruesome deaths and discovered them to be the work of a Rockbreaker, which she engaged and killed when it attacked her. Assisting in the defection of the Carja prince Itamen and his mother Nasadi from the Shadow Carja, she was told of a Rockbreaker that prowled a gorge through which they had to pass during their escape from the Shadow Carja. She engaged and killed it before they arrived. She also encountered two Rockbreakers at a site in the Rustwash region. Finally, she encountered two Corrupted Rockbreakers at a corrupted zone east of the Sun Furrows Hunting Grounds, and hunted a Daemonic Rockbreaker dubbed "The Claws Beneath" in a remote valley in The Cut.

In the Forbidden West, a Rockbreaker along the Spinebreak spilt an Oseram delving expedition in half, ambushing and killing the rear half and collapsing the tunnel. Aloy would later investigate the location and destroy the Rockbreaker there, along with reopening the tunnel.


A Rockbreaker’s chassis closely resembles the body of a badger or a mole, though unlike these animals, it has a tail whose length is approximately one quarter of the length of its body. Its most prominent feature is a massive mouth, composed of an enormous roller-cone drill bit. Each cone is set in a hinged jaw. This configuration allows the bit, and therefore the mouth, to expand as needed. Twin optical sensor arrays are located in the same position on the head as a mole’s eyes. However, while a mole has very poor eyesight, a Rockbreaker’s optical sensors are fully functional. At the end of each of its four short, stout, powerful limbs is a large extremity called a digging arm that resembles an excavator’s shovel. Under the machine's belly are twin Blaze sacs, and twin exhaust ports are positioned atop the body at the base of the tail.


The Rockbreaker is built for underground mining operations, tunneling through rock and soil with its mouth, ingesting large quantities of rock, which it processes and extracts mineral resources from. It surfaces frequently to expel large boulders, presumably boulders of processed rock, from its mouth. During activity, it may form a mound of rubble on the surface containing resources that humans find useful. At intervals it rests on the surface for a short time, presumably to release accumulated exhaust, before descending underground again. The mineral resources that it extracts are presumably collected for transport to Cauldrons to manufacture new machine units. Post-derangement, it was also used as a means of area denial against human interlopers; when the one that Aloy killed in the gorge between the Branded Shore and Shadow Carja territory first appeared, the Shadow Carja allowed it to remain there to discourage the use of this gorge to access their territory.

Like all large machines, Rockbreakers are never found in groups of more than two. They are among the rarest machines to encounter in the wilds, seeming to be found primarily in mountainous or rocky terrain: with one notable exception, they have been observed only in arid regions.


A Rockbreaker’s most formidable ability is its subterranean capacity; it can emerge from the ground, attack, then immediately return underground to emerge and attack at another position entirely. This ability works in tandem with the speed at which it ambulates underground; a Rockbreaker “swims” through the ground below the surface with the ease of a shark swimming underwater. Thus it can repeatedly emerge, attack, return underground and change position at very high speed. The only indication of its location is the dust trail and rumbling sound that the ground produces when the machine is moving near the surface. Furthermore, the Rockbreaker’s subterranean ability makes putting it into an elemental state difficult, as it hinders the repeated strikes from elemental weapons needed to cause such a state. This is also the case with tying it down; by going underground, the Rockbreaker breaks any attached Ropecaster lines before full tie-down is achieved.

Rockbreakers are sensitive to sound. If a human walks or runs on ground under which a Rockbreaker is present, it will zero in on the sound and attack. If a projectile or energy weapon is fired, the Rockbreaker immediately zeroes in, not on the sound of the projectile or energy bolt striking, but on the sound of the weapon being fired. This includes the relatively quiet sound of a bow release.

Rockbreakers mainly employ melee attacks, most of which utilize their ability to emerge on the surface at high speed. However, they can also ambulate on the surface with surprising speed and are actually capable of overtaking an athletic human at full run. Additionally, they employ a ranged attack in which they hurl boulders from their mouths at an enemy.


Rockbreakers are more susceptible to Freeze attacks than other machines, although putting them in a Freeze state can be difficult as previously explained. They are reliant on their four digging arms for tunneling underground; removal of all four arms prevents them from going underground, thereby disabling all of their subterranean attacks, and reduces their surface speed to a slow, hopping crawl. Ranged weapon strikes on their exhaust ports inflict significant damage. Destruction of each fuel sac triggers a large explosion that will apply the burning effect. Finally, they are unable to dig under watercourses (likely a hardwired safety protocol); thus a hunter can move beyond all of their attacks save their ranged attacks by crossing a river.


Horizon Zero Dawn[]

Name Damage Type Primary Damage Secondary Damage Trigger Range Description
Leaping Crush Melee 250 - 0m - 15m (surface to submerged)
0m - 24m (submerged to surface)
0 - 30m (submerged to submerged)
Propels chassis out of ground and lands on enemy
Jaw Smash Melee 200 - 0m - 14m Lunging bite with jaws
Lunge Crush Melee 200 - 10m - 19 Springs forward and lands on enemy
Shark Bite Melee 200 - N/A Emerges vertically from ground to envelop enemy in jaws
Spinning Smash Melee 180 - 0m - 10m Rotating bludgeon attack with body
Rock Blast Explosion 50 per rock - 0m - 30m Hurls boulders horizontally from mouth at enemy
Rock Volcano Explosion 100 150 per rock N/A Hurls boulders vertically from mouth around body at the enemy

Horizon Forbidden West[]

Name Windup Time Stance Damage Damage Area Trigger Range Description
Dirt Jet Medium Grounded 50 Ranged - 0m - 30m Spews a torrent of rocks and debris in an arcing trajectory.
Dirt Volcano Long Burrowed 55 Ranged

Fire-Icon 55

Fire-Icon 55 buildup

Fire-Icon 10/s

Fire-Icon 10/s buildup

0m - 14m Erupts below target with upper half exposed and spits out burning rocks that rain down and create a Fire explosion on impact and residual Fire damage areas.

Fire damage disabled when Drenched.

Snap Bite Short Grounded


220 Melee - 10m - 29m Fast lunging bite.
Lunge Bite Medium Grounded


220 Melee - 0m - 10m Rears back and lunges toward target while biting as it moves along the surface.

Attack disabled when Slowed.

Spin Attack Short Grounded


220 Melee

Crushed Crushed 50

- 0m - 30m Spins 180o while swiping with its tail.
Jump Attack Short Grounded


275 Melee

Crushed Crushed 50

- 0m - 15m Dives at target when emerging from the ground.
Shark Bite Short Burrowed 275 Melee - 0m - 24m Angles body vertically and emerges below target while biting. Can do this up to three times in quick succession.


Horizon Zero Dawn[]

Component: Image: Information: Weakness: Strength:
Body Rockbreaker-Body Hard outer casing to protect synthetic muscle and operational systems. Freeze-Icon Freeze Fire-Icon Fire
Digging Arm Rockbreaker-DiggingArm Destroying these components disables the ability to burrow underground. Tear-Icon Tear None
Exhaust Port Rockbreaker-ExhaustPort Hitting this component deals greater damage to the machine. All None
Fuel Sac Rockbreaker-FuelSac Destroying this component disables the ranged elemental attack, and triggers an elemental explosion damaging anything in the area. All None

Horizon Forbidden West[]

Name Image Description Attributes
Body Hard outer casing to protect synthetic muscle and operational systems. None
Mining Claw Large, razor-sharp tunneling devices. Detach or destroy all four Claws to disable its ability to burrow underground.
  • Detachable
  • Ability Removal
  • Destroyed When Killed
  • Key Upgrade Resource
Blaze Sac Blaze storage. Destroy to disable Adhesive attacks or leave intact to add loot to the carcass.
  • Explosive
  • Attack Removal
  • Persists When Killed
  • Contains Resources If Intact
Resource Canister Storage canister for valuable resources. Tear off to collect its contents.
  • Detachable
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed
Exhaust Port Waste expulsion. Especially vulnerable to damage.
  • Indestructible
  • Weak Spot


Horizon Zero Dawn[]

Horizon Forbidden West[]


Variant Weak Vs. Strong Vs.
Rockbreaker Freeze-Icon Frost

Shock-Icon Shock

Fire-Icon Fire
Apex Rockbreaker Fire-Icon Fire Freeze-Icon Frost

Shock-Icon Shock


  • The Rockbreaker shares many similarities with the Diablos of the Monster Hunter franchise. Both have similar body shapes, methods of attack and movement, and a vulnerability to freezing/ice damage.
    • Coincidentally, it was announced during 2017 Paris Game Week that Horizon: Zero Dawn will have special collaboration with the CAPCOM series, suggesting that Aloy's appearance and Zero Dawn-themed equipment will be accessible via DLC on Monster Hunter World, exclusively on the PS4 release.
    • Th Rockbreaker is also similar to the Red Eye from the 2010 Xbox 360 Action, third-person shooter game, Lost Planet 2, in that they are both gigantic subterranean-like creatures and are also fought in desert-like area, additionally, the strategy of shooting at their weakpoints is very similar.
    • Another similarity the Rockbreaker has is with the 10th Colossus from the PlayStation 2 game, Shadow of The Colossus, another PlayStation-exclusive installment recently remade for PlayStation 4. As they both are subterranean serpentine-like creature with split lower jaw that attack in a similar manner. The weak point of both creatures is also on their lower back.
  • The Rockbreaker is the only large machine not involved in any part of the main quest in Horizon Zero Dawn.
  • Rockbreakers seem to be extremely rare; the only known Rockbreaker site is the one in the Rustwash region, which spawns 2 units at a time. Any Rockbreakers encountered beyond this site are one-time quest-specific occurrences. Similarly in the Horizon Forbidden West, they're only found within 2 sites in the Nevada desert and nowhere else with Breaking Even being the only quest that the machine is involved in.
  • Rockbreaker eyes have a wrench-like shape on them.
  • During development, the Rockbreaker was referred to as the Mole.[1]
  • Only 1 Rockbreaker is required to be killed in Horizon Forbidden West to advance the game, every other large machines (besides Specter Prime and Horus) have at least 2 mandatory encounters where they must be defeated to progress through the area.



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