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"That thing is huge; and built to fight."
Aloy, upon sighting a Thunderjaw

The Thunderjaw is a machine in Horizon Zero Dawn and a returning machine in Horizon Forbidden West and Horizon Call of the Mountain. It is a large Combat Class machine, one of the two largest machines of this class (the other machine being the Tremortusk). Its size, power, and array of heavily damaging weapons make it one of the most feared of all machines.

History[]

Horizon Zero Dawn[]

Unlike the Zero Dawn terraforming machines, which were designed and controlled by GAIA, the Thunderjaw was designed by the AI HEPHAESTUS, which had seized control of the Cauldron facilities and begun aggressive countermeasures to the human practice of machine hunting. Thunderjaws are one of the most extreme examples of HEPHAESTUS' escalating attempts to cull the human population, a phenomenon known to the tribes as the Derangement.

The Carja hunter Ahsis, a Hawk of the Hunters Lodge, is the first known hunter to have killed a Thunderjaw. After the huge machine destroyed the Carja freehold of Morning Light, Ahsis tracked, found and engaged it, narrowly defeating it by using its own Disc Launchers against it. As the largest and most powerful machine ever successfully hunted in the Lodge’s history up to that time, the kill elevated him to the rank of Sunhawk.[1] The body of this Thunderjaw was later retrieved, and is now kept on display in the center of the Lodge.

His achievement was eventually topped by the successful hunt of another Thunderjaw. Known as Redmaw, this Thunderjaw had for years slaughtered every hunter who had attempted to kill it, earning it legendary status among Carja hunters. Eventually, Redmaw was killed by Hawk Talanah Khane Padish and her Thrush Aloy.

The Eclipse was able to corrupt at least two Thunderjaws, one of which was used to track Prince Itamen and Queen Nasadi after their defection from the Shadow Carja, and the second of which was used to raid The Embrace.

The Frozen Wilds[]

HEPHAESTUS also produced Daemonic Thunderjaws, albeit sparingly. When Aloy and her companions, Aratak and Ourea, attempted to breach the Cauldron EPSILON facility, HEPHAESTUS deployed one to guard the entrance. In the end, however, it proved no match for them and was destroyed.

Horizon Forbidden West[]

Alongside their regular variants, Aloy encountered exceptionally powerful Apex Thunderjaws in the Forbidden West, killing one at the entrance to Thebes.

During the final assault on the Far Zenith base, Beta managed to inject HEPHAESTUS into the Zenith printer matrix, allowing it to unleash an army of Thunderjaws and other large Combat machines that engaged a Specter swarm.

Appearance[]

The Thunderjaw is a huge bipedal machine with features akin to those of a Tyrannosaurus Rex: powerful and bulky legs, a long body, and a heavy tail to maintain equilibrium. Its body features symmetrical weaponry: a laser weapon in its mouth, cannons on its jaws, a radar array on its back, and Disc Launchers on its hips.

Behavior[]

Like most large machines, Thunderjaws are found alone. A pair can be found together protecting a herd of Lancehorns in the Glarebreak, west of Free Heap.

When undisturbed, Thunderjaws mill about their respective sites, their footfalls an early warning to anyone wandering too close. They are so massive that they can knock over trees just by walking into them.

Abilities[]

The Thunderjaw’s huge size, power, array of weapons, and capacity to sustain damage make it one of the most formidable machines. It employs a variety of powerful melee and ranged attacks.

Additionally, its radar scanner allows quick detection of hunters hiding in tall grass. Unlike that of a Scrapper, which is able to detect only movement, the Thunderjaw’s radar can detect humans regardless of their motion. In Horizon Zero Dawn, Thunderjaws have no elemental weaknesses, and are resistant to Shock. In Horizon Forbidden West, both Thunderjaw variants are resistant to Shock and Frost damage, with the Apex variant having resistances to every element but Acid.

While it is unconfirmed, Thunderjaws can supposedly hear a bow shot. While most machines would investigate where the shot landed, a Thunderjaw will investigate where the shot originated from.

Weaknesses[]

A Thunderjaw's major structural weaknesses are its heart and data nexus; ranged weapon strikes on either cause significant damage once they are exposed. Similarly, landing a shot of the corresponding element on exposed elemental canisters will induce their status effects. Its mandibular cannons, disc launchers, tail and radar unit can all be removed with enough Tear damage, disabling their corresponding abilities entirely.

In Horizon Forbidden West, both variants are weak to Acid, and inflicting the Corroding state will make it easier to access its main weak spots.

Attacks[]

Horizon Zero Dawn[]

Melee attacks[]
Name Primary Damage Secondary Damage Trigger Range Description
Bite Attack 250 - 11m - 17m Snaps at enemy with mandibles
Charge 275 - 20m - 80m Charges and rams enemy
Foot Stomp 290 50 0m - 7m Stamps on enemy
Rushing Bite Attack 250 - 18m - 33m Charges and snaps at enemy
Tail Slam 300 - 6m - 16m Vertical bludgeon attack with tail
Tail Swipe 300 - 17m - 27m Spinning bludgeon attack with tail
Ranged attacks[]
Name Damage Type Primary Damage Secondary Damage Trigger Range Description
Disc Launcher - 360 Attack Explosion 130 - 5m - 25m Discs strike in a circle around chassis
Disc Launcher - Barrage Explosion 130 - 20m - 80m Discs strike in a barrage
Disc Launcher - Homing Explosion 130 - 20m - 80m Discs track enemy
Laser Sweep Laser 200 130 per second 25m - 60m Fan-shaped spread of laser beams
Cannon Burst - Lead Up Projectile 60 - 20m - 80m Rapid-fire mandibular cannon shots; head sweeps laterally
Cannon Burst - Side to Side Projectile 60 - 20m - 80m Rapid-fire mandibular cannon shots; cannons repeatedly fire left and right

Horizon Forbidden West[]

Name Windup Time Damage Trigger Range Description
Cannon Burst (Lead Up) Short 176 Ranged 20m - 100m Uses Rapidfire Cannons to fire a stream of projectiles starting at the ground in front of target before moving up to it.
Cannon Burst (Side to Side) Short 176 Ranged 20m - 100m Uses Rapidfire Cannons to fire projectiles in a sweeping horizontal motion
Disc Launcher Homing Short 317 Ranged 20m - 100m Launches a disc from each Disc Launcher that tracks target before crashing into the ground and exploding.
Disc Launcher Barrage Short 317 Ranged 20m - 100m Fires 12 discs from Disc Launchers in a sequential barrage.
Disc Launcher 360 Medium 317 Ranged 5m - 25m Launches an array of 6 discs in a defensive 360o formation.
Laser Sweep Medium 317 Ranged

130 Ranged overtime

25m - 55m Fan-shaped spread of 9 laser beams. Only triggers if Thunderjaw is below 40% HP.

Attack disabled when Drenched.

Laser Blast Short 317 Ranged 25m - 70m Gathers energy in mouth and fires an orb shaped laser blast.

Attack disabled when Drenched.

Charge Medium 417 Melee

Crushed Crushed 50

20m - 100m Lowers head and charges at full speed.

Attack disabled when Slowed.

Bite Attack Short 352 Melee 11m - 28m Pulls head back and thrusts forward while biting at target.

Desperation Attack

Rushing Bite Attack Short 352 Melee 0m - 18m Lunges diagonally at a 45o angle while biting.

Desperation Attack

Foot Stomp Short 352 Melee

Crushed Crushed 50

0m - 7m Series of up to 3 foot stomps that alternate between legs. Each stomp creates a Tremor effect.
Tail Swipe Short 417 Melee

Crushed Crushed 50

17m - 44m Rotates 180o and uses its momentum to swipe with its tail.
Tail Slam Medium 352 Melee

Crushed Crushed 50

17m - 44m Lifts tail and slams it on the ground. Impact creates a Tremor effect.

Components[]

Horizon Zero Dawn[]

Image: Component: Information: Weakness: Strength:
Thunderjaw-Body Body Hard outer casing to protect synthetic muscle and operational systems. None Shock-Icon Shock
Thunderjaw-BlazeCanister Blaze Canister Shooting this canister with Fire arrows will trigger an elemental explosion. Shoot off this component to collect Blaze. Fire-Icon Fire
Tear-Icon Tear
None
Thunderjaw-DataNexus Data Nexus Hitting this component deals greater damage to the machine. All None
Thunderjaw-DiscLauncher Disc Launcher This heavy weapon can be picked up and used after it has been detached from the machine. Tear-Icon Tear None
Thunderjaw-FreezeCanister Freeze Canister Shooting this canister with Freeze arrows will trigger an elemental explosion. Chillwater can be looted from this canister. Freeze-Icon Freeze
Tear-Icon Tear
None
Thunderjaw-Heart Heart Hitting this component deals greater damage to the machine. All None
Thunderjaw-PowerCell Power Cell Shooting this component with Shock arrows will trigger an elemental explosion. Sparker can be looted from this component. Shock-Icon Shock
Tear-Icon Tear
None
Thunderjaw-Radar Radar Destroying this component disables the scanning ability. Tear-Icon Tear None
Thunderjaw-Cannon Cannon Destroying these components disables Cannon attacks. Tear-Icon Tear None
Thunderjaw-Tail Tail Destroying this component disables the Tail attacks. Tear-Icon Tear None

Horizon Forbidden West[]

Name Variant Image Description Attributes
Body All Hard outer casing to protect synthetic muscle and operational systems. None
Data Nexus All Central processor. Especially vulnerable to damage if exposed.
  • Indestructible
  • Weak Spot
Rapidfire Cannon All Twin energy cannons that can quickly fire in horizontal or vertical blasts.
  • Detachable
  • Attack Removal
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed
Radar All Detection device. Emits a pulse that reveals enemies, including those in stealth, and scrambles Focus signals.
  • Detachable
  • Radar Removal
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed
Antenna All Signal transmitter used to call in machine reinforcements.
  • Detachable
  • Reinforcement Call Removal
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed
Heart All Internal core. Extremely vulnerable to damage if exposed.
  • Indestructible
  • Weak Spot
Chillwater Canister Standard Chillwater storage. Tear off to collect this resource or shoot with a Frost Arrow to detonate.
  • Chain Reaction
  • Detachable
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed
Acid Canister Apex 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
Disc Launcher All A powerful heavy weapon that can launch a barrage of hovering, explosive discs.
  • Detachable
  • Attack Removal
  • Persists When Killed
  • Useable Weapon
Glowblast Canister Standard Glowblast storage. Tear off to collect this resource or shoot with a Plasma Arrow to detonate.
  • Chain Reaction
  • Detachable
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed
Blaze Canister Apex 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
Ammo Drum All Large storage container for valuable resources. Tear off to collect its contents.
  • Detachable
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed
Sparker Standard Shock storage. Tear off to collect this resource or shoot with a Shock Arrow to detonate.
  • Chain Reaction
  • Detachable
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed
Purgewater Canister Apex Purgewater storage. Tear off to collect this resource or shoot with a Purgewater Arrow to detonate.
  • Chain Reaction
  • Detachable
  • Contains Valuable Resources
  • Destroyed When Killed
Tail All A large metal tail used as a primary melee weapon. Detach or destroy to disable tail attacks.
  • Detachable
  • Attack Removal
  • Destroyed When Killed
  • Key Upgrade Resource

Loot[]

Horizon Zero Dawn[]


Horizon Forbidden West[]

Body

Data Nexus

  • None

Rapidfire Cannon

Radar

Antenna

Heart

  • None

Chillwater Canister

Disc Launcher

Glowblast Canister

Ammo Drum

Sparker

Tail

Body

Data Nexus

  • None

Rapidfire Cannon

Radar

Antenna

Heart

  • None

Acid Canister

Disc Launcher

Blaze Canister

Ammo Drum

Purgewater Canister

Tail

Variants[]

In Horizon Forbidden West, there are two variants of the Thunderjaw.

Variant Weak Vs. Strong Vs.
Thunderjaw Very weak iconCorruption-Icon Acid

Weak iconPurgewater Icon Purgewater

Very strong iconFreeze-Icon Frost

Very strong iconShock-Icon Shock

Apex Thunderjaw Weak iconCorruption-Icon Acid Very strong iconFire-Icon Fire

Very strong iconFreeze-Icon Frost

Very strong iconPlasma Plasma

Strong iconPurgewater Icon Purgewater

Very strong iconShock-Icon Shock

Appearances in other media[]

The Thunderjaw appears in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart as an object dropped from another dimension into Ratchet & Clank's using the RYNO 8.[2]

Trivia[]

  • Although Thunderjaws are shown in the Embrace at the start of the game, their presence during Aloy's infancy would be nine years before they were first observed by the Carja. It seems likely that their appearance in this scene is non-canon, and only intended to showcase the prominent machines of the game.
  • According to game designer Mathijs de Jonge, Thunderjaws are 24 meters long and 9 meters tall.[3]
  • Thunderjaws are perhaps the most well-known machines in Horizon Zero Dawn. Aloy's battle against a Thunderjaw first showcased the game at E3 2015, a massive poster of one was draped on the side of a building in Los Angeles to advertise the game at E3 2016, and the game's box art depicts Aloy hunting one.
  • Thunderjaws (as of Horizon Zero Dawn) have 271 animations, 93 destructible armor plates, 12 unique attacks, 67 visual effects and 550,000 polygons.[4]
  • According to Hermen Hulst, the Thunderjaw was the first machine implemented in the game and was used to prototype the game's combat. The total development time took a year and a half.
  • Thunderjaws are more common compared to other large-sized machines.
  • When playing on Ultra Hard Difficulty in Zero Dawn, the Disc Launchers are made especially resistant to Tearblast Arrows, though other sources of Tear, such as the Tearblaster, will still deal the same amount.
  • During development, the Thunderjaw was referred to as the Raptor.[5]
  • If any Tremortusk sites are found before the Aether mission, the Tremortusk will be replaced by a Thunderjaw.
  • According to Special Item descriptions in Acquired Taste, Thunderjaw blood is "thick" and "viscous".

Gallery[]

In-game[]

Concept art[]

References[]

Machines
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
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