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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. 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.


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.


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.


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.


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. Thunderjaws have no elemental weaknesses, and are resistant to Shock.

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.


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 Chillwater canisters, Blaze canisters, or power cells 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.


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
Cannon Burst (Side to Side) Short 176 Ranged 20m - 100m
Disc Launcher Homing Short 317 Ranged 20m - 100m
Disc Launcher Barrage Short 317 Ranged 20m - 100m
Disc Launcher 360 Medium 317 Ranged 5m - 25m
Laser Sweep Medium 317 Ranged

130 Ranged overtime

25m - 55m
Laser Blast Short 317 Ranged 25m - 70m
Charge Medium 417 Melee

Crushed.png Crushed 50

20m - 100m
Bite Attack Short 352 Melee 11m - 28m
Rushing Bite Attack Short 352 Melee 0m - 18m
Foot Stomp Short 352 Melee

Crushed.png Crushed 50

0m - 7m
Tail Swipe Short 417 Melee

Crushed.png Crushed 50

17m - 44m
Tail Slam Medium 352 Melee

Crushed.png Crushed 50

17m - 44m


Horizon Zero Dawn

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

Horizon Forbidden West


Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Forbidden West


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

  • Thunderjaw
  • Apex Thunderjaw

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]


  • 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, 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]



Concept art


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