The Watcher is a category of machine in Horizon Zero Dawn. The smallest known machines, Watchers are designed for reconnaissance. The machine exists in two models: a basic model and a slightly stronger upgraded variant.
While no information is currently available about when Watchers first appeared, it seems likely that they were one of the machines designed by GAIA to assist in terraforming, possibly by monitoring the conditions of flora and fauna. With the onset of the Derangement, the AI HEPHAESTUS altered the machines’ behavior in response to the human practice of machine hunting, giving Watchers the role of sentries against human hunters.
Watchers were the first machine encountered by the the Nora huntress Aloy when she was a child. At six years old, her guardian Rost showed them to her as part of teaching her how to hunt machines, as well as how to avoid them and ambush them from tall grass. She put this knowledge to good use, enhanced by the abilities of the Focus she had acquired, when she negotiated a path through a pack of them as they patrolled around a Strider herd to rescue a young Nora man named Teb.
As an adult, Aloy saw and encountered Watchers in every tribal territory she visited. This included their more powerful Daemonic states in the Banuk region known as a The Cut. She was able to dispatch them with aplomb. Even the more powerful Daemonic Watchers of The Cut proved to be no match for her when she eventually visited the region.
A Watcher resembles a small theropod dinosaur, possibly an alvarezsauroid due to their reduced forelimbs. Its chassis length is slightly greater than the height of an average adult human. Its most distinctive feature is its disproportionately large head which houses a highly sensitive ocular sensor array, all mounted on a long, flexible neck composed of synthetic muscle that allows for a wide field of vision. The Watcher's body primarily connects the neck and a flexible tail of similar design. An offset hip bearing is attached on either side of the body, each leading into a thin springboard leg. The head, body, and hips are covered with white armor plating.
Watchers are primarily deployed in groups around herds of small terraforming machines such as Striders, Grazers and Lancehorns. Each Watcher patrols a circuitous path around the herd, stopping at intervals to crane its neck vertically to its full length and optically scan the area. This allows the herd to work without having to stop and look out for threats. If a watcher detects and identifies a threat, it loudly sounds a warning, causing the herd to break and flee. Frequently Watchers are deployed in tandem with a combat machine such as a Sawtooth, which will immediately converge on the alerting Watcher’s position as a primary threat response.
However, even in the absence of a combat machine or if not protecting a herd, Watchers immediately and aggressively attack threats upon detection and identification. Most notably this includes any encountered human. Furthermore, their loud alert call summons any nearby, more dangerous machines, quickly escalating a battle.
In addition to reconnaissance, Watchers are also deployed as escorts for machine convoys bringing resources to Cauldrons.
Aside from their ability to detect and alert other machines to threats, Watchers utilize their numbers to flank and attack an enemy. Their basic attack is a melee in which they jump and throw themselves at the threat; their momentum can cause significant injury to any human they employ this attack against. They will also use their tails in a bludgeoning attack at close range. Additionally, they also employ a stun attack in which they emit an extremely bright flash from their optical sensor array, which blinds and disorients humans. This can be avoided by using the Shadow Stalwart armor. They are also capable of firing concussive energy projectiles.
Watchers are unarguably the weakest known machines. Despite their aggressiveness in confronting a perceived threat, they are not designed for combat. Their melee attacks are clumsy, easily avoidable and leave them highly vulnerable to counter-attacks. Their capacity to sustain damage is minimal. Indeed, they are easily struck down by a strong melee attack from an upgraded spear, and like all small machines, they can be ambushed and killed with a single Silent Strike or killed in battle with a single Critical Hit after sustaining previous damage. Burn states inflict enough damage to kill them before dissipating. However a pack of Watchers can cause difficulty for a hunter in combat against a larger, more aggressive machine, as their attacks become a significant distraction.
A Watcher’s optical sensor array or “eye” is its sole tactical weakness, and its size and position make it a highly vulnerable target as the Watcher charges forward. A single strike on it from a high-powered ranged weapon such as a Sharpshot Bow inflicts catastrophic damage, killing the Watcher immediately. A great way to approach them without being blinded is by equiping the Shadow Stalwart outfit.
|Name||Damage Type||Primary Damage||Trigger Range||Description|
|Blinding Stun Flash||Blinding||0||6m - 11m||Temporarily blinds and disorients human enemy with bright flash of light; ineffective against enemy machines|
|Energy Blast||Explosion||40||0m - 55m||Fires concussive energy projectile at enemy. Tends to only use if it cannot close to melee range|
|Head Strike||Melee||90||4m - 9m||Jumps at enemy using head as bludgeon; opportunity for immediate counter-attack from enemy should it miss|
|Jumping Smash||Melee||90||6m - 11m||Jumps at enemy using body as bludgeon; opportunity for immediate counter-attack from enemy should it miss|
|Tail Strike||Melee||100||2.5m - 6m||Short-range spinning bludgeon attack with tail|
|Body||Hard outer casing to protect synthetic muscle and operational systems.||Shock||None|
|Eye||Hitting this component deals greater damage to the machine.||All||None|
- Watchers are the first machines that Aloy encounters through her training with Rost when she is a child (thus the first machine type the player encounters).
|Acquisition Class||Bristleback - Broadhead - Charger - FireclawFW - FrostclawFW - Glinthawk - Grazer - Lancehorn - Rockbreaker - Scrapper - Snapmaw - Strider - Sunwing - Trampler|
|Combat Class||Clawstrider - Ravager - Sawtooth - ScorcherFW - Shellsnapper - Stalker - Stormbird - Thunderjaw - Tremortusk|
|Recon Class||Longleg - Watcher (Redeye Watcher)|
|Transport Class||Behemoth - Fire Bellowback - Freeze Bellowback - Shell-Walker|
|Chariot Class||Corruptor - Deathbringer - Metal Devil|
|Unknown Class||Control TowerFW|
|Other||Corrupted Machines - Daemonic MachinesFW - "New breed"|