Is this the next big PS4 exclusive? Here's everything we know so far about Guerilla's Horizon Zero Dawn
Step aside, No Man’s Sky; Horizon Zero Dawn is officially the PS4’s new poster child, as it just got a swanky new gameplay trailer specifically designed to showcase the 4K HDR capabilities of Sony’s brand-new PS4 Pro console.
You’ll need a 4K screen to appreciate the trailer below in all its glory, but needless to say it looks absolutely stunning whatever resolution you’re using. If developer Guerilla Games weren’t already renowned for its stunning landscape design, then Horizon Zero Dawn’s new footage would definitely put them at the top of the list of the most visually stunning jaw-dropping vistas.
The trailer also reveals some brand-new gameplay aspects. As you can see in the trailer, heroine Aloy will indeed be able to climb and scale those mighty robotic dino-giraffes that first appeared in earlier pieces of footage. Once she’s safely thrown herself up to the top of these huge creatures, it looks like she’ll be able to hack their circuits to reveal a wider scetion of the map, adding additional sidequests and points of interest to her known landscape.
The trailer sadly cuts off before we see anything else of note, but it’s certainly whet our appetite for what’s to come next year. With that in mind, here’s everything else we know about the game so far:
Horizon Zero Dawn is easily one of the PS4’s most hotly anticipated exclusives, and we can’t wait to get our hands on it. The bad news is that it’s now been delayed until the 3rd March 2017 in the UK, after an original release date slated for some time this year.
“It wasn’t an easy choice to make,” Guerilla said on the PlayStation Blog. “We know many of you have been anxious to play the game since we first announced it. However, we also want to ensure that Horizon Zero Dawn lives up to the visuals and gameplay quality that our games are known for. The new date affords us the extra time required to deliver fully on our ambitious vision for Horizon Zero Dawn.
“We realise that this decision may not please everyone. At the same time, we’re confident that the advantages of the additional development time afforded by the new date will become clear in the coming months, as we start to share more cool details and videos from Horizon Zero Dawn.
“We really, really appreciate your patience and continued support, and look forward to bringing you the best game we possibly can in March 2017.”
First unveiled at E3 2015, Horizon Zero Dawn is a third-person action RPG where players take the role of Aloy, a young hunter who’s trying to find her place in a world that’s been terrorised by huge robotic monsters. This isn’t your typical post-apocalyptic wasteland, though, as Guerilla’s lush, verdant landscapes are almost more evocative of pre-historic times than anything else. Except, you know, with giant metal-plated dinosaurs stomping about the place instead of scaly reptiles – if you remember Zoids from the 80s you’re on the right track.
E3 2016 gameplay trailer
E3 2016’s PlayStation keynote gave us another big slice of Horizon Zero Dawn gameplay and we know have a much better idea of the structure of the game. In short, it looks a bit like Far Cry, with a map of the large open world area being accessible at any time. That screen also keeps track of quests, so expect to have multiple objectives at once.
Whether the majority of the game is as expansive as Far Cry Primal or more focused like the modern Tomb Raider titles remains to be seen, but it’s certainly sitting in that spectrum. There are conversations, too, with various response options, so it could be even lean more to an action RPG-type experience.
What we’ve seen is certainly loaded with triggered, scripted encounters rather than being simply emergent gameplay. The T-Rex appearance in the first demo, a man running away from a ‘corrupted’ dino and the main encounter in this demo are all set-piece affairs.
That battle, and the game in general, makes regular use of Aloy’s Focus Scan ability, which allows her to identify the weak spots on her enemies and to see what goodies can be scavenged from them. Such items can be built into useful devices such as traps, ammo and upgrades.
The main encounter here is with a Corruptor, a machine that can turn the usually animal-like dinos (which are largely benign, or as benign as a dangerous animal can be) into something hellbent on destruction. The fight is great stuff, with Aloy using the robot’s weakness to fire against it. It’s particularly pleasing to see buildings being smashed to pieces by the Corruptor’s attack.
There looks to be no shortage of gameplay mechanics on offer, though. Alongside the crafting and upgrades provided by scavenging, and the stealth and hunting showed in the earlier demo, here we see Aloy pin down a cow-like creature and then reprogramme it to become a mount, which she rides to the next encounter and can call up mid-battle to make her more mobile as she fights. And it looks far slicker and better thought out than other horseback fighting efforts, such as The Witcher 3. A few more neat ideas like that and Horizon Zero Dawn should be something truly special.
Gameplay and story trailer
The upside of a delayed release date announcement, however, is that we got a brand new trailer to go along with it, which you can view in full below. Here, we learn more about Aloy’s backstory and how she was made an outcast when she first joined her tribe as a young child. It also sets the scene for the dangers that lie beyond her village in The Valley, showing us tantalising glimpses of the so-called ‘World of the Old Ones’.
In terms of looks, the crumbling, overgrown skyscrapers aren’t too dissimilar from Ninja Theory’s Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, but those huge robo-dinos are sure to pose devastating threats to Aloy’s safety as she travels from one ruin to the next in search of answers about her origins.
We also see her riding smaller cyber beasts like a horse, so expect there to be multiple ways to travel across this huge, open world landscape. However, for the most part, it looks like you’ll be spending most of your time taking down larger prey with Aloy’s bow and collecting various machine parts to upgrade her toolset even further.
Enemies can be taken down in a huge variety of ways, from traditional (albeit massively enhanced electrical) arrows, explosives and setting traps to melee takedowns and tripwires. There’s a certain hint of Monster Hunter to be found in the gameplay demos that have been released so far, and the one from E3 last year gives us our best idea yet about how fighting these incredibly large robo-dinos is going to play out.
Here, Aloy takes down a T-Rex-like beast known as Thunderjaw, taking advantage of the monster’s slow, lumbering pace to tether him to the ground, halting his movements. Then, a well-timed explosive arrow to hit home and send the beast tumbling. Whether these encounters will occur naturally in the world or be confined to mission set-pieces is currently unknown, but it certainly looks like you’ll be well-equipped to take them down exactly as you see fit.