Horizon Zero Dawn’s open world looks absolutely fantastic

Setting the mood for all that robo-murder

Horizon Zero Dawn developer Guerrilla Games has spent a lot of time making experiences that are, in some ways, the exact opposite of Horizon. The studio is best known for the Killzone games, first-person shooters that are mostly linear in nature. Horizon Zero Dawn is its first crack at an open-world game.

This new video from Guerrilla shines a light on some of the difficulties and opportunities that an open world presented. “When we were making Killzone, we were making linear levels, we had very tight control,” art director Jan-Bart Van Beek says in the video. “That’s very different from an open world where the player has a lot more freedom to approach things the way that they want to see it. We had to start looking at the world from a 360 (degree) point of view, maybe looking at all the different directions that the player could approach, how things would look, how the vistas would look, all these different aspects.”

More than just taking player freedom into consideration, Guerrilla wants to make the different parts of Horizon Zero Dawn feel unique. We get glimpses of the desert and mountain “eco-topes,” as well as the forest one that was shown at E3. Van Beek explains that these will have their own weather tendencies that introduce new challenges to feats the player routinely accomplishes in other eco-topes.

Of course, a two-minute video can’t give us a good sense of how well the different environments and weather patterns work. But, it can give the impression that Horizon Zero Dawn‘s world seems absolutely fantastic. Shooting robo-dinosaurs looks neat and all, but playing virtual tourist might be more incredible.

Brett Makedonski
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