Horizon Zero Dawn almost looks to be just another open world RPG, albeit with robotic dinosaurs roaming around. However, developer Guerilla Games has finally demoed gameplay from the game; which shows a promising game involving a mecha T-rex with leg mounted mortars and lasers for teeth.
The story of Horizon takes place on the planet Earth, some 1000 years after the fall of mankind. Guerilla stopped short of providing any additional details about the world, saying that discovery the history forms part of the narrative. All that is known is that humanity is no longer the dominant species and lives in small tribes. At the centre of the story is a machine hunter by the name of Aloy.
Unlike other post apocalyptic games, Horizon Zero Dawn features a substantially different look to it. Instead of the bleak outlook now common with games like the Fallout series and Mad Max, Horizon uses a warmer colour palette. Colours are brighter, and the environment filled with plants and animals. This feels less like a post-apocalyptic world and more like a fantasy setting instead. It is because of this that senior producer Mark Norris says that the setting is often referred to as post-post-apocalyptic.
As if common with open world RPGs, Horizon has character customisation elements and a crafting system. Guerilla’s twist is that they are setting enemy encounters to always work against the protagonist. Aloy will constantly be outnumbered or outgunned, and must use a variety of cunning tricks and traps to defeat enemies. This was demonstrated during a closed door session which set Aloy against a Thunderjaw; which happens to be a Tyrannosaur-like monstrosity armed with mortars and lasers. Sadly, we were not allowed to take pictures of the demonstration.
The demonstration showed a variety of ammo types that can be used to cripple foes to set them up for the kill. It also showed that weapons can be knocked off enemies and used against them, particularly noticeable when Aloy destroyed the mortar mount on the Thunderjaw and picked up the massive artillery piece.
That being said, the HUD makes the game looks substantially like Skyrim. Mostly due to the design of the compass and the experience bar at the top of the display. Guerilla did not show other menus or screens during the demo, but did demonstrate a quick-craft function for simple items.
Horizon Zero Dawn is currently in the pre-alpha stage, which explained the less than stellar graphics during the demo. However, Guerilla Games is pushing for a 2016 release for the game; which is extremely ambitious to say the least.