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What Horizon Zero Dawn's Title Actually Means

Horizon Zero Dawn is a good game. Horizon Zero Dawn is also a title that has nothing to do with nomadic hunter-gatherers, the ruins of a long-lost civilization, or mechanical dinosaurs.

So, what gives? A few days ago, many of the people behind Guerrilla Games' open-world RPG took to Reddit's Horizon forum for a brief Ask Me Anything thread and revealed some of the game's biggest mysteries, including where the heck that name came from. According to lead writer Ben McCaw, "For us, 'horizon' represents a boundless new world, and also the passage of time (where the Sun rises and sets) that is so fundamental to the setting and story."


As for the Zero Dawn part? Well, apparently, that's a spoiler. Sorry.

The team at Guerrilla also shared a number of behind-the-scene anecdotes and provided a number of insights into the game's development. Previously, Guerrilla was the studio responsible for making the PlayStation-exclusive Killzone series, and lead quest designer David Ford says that transitioning from a shooter to an open-world game like Horizon was very difficult. "We had to build a quest system from the ground up, and then we had to figure out what quests in Horizon Zero Dawn even look like," Ford says. Ford notes that, since Horizon is an original intellectual property, designers couldn't turn to books, comics, or movies for inspiration, and credits the Guerrilla's talented team with the game's ultimate success.


To create Horizon's menagerie of mechanical beasts, Guerrilla's designers looked at real-world animals and matched their behaviors with the machines that most closely resembled their personalities. Each machine took about two to three weeks to design on paper, and principal machine designer Dennis Zopfi says that the overall look of the game's mechanical wildlife didn't really click until they designed the T-Rex-like Thunderjaw, which was the first machine that the team completed.

If you're a Horizon Zero Dawn fan—and, really, how could you not be—there are plenty of other interesting tidbits over on Reddit, so it's probably worth setting some time aside this weekend to go through the whole thing (if you've finished the game, at least—while it's mostly safe, a few of the questions contain some mild spoilers).