Guerrilla on Creating Horizon’s Iconic Aloy and Keeping a Really High Level of Ambition for Quality’s Sake

Horizon Zero Dawn

With the initial sales data marking it as the best-selling new first-party IP launch on Sony's PlayStation 4, Horizon: Zero Dawn is undoubtedly Guerrilla's best work yet. It's unsurprising, then, to find them featured in an interview published by Glixel whose main theme was to find out how this game changed the Dutch studio.

Of particular interest was Aloy, Guerrilla's first iconic lead character (Killzone games had iconic enemies, but rather anonymous main characters). Managing Director Hermen Hulst said:

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It's actually something we thought about quite conscientiously. The enemies were the stars of the show in Killzone, and they have definitely become iconic, but it's still different to have a very iconic lead character in the game, and that's something that we really wanted to make as a studio – to have a character that people can relate to, that stands out, that can contribute to the outstanding family of PlayStation characters.

It was a huge goal for us to build a character who is fundamentally human in every aspect. That goes from Aloy being an outcast at birth, which really determines her behavior, to her still being kind and being a complex personality.

Art Director Michiel van der Leeuw added his own perspective on how Aloy was created and why she's popular among the general public as well as cosplayers.

Aloy had to be agile and athletic. She's an outcast but she's also brought up lovingly. There were so many elements we had to balance to make her the person she is. I like that people have picked up on her teeth being a bit crooked, her face being asymmetrical – I think people pick up on her imperfections because she's a real person.

Finally, veteran Narrative Director John Gonzalez explained why he's motivated to stay at Guerrilla after working on Horizon: Zero Dawn, instead of moving again (he worked on Fallout: New Vegas and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor before).

I've seen a lot of things and experienced a lot of things in the industry that would lead you to become cynical and disillusioned. I don't find that to be the case here. I feel like the level of ambition here is really high, but I don't feel like the ambition is high for external reasons, like wanting to be masters of the universe. It's high because people really care about the quality of the product. I just feel like I don't want to step away from that, you know? This is a place where I can improve myself, can bring myself to the work. I want to stay as close to that as I can.

In our review, Chris rated the game 9.5/10 and praised it for being an exceptionally designed open world action RPG. Needless to say, we're eager to see where Guerrilla goes next with the franchise, starting with the newly announced story expansion.

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