Guerrilla Explains Horizon: Zero Dawn’s Title, Says Team & Engine Strength Were Keys To Make the Game

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Guerrilla, Sony's internal development team based in the Netherlands, finally got industry-wide recognition with Horizon: Zero Dawn. Launched a couple weeks ago, it was very well received by both gamers (it already sold 2.6 million units) and press (we rated it 9.5/10, check the review by Chris to find out why).

This afternoon, a few Guerrilla developers agreed to answer questions on r/horizon's AMA. There were several interesting questions and answers, of which we've highlighted a few. To begin with, the title got explained:

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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.

Furthermore, according to the game's Lead Quest Designer the strength of the game engine and the team at Guerrilla were the keys to make the game (it was the first open world action RPG made by the studio).

How difficult was it for the team to transition from making a shooter game like Killzone to making such a stellar open world game like Horizon? I just want to say I absolutely loved the game, and it is now in my top 5 favorite games of all time, your team hit it out of the park with this one, the entire Horizon world was so addictive and fun. Cheers.

David – Lead Quest Designer

In a word – Very! 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. We didn’t have any HZD books, movies, prior games, or any other example to look at to tell us what a quest in this game was supposed to look like. We had to find that ourselves. What we did was focus on telling great stories, from the main quest all the way down through errands, and focus on integrating the game mechanics like traversal and combat in a satisfying way. The strength of the game engine, and the strength of the team here at Guerrilla was the key to being able to make this game. I’m beyond pleased by how it turned out, and blown away by what we were able to accomplish given the challenges that faced us.

On the storyline front, Guerrilla's Lead Writer on Horizon: Zero Dawn confirmed that the Old Ones are inspired by robots and automated warfare in the real world and that the game is a cautionary tale from Guerrilla, even though technology is also very useful while playing as Aloy.


Were the old ones inspired by any real life companies or technologies? And do you think the fate of the old ones is inevitable in the real world? I took it as a "don't play God" kind of message and would like to know if it was intentional!

Ben – Lead Writer

The story of the Old Ones is very much inspired by the emergence of robots and automated warfare in our own time. We do view it as a cautionary tale, but on the other hand, technology plays a hugely positive role in our game, as well.

Other interesting tidbits were that Guerrilla's record playtime to achieve the Platinum trophy is 21 hours, in case you're looking to beat it. A few members of the QA crew commented that mount riding, balancing quest content versus world content and random encounters were among the most difficult aspects to get right.

Are you playing Horizon: Zero Dawn and if so, what's your opinion of the game? Let us know below.

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