Horizon Zero Dawn story arc (Spoilers)
What an incredible game Guerrilla Games has delivered to us; right from the beginning to the end the cinematic experience of the story is truly a sight to behold. The story leaves enough mystery for the player to continue on their journey to discover what had happened to the old world, and why things were the way they were with machines roaming the wilds.
Aloy is the main protagonist; born an outcast of the Nora tribe she grows up to then join the tribe and seek answers to her birth. Later on in the story it is shown that she was created by a program (Gaia) left behind by the Old Ones: civilization before Aloy’s time had died off and life re-started on planet earth, so the Old Ones are basically us. The program saw a rogue element taking control of things and attempting to exterminate all life as part of its programming, so you were created to stop it.
Throughout your journey you discover that humanity had automated military robots that ended up going rogue and that we had to fight a war in order to buy time – time to start project Zero Dawn. This project would not save us from extinction, but rather use machines to re-populate the earth and to re-seed life in order to re-start everything. Humanity was going to go extinct, but perhaps after we die life would re-start and things would continue on from there. Vast data archives would be collected, and people would learn of our world, our achievements, and our mistakes (and how not to repeat them). The AI was given free reign on what designs it needed to re-seed life on the earth, and re-populate the planet (it could manufacture what it needed as it needed it).
Afterwards you set off to defeat the rogue AI known as Hades; this program was originally designed to wipe clean the slate if the biosphere was not constructed properly to allow for life to flourish – instead it awoke and began to exterminate life for the sake of exterminating life. After numerous problems and puzzles you defeat Hades and the world is saved.
You find out that the professor in charge of the project (Zero Dawn) did not survive, and that she sacrificed herself for the cause (she sealed herself outside of the AI core bunker and proceeded to wander into the wastes; the main defensive door was not closing properly and had to be manually closed from the outside) – after the final boss battle you ride off into the wilds and find her armoured body near the ruins of her old home, resting peacefully on a couch. The game then ends and you are given a small tease of a possible sequel after the credits (this is to be expected) as Hades, even though technically purged, is released and taken prisoner by a character that had helped you through your journeys as he seeks answers as to who woke Hades – why was he awoken and what were their aims.
The game does an excellent job at showing us a world in which humanity died off and was reborn; the earth is pure and untouched, and yet the old world’s violent practices still linger as humanity lives in a state of tribalism where war and hardship are a common norm. The game seems to take place around the Mid-Western United States as you do not seem to encounter any sort of large bodies of water; though let us be honest I watched the game movie rather than played the game (I cannot afford a PS4 presently so this will have to suffice). Thus I have not encountered large bodies of water in the game movie, but that does not mean they do not exist.
The areas covered seem to range from the rocky mountains to somewhere near Utah – vast open fields and ruins dot the landscape and it is up to you to explore it all. The in-game art is wonderful, and the ruins seem to feel natural; the rocky mountains that the ruins were built into have slowly started to swallow up the artificial environments and you see this as there are numerous cave ins and natural rock formations inside the ruins.
The story was a touching tale of discovery and sacrifice (what we left behind for the future while knowing what would happen to us); a grim reminder that when all hope is seemingly lost that life will carry on and begin anew. What we do today will affect tomorrow, and even though we will not live to see the future unfold at least we laid out the foundation for it to happen. Apologies if the piece feels a bit rushed, the game contains so much to cover that it would be best if you experienced it via the game movie – this blog piece was simply a quick summary of events to perhaps draw your attention. Below is the link to the game movie; happy hunting folks and I shall see you next time.
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