Horizon Zero Dawn is a fantastic open world game of hostile robotic creatures and the remnants of humanity trying to find a way to stay alive. Throughout the game’s storyline and the dozens of side quests you’ll be exploring almost every inch of this amazing world.
Yet the world is so large and so full of content that there are a few things many fans miss. Interesting locations hiding in plain sight, easter eggs tucked away from the main trails, and the most powerful armor you’ll find in the game are out there waiting to be found.
10 Skeletal Couple
The creepiest hidden location on this list is the skeletal couple found in the south-west corner of the map. After climbing a Tallneck you can leap to a cliff face and at the tip you’ll find this macabre scene. It’s the ruins of a campsite and the skeletal remains of two individuals holding hands.
Its’ bad enough that they’re there, but the sounds of the rest of the world fade away and the tones of some eerie music and atmospheric noises kick in. It’s a stark reminder of the horrors people faced as the world ended hundreds of years ago.
9 US Air Force Academy Chapel
In the northern section of the game is a corrupted machine site located at a strange triangular building. Many fans will use the building as cover while fighting the corrupted beasts and not think twice about it.
It turns out the building exists in real life in Colorado Springs. It’s the chapel for the United States Air Force Academy. The part you see in the game is the main section known as the Protestant Chapel, in real-life there are multiple floors beneath with spaces for other faiths.
8 Horseshoe Bend
Near the great city of Meridian is a large river known as Greatrun River. It’s the same river the player explores to determine the source of all the Glinthawks in the area as part of the Hunter’s Lodge questline.
There’s an interesting bend in the river with a large geological formation on top that’s actually based on the real-life Horseshoe Bend found near Page, Arizona. If you can survive the Snapmaws in the area you’ll have the chance to explore this interesting site.
7 Death Stranded Dog Tags
Given Horizon Zero Dawn and Death Stranding are using the same game engine, the developers at Guerilla Games have included a reference to the strange upcoming game from Hideo Kojima. During the mission Grave Hoard players can explore the bunker to find a mysterious skeleton against the wall.
Located behind a tank before descending into the bunker is a lone figure wearing a familiar looking set of dog tags. When using the Focus it reveals that the dog tags are a collectible known as the Stranded Necklace, looks like Norman Reedus didn’t survive the events of his game.
6 Death Stranded Shackles
Another easter egg for the intriguing game is tucked away in the Zero Dawn bunker during the Deep Secrets Of The Earth quest. After getting the second holographic briefing players can duck into the next room and head left of the security booth to a small office. Through another door is another room full of refuse and the object you’re searching for.
On a small table is a set of cuffs with a glowing blue ring inside the bonds. It’s the same cuffs seen in the trailer for the game and serve as a collectible in this one.
5 Death Stranded Figure
The final hidden area for Death Stranding easter eggs is in Eleuthia-9 also known as the All-Mother bunker. It’s a place that can be found during the Heart of The Nora quest. At the entrance of the bunker there are a set of stairs on the other side of the lobby. Underneath the stairs is the last Death Stranded collectible, and by far the creepiest.
It’s the strange doll from the trailers with little pins stuck into one side of the head with the right leg missing. Why it’s here is anyone’s guess, but if you collect all three you can sell them to the Mysterious Boxes merchant in Meridian. In exchange you’ll get a very rare mod, some random items, and a pair of warm socks that seemingly have no other use than being sold to a merchant. Who knows maybe there’s a deeper secret related to these socks.
4 Red Rock Amphitheater
It’s understandable that most players probably wouldn’t have noticed this area their first time through. Located among the strangely shaped rocks are two Sawtooths and further along are a large number of machines to keep you running.
But it turns out those curved rocks and the stone steps are part of the real-life Red Rock Amphitheater. A naturally accruing acoustic phenomena where plays, concerts, and other forms of entertainment are held to this day to take advantage of the unique sound. It’s also pretty effective at amplifying the machine’s growls and the hiss of hydraulic pumps.
Among the islands on the east coast of the game is an interesting mystery located just beyond the borders of the game. In the ocean near what was once a stadium is a whirlpool churning lazily in the water.
Because it’s outside of the game’s borders it is impossible to interact with and fans that have kept a continual eye on it for hours haven’t seen any changes. Speculation has ranged from a glitch in the game to a convoluted conspiracy theory regarding the real-life area. Whoever built it likely did it for fun and is probably getting a kick out of the rampant speculation and wild theories.
2 Pikes Peak Range Riders Memorial
Another area located in the real-life Colorado Springs area is a set of statues tucked away in the forest of the game. Near the United States Air Force Academy Chapel are two statues of men on horseback, covered in vegetation and nestled within the trees.
It’s the Pikes Peak Range Riders Memorial meant to remember the Range Riders who explore the area of Pikes Peak. This monument dedicated to the explorers of our day is a fitting inclusion in a game mostly about exploration.
1 Cheyenne Mountain Nuclear Bunker
Probably the most interesting and most useful hidden area in the game is the Cheyenne Mountain Nuclear Bunker. Near the Nora Hunting Grounds is the crumbled ruins of a radio antennae and a deep hole in the ground. Jumping into the hole will land you in a small pool of water and the entrance to a mysterious bunker.
The bunker itself is a real-life location that has been the source of many conspiracy theories, in fact the TV show Stargate-SG1 set their headquarters in this complex. In the game it houses a long quest to find Power Cells to access the most powerful armor in the entire game, the Shadow Weaver.