Horizon: Zero Dawn‘s developers release a new video showing the road traveled from making FPS Killzone to an action RPG set in a sprawling open world.
Guerrilla Games, the studio behind Horizon: Zero Dawn has released a video in which the team talks about the journey from creating first-person shooter Killzone to making an open-world action RPG. In the video, the team talks honestly about some of the challenges they have faced in the past five years, but also express confidence in the game they are almost done making.
Horizon: Zero Dawn is slated to come out on February 28th and anticipation for the sprawling game is high. In it, the players guide tough female protagonist Aloy while she scavenges for parts, negotiates with savage tribes, and destroys robotic dinosaurs. The game promises to be part exploration, part survival, and chock-full of action; in the video Hermen Hulst, managing director of Guerrilla Games, calls it “the single most ambitious project [the studio] has ever taken on.”
Just looking at the trailers for Horizon: Zero Dawn that have come out so far shows the ambition of the studio: it’s gorgeously designed, with wide open landscapes as far as the eye can see. The core of the game, and the starting point for the developers, however, is and was combat. In Hulst’s words, “our background tends to be that of a first-person shooter developer … so logically when we start making this open-world action RPG it’s filled with what we’re good at and that is intense combat.”
That it will be intense can be seen in the video: much like in Killzone, players will be able to enjoy a hit-reaction system in which players can shoot specific bits off their enemies. For example, if a particular piece of armor plating is preventing a kill, one well-aimed shot will get rid of it so players can concentrate on the machinery underneath. This should give the gameplay of Horizon: Zero Dawn something not often seen in RPGs before, according to the studio.
The other aspects of making an RPG were more of a challenge, says art director Jan-Bart van Beek “It wasn’t an easy transition going from Killzone to Horizon … we went from something we knew very well to something we knew very little about initially and it’s been five years of learning how these games work, how these systems work, how the design of it works.” No easy feat for a studio specialized in shooters, but Guerrilla Games for the first time in its history hired story writers and quest designers to help them with that aspect, to hopefully good effect.
One lucky break for Guerrilla Games was that they were able to adapt their Decima engine, which they used to develop Killzone, to the open world of its new game. Though it was quite the investment in time and effort, the studio thinks that they will be able to add something to the game that hasn’t been seen before in an RPG. That fans are excited by this is proven by Horizon: Zero Dawn already going gold three weeks before release: the end product we will be able to see by the end of the month.
Horizon: Zero Dawn will be available exclusively on PlayStation 4 starting February 28, 2017.