In our interview with Guerrilla Games Lead Concept Artist Roland Ijzermans (going live very soon), he explained the motivation behind doing something so different from Killzone:
This came from within the studio. When we were making… at the end of Killzone 3, the company said, ‘Okay. Everybody can make a pitch. What is the new thing that we’re gonna to make? We made Killzone. What is the next big thing that the studio is good in, that will match our profile, and something we can make?’ So a lot of ideas came from that and one of these ideas was Horizon. It was too ambitious. So we started to [do] other ideas first. We worked on that for half a year. But everybody gravitated towards Horizon in the sense that that had so much appeal for the team to work on. So I think it’s a love child of the studio in a sense that it came from our company art director Jan-Bart van Beek, [who] pitched this idea.
His idea, some of those pillars are still here today. Most of the pillars. But it was mostly a storytelling thing. What if humans are no longer like the dominant species? What if we go a thousand years into the future and everything is crumbled and we just have nature again? And in that nature we put awesome mech designs. This is everything we want to make. And he had made this dramatic story about it and everybody loved it. But now it’s like, okay, open-world. Gameplay. What are we gonna do? How’s it gonna work? So whilst we were making Killzone 4: Shadow Fall, a small team split off. Key figures. And started testing. Can we do this? Can we make an open world? Does our engine do that? Can we fight robots? Is it any fun to fight a robot? Or are you used to throwing stones at the Coke machine and that’s boring? How does that work? How do you go about that? So what are these tribes like? You speak of all these different tribes? How do they interact? What do they do? So that was kind of, we wanted to get an answer by the end of Killzone 4. So, okay, yes, it’s a nice story. But, yes, it’s also a nice game. So when the team rolled off Killzone, those answers were satisfying. And the team started working.
Ijzermans was also asked why there isn’t multiplayer in Horizon, and if they ever considered it. “That is a difficult question to answer,” he replied. “The scope of the project was so big, we already had to postpone from Christmas until now to get it to the quality and the content that we wanted there. So multiplayer is not one of the features that was in that initial sculpture. We had enough… challenges finishing the game as it currently is.”
As you can see above, Guerrilla Games released a new Horizon trailer today. Discussing The Machines, Game Director Mathijs de Jonge said, “Some machines might flee more easily. Some might machines might call in reinforcements. And you have the attack units as well, which are a lot more deadly and aggressive. So it’s really a mix of different behaviors that really change the experience.”
Horizon Zero Dawn launches next week for PlayStation 4 and you can read our review over here.