Horizon Zero Dawn is an action role-playing video game developed by Guerrilla Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for PlayStation 4 and released in early 2017. The plot revolves around Aloy, a hunter and archer living in a world overrun by robots. Having been an outcast her whole life, she sets out to discover the dangers that kept her sheltered. The character uses ranged weapons and a spear and stealth tactics to combat the mechanised creatures, whose remains can be looted for resources. A skill tree provides the player with new abilities and passive bonuses. The game features an open world environment for Aloy to explore, while undertaking side and main story quests.
Development began in 2011 after the studio completed the development of Killzone 3, with game director Mathijs de Jonge considering it “the most risky” idea of those that were pitched at the time. The concept explores the contrast between the beauty and danger of the game’s setting. Guerrilla Games emphasises trial and error as the basis for playing the game. The game engine, Decima, was previously engineered for Killzone Shadow Fall and altered for Horizon Zero Dawn. The game is the first new intellectual property (IP) developed by Guerrilla Games since Killzone in 2004, and also the studio’s first attempt at developing a role-playing video game. The music was composed by Joris de Man, The Flight, and Niels van der Leest.
Horizon Zero Dawn won the award for Best Original Game at the Game Critics Awards in 2015 and 2016. At release, it was well received by critics, who praised the open world, story, visuals, combat, the character of Aloy and the performance provided by her voice actress Ashly Burch, whilst giving criticism to the dialogue, melee combat and character models. It was the best-selling launch of an original IP on the PlayStation 4 console, selling over three million copies by June 2017, making it the second best-selling PlayStation 4 video game. An expansion, The Frozen Wilds, was released on 7 November 2017.