Since the launch of Horizon Zero Dawn in 2017, Aloy has lived in the hearts of our players, and her story of survival, self-discovery, and sacrifice resonated with many. That story is set to continue in the upcoming sequel, Horizon Forbidden West, which takes place six months after the events of Horizon Zero Dawn. Aloy has travelled west to investigate a mysterious and deadly blight. In these uncharted lands, she will meet strange new tribes and encounter ever more deadly machines. Together with old friends and new companions, she must brave this new frontier to find the answers she needs to save life on Earth.
Spoiler Alert: Please note this article contains some spoilers for Horizon Zero Dawn and its storyline.
Aloy’s story, woven from love and loss, makes for a very compelling adventure. People from all over the world have shared with us the impact Horizon Zero Dawn has had on them, and they want more. After revealing Horizon Forbidden West’s gameplay trailer late May, fans were ecstatic to see Aloy again, fighting against machines and raiders, and even reuniting with her old friend Erend.
From outcast to heroic Machine hunter
Guerrilla’s Narrative Director Ben McCaw understands these reactions well. “In Horizon Zero Dawn, Aloy goes from being the least important person in the world – a humble outcast – to the most important. Not only does she become the greatest machine hunter in the land, she discovers that she is the key to understanding Earth’s past and saving its future. Along the way, she gathers key allies to her side, like Varl, a kind Nora hunter who lost his sister in the Proving; Erend, a strong but sensitive Oseram Vanguard; and the Carja Sun-King Avad, an enlightened ruler trying to rescue his people from their bloody past.
‘But Horizon Zero Dawn ends with Aloy’s job only half-finished,” Ben continues. “One threat has been vanquished, but another looms in the form of a strange red blight that’s strangling the land. So in the six months between games, she has been on a mission to discover how to stop this insidious infection. Fans can get a glimpse of her journey in the five-issue Sunhawk collection from Titan Comics. This mission has been tough. She’s had to travel fast and leave a lot of her gear behind. Even so, she has pursued the mission with the same determination, strength, and drive that she showed in the first game. In that sense, she hasn’t changed a bit.”
A hero, a hunter, an explorer… Aloy carries a lot on her shoulders as she continues to face challenges and dangers in these lands. From a narrative perspective, it was important to convey Aloy’s strength and emotional intelligence, and to provide her with lessons and experiences throughout the game to develop further as a real and relatable protagonist.
“Born and raised as an outcast, Aloy has a unique perspective on the world,” explains Ben. “She is deeply compassionate towards those who suffer, and highly driven to punish powerful oppressors. Although she has made many friends during her adventures, she still feels like an outsider, and the truth is, she has no real home. These aspects of her character will be explored in depth as she ventures into the mysterious frontier of the Forbidden West.
‘This goes for the story as well. It starts with the same Alo