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Horizon: Zero Dawn Dev Talks Delay And Why It Chose A Female Hero

E3 2016 brought with it a number of release dates for various games set to launch within the next year. These release dates included the revelation that PlayStation 4 exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn has been delayed to 2017, a decision that has since been elaborated on by Mathijs de Jonge, the game’s director.

"It's all polish," he said. "We have this open world. It's very big. We have a lot of quests; we have a lot of different regions as well. We have a lot of different Machines. Just playtesting this, it's very, very time-consuming. We have so many components. We just want to raise the quality on the different areas."

The director specifically mentioned some story and dialogue sequences, as well as facial animations, as areas that Guerrilla is looking to further improve before launch.

He added that Zero Dawn is currently in a pre-alpha state, which gives the developer enough time to "raise the quality."

"[The delay was] mainly because it's such a big game," de Jonge said. "We are a team of 200 people now, but there's just a lot of content we need to look at and evaluate and keep improving."

De Jonge also spoke about the company’s decision to have a female protagonist in Horizon: Zero Dawn. Apparently, the Ygritte-inspired Aloy was made female out of a desire by Guerrilla Games to do something new with Horizon. The company has made nothing but gritty shooters starring male leads since its inception in 2004, and so it’s hard to blame the developers for wanting a change of pace with their next project.

"When we started with a concept we felt like we had a pretty fresh mix of ingredients; the BBC nature documentary kind of feel, and then the sci-fi elements with the robots," he explained. "We also felt like we need a fresh main character. We've been making Killzone games; we've done male protagonists for quite a while. Now, we wanted to do something else."

"We're switching from first-person shooter to open-world action RPG. Everything is shifting, so this was another thing we wanted to try. And we felt like a female character like Aloy would fit in really well."

Looking beyond Aloy's gender, de Jonge said it was important to make Aloy an interesting character that fits within the Zero Dawn universe and draws players in with her inquisitiveness.

"What we have been focusing on is not if it's male or female, but it's more to figure out her personality," he explained. "Make her personality really interesting. And also the way she looks; make that feel like she's really a tribal hunter. That fits in this world and surroundings."

"She's very curious and determined, and she wants to explore the world and figure out these mysteries," he added. "And hopefully we can give the player the same feeling; you want to know what's out there, you want to discover these new Machines, you want to meet the new tribes. That's how we've mostly designed her character."

Last summer, PlayStation Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida said Sony thought it might be "risky" to have Zero Dawn's lead character be a woman. There was so much discussion inside of Sony about Zero Dawn having a female lead that the company hired a marketing team to conduct focus testing for the character.

Horizon: Zero Dawn will be available February 28th, 2017, exclusively for PlayStation 4. I'm fine with the delay of the release of Horizon: Zero Dawn. Just look at Uncharted 4, it was delayed a couple of times but when it came out, the game just simply wowed the gamers and the critics. I'm hoping that it will be the same case on Horizon: Zero Dawn. As for the decision of Guerrilla Games to have a female hero on the game, I have no problem with it. Aloy is looking to be an interesting character in the game, plus she looks pretty to me. What do you think guys? Are you fine with the delay of Horizon and with a female lead character on the game? 

 

Related Game(s): Horizon Zero Dawn

6/22/2016 10:49:09 PM Drew Constantino

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Legacy Comment System (14 posts)


WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, June 23, 2016 @ 10:42:39 AM
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I'd probably be less interested in this if it had a male lead.

No I'm not insane. When you have a female lead you have to make her interesting because everybody tells you that you can't have a female lead. When you have a male lead, they are mostly all generic. Other than Nathan Drake I hardly remember any of them having a personality.

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shaytoon
Thursday, June 23, 2016 @ 11:30:37 AM

this times a million.

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Godslim
Thursday, June 23, 2016 @ 11:41:30 AM

yeh your right alot of the time male leads in games are very generic and kinda boring.

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Neo_Aeon666
Friday, June 24, 2016 @ 10:37:35 AM

Don't try to fool me and say you forgot about Duke Nukem! :)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, June 25, 2016 @ 12:43:15 PM

Well that was from a bygone era

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shaytoon
Thursday, June 23, 2016 @ 11:31:50 AM
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im perfectly okay with a female lead. always advocating for more.

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wackazoa
Thursday, June 23, 2016 @ 11:37:29 AM
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Game looks pretty. And Im all for more female protagonists. However I'd also like to see more normal looking protagonists. So maybe they have a big nose, or tiny eyes, or big ears. I know that is just a pipe dream, but why do mains always have to be so damn pretty. (Males and Females)

Last edited by wackazoa on 6/23/2016 11:37:54 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, June 23, 2016 @ 12:37:34 PM

You know what they say about girls with big noses...

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wackazoa
Thursday, June 23, 2016 @ 1:21:35 PM

No. What?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, June 23, 2016 @ 3:08:19 PM

Good smex :)

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Clamedeus
Thursday, June 23, 2016 @ 11:59:13 AM
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I personally don't care whether if a game has a Male lead, or a Female lead.

As long as the story, character, and game play is good I really don't care.

Last edited by Clamedeus on 6/23/2016 11:59:50 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, June 23, 2016 @ 3:12:24 PM
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I'd like to know what the focus testing (which never actually comes up with the right answer) said about have a female lead versus male. I think I know, but I'd like to have that information.

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Neo_Aeon666
Friday, June 24, 2016 @ 10:53:50 AM
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Meh my main problem with recent or upcoming north america female leads is how they look. Boring and generic. The *lead* should be someone that stands out. Male leads usually don't suffer from social pressure so we have some pretty epic ones like Kratos, Duke Nukem, Drake and the assassin's creed guy. They can be charismatic and charming and over the top manly and we like it. But for the recent North American female leads... If they make them too pretty or if they use female traits... The neo feminists will rage on. So we are stuck with man-girl female leads T-T.

If you look at Japan, they have tons of female leads! And wow I love those games. They are not scared to use the feminine charms and cuteness that males lack. They bring out the best of both genders. So yeah until the neo-feminist fad wears off or until they accept the fact that man and woman are actually different and DO have different qualities and that, that doesn't change the fact that they have the same rights, I would prefer NA sticks to male leads hahaha.

I mean when I look at her I could put some guy in her shoes and wouldn't make a difference. She has none of the female traits other than the skin put on her model XD

Other than the lead though the game looks amazing and the story intrigues me a lot. I will still get it day one hahaha.

Last edited by Neo_Aeon666 on 6/24/2016 11:02:20 AM

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SvenMD
Monday, June 27, 2016 @ 11:03:28 PM
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I just want this game. It looks amazing! Hope they don't give too many story details away before launch - I love the mystery of this world so far.

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