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"The lesson will be taught in due time, Aloy. Until then, we wait."
This article contains heavy spoilers, and may reveal plot or quest information.



Teersa: "All-mother, this child needs a name by which to know her, that your love may warm her life as the sun warms all the Earth. Speak her name!"
Rost: "ALOY!!!"

Aloy is the protagonist of Horizon Zero Dawn and the sole playable character throughout the game. She is a hunter and archer of the Nora tribe, known for her ability to hunt and control machines.

Outcast at birth by the Nora, Aloy was raised by fellow outcast Rost and trained to take part in the Proving. However, she is quickly swept up in the conflict against the Eclipse and the rogue AI HADES, and sets off on a long journey to learn about the circumstances of the Derangement and the disappearance of the Old Ones. Ultimately, she will discover the nature of her origins and her critical role in saving the world.

She is voiced by Ashly Burch and modeled after Hannah Hoekstra.[1]

History

Conception

In August 3020, the AI GAIA received a transmission from an unknown source that turned her subordinate functions into self-aware and erratic entities. The HADES sub-function, which was designed to create a clean slate if GAIA did not produce a sustainable environment, immediately attempted to take control of GAIA's terraforming systems to eradicate humanity once more. In order to prevent this, GAIA activated a fail-safe, overloading the GAIA Prime reactor in an attempt to wipe out HADES. However, this act would lead to GAIA's destruction as well, and cause the eventual breakdown of the terraforming systems. As a result, GAIA ordered an ELEUTHIA Cradle facility to create a clone of Elisabet Sobeck who would have the gene print necessary to access the Alpha Registry and enter Zero Dawn facilities to rebuild GAIA's system core upon reaching maturity.

On August 26, 3020, ELEUTHIA-9 received the gestation order from GAIA Prime shortly before GAIA went offline. The genetic material of Elisabet Sobeck in cryo-strorage was used to create a zygote that had near-identical genetics to Sobeck, catalogued as #LK-1A1-4510, and gestated in Ectogenic Chamber B1-001. On April 4, 3021, the clone was deemed viable and delivered at 9:30.

Early life

As per GAIA's instructions, the entry hatch of ELEUTHIA-9 was unsealed, a multiservitor transported the newborn clone to the entry hatch and placed it outside the facility, then the hatch sealed itself again. The interior of the mountain, and specifically the door to ELEUTHIA-9, had come to be seen by the Nora tribe as the embodiment of their deity All-Mother. The High Matriarchs found the baby upon hearing her cries; while High Matriarch Teersa believed that the child was a gift from All-Mother, many of the Nora tribe, especially High Matriarch Lansra, feared that the baby was a curse, placed in the Sacred Mountain by a metal devil. As no person except for the High Matriarchs could enter the mountain, it was deeply suspected that the baby was not born of a human mother. Because of this, she was made an outcast by Nora law.  

The High Matriarchs placed her in the care of Rost, an outcast who kept to Nora traditions, and who would come to love the child as if she were his own daughter. With the help of Teersa, Rost was able to perform a traditional naming ritual for the baby, whom he named Aloy. Aloy grew up with Rost in his home within the Embrace, fully aware that Rost was not her father and that she was an outcast, though she was unaware of the reason way. 

Finding the Focus

One day, after being shunned while picking berries with other Nora children, Aloy ran away in a fit of rage and accidentally fell down a hole into a ruin of the Old Ones, a place normally forbidden for Nora to enter. While exploring the cave in search of an exit, she discovered a small, arrow-shaped device that displayed information and recordings through holograms. Eventually, she found a way out of the cave and reunited with Rost, who immediately inquired about the device and demanded to see it, though she refused to do so; he reluctantly allowed her to keep it. The next day, while learning survival skills from Rost, Aloy used her Focus to save a Nora boy from a pack of Watchers and Striders that had surrounded him. As outcasts, however, she and Rost received no gratitude when the boy's father arrived to retrieve him.

Later, Aloy was struck with a rock by Bast, another Nora child, who mocked her for being a motherless outcast. When Rost treated her injury, Aloy demanded to know why she was, presumably, abandoned by her mother. Rost tentatively admitted that he did not know exactly why she was outcast, or even who her mother might be, but that the High Matriarchs likely knew. The surest way to get the High Matriarchs to tell her the truth was to run in the Proving, a coming-of-age ritual, and win to be granted a boon. Aloy resolved to win the Proving and learn the truth about her mother.

Preparing for the Proving

With instruction from Rost, Aloy spent the next twelve years honing her survival skills in preparation for the Proving. Two days before the ceremony, she helped Rost track down a Sawtooth that had been causing problems for the hunting parties and killed the machine single-handed. The next day, after parting ways with Rost, Aloy entered Mother's Heart for the first time in her life. While walking through the settlement, Aloy spotted a foreign man in robes attempting to speak to a crowd. The audience's reaction to the Carja Sun-Priest was initially hostile until another foreigner named Erend spoke in his defense. Aloy befriended Erend soon after and was introduced to his traveling companion, Olin. To Aloy's surprise, Olin wore a Focus device similar to her own, though he said very little about himself or the Focus when Aloy questioned him, being highly evasive and defensive.

The Proving Massacre

After the contestants reached the altar of the Proving, the proctor declared Aloy as the winner of the Proving and she was made a Brave. While the proctor was finishing her sentence, she was shot in the collarbone. Looking up at the sky, Aloy spotted a swarm of arrows coming towards them. Many of the contestants were hit while trying to take cover. Aloy, Vala, Bast, and a few other contestants were lucky and took cover behind rocks. Vala then came up with the idea of distracting the attackers while Aloy shot them. After some time, a Cultist leader walked away from the group, but returned with a Deathbringer Gun and opened fire with it, eventually shattering the pillar that Vala was standing behind, which forced her to run. Vala was shot, and Bast rushed to her side, but was himself killed. The Cultist leader then ordered everyone to kill Aloy. She fought them off and checked on the Cultist leader, finding a Focus on him. Without her noticing, Helis snuck up on her. She turned around to stand up and bumped into him, and he grabbed her by the neck, lifting her up and strangling her. He lifted her over the edge of the mountain, pulling out a knife and attempting to slit her throat, but he was shot through the shoulder. Helis threw Aloy to the ground and pulled out the arrow. He turned to face Rost, who was there to save Aloy, and started to fight him. In the end, Helis stabbed Rost in the stomach and ordered a Cultist attacker to burn the place down. Rost collapsed, but got back up and held Aloy before he lets go of her. While she tumbled down the mountain, the Blaze canisters placed by the Cultists exploded. As Aloy fell down, trying to reach out to Rost, he was killed in the explosion.

Anointed as a Seeker

Aloy awakened within All-Mother, which was supposed to be off limits to all members of the tribe except for the High Matriarchs. After recovering her clothes, gear, and Focus, she saw a projection of a woman who looked remarkably like her, only much older and with short hair. She met Teersa, who explained that Aloy was brought inside the mountain because it was seen as a sacred rite to die near one's mother, and explained that the mountain itself had given birth to Aloy. Finding a giant door, it scanned Aloy, though it announced that the system is corrupted and cannot accept Aloy's genetic code. Teersa exclaimed in joy that the goddess knew Aloy, though Aloy angrily snaps that it didn't recognize her because of corruption, and if she could heal it then maybe the door would open. She anointed Aloy a seeker, which would allow her to leave the Sacred Lands in order to find the truth. Aloy accepted the mission, though asks what had happened to Rost. Teersa tells her that his remains were given a proper burial near his home.

Journey to Meridian

Right before the ceremony the day before The Proving, Aloy met Olin, an Oseram that helped the Eclipse cultists target Aloy. The now self-aware AI HADES put out the kill order because it found a picture of Elisabet Sobeck and Aloy looks just like her, so HADES wanted her dead. The Proving was then attacked by the Eclipse. She then finds out that the Eclipse used Olin's focus to target her. Aloy swore revenge on Olin for killing her fellow Braves. She finds out that he had a residence in Meridian and makes the long journey through the Way of Broken Stones to find him. 

Zero Dawn

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Battle for the Spire

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Personality

Aloy is curious, determined, and intent on uncovering the mysteries of her world.[2] As a child, she was rather disobedient and got annoyed by her guardian Rost's borderline fanatical devotion to the laws, not being able to see what was so bad about the ruins of the Old Ones. Unlike many in her tribe who shun the use of technology, Aloy sees technology as a practical and unique tool to aid her in her quest, a belief that was born when she used it to save a young man from certain death. She frequently uses her Focus throughout her life to aid in hunting machines and tracking individuals.

Her early use of the Focus has made Aloy more aware of a bigger picture outside of the Nora tribe, spurring her to be more curious about the Old Ones. She also became more skeptical about tribal lore and beliefs, seeing the All-Mother and what the tribes believe to be her vestiges as what they really are: remnants of Project Zero Dawn. This is most notable when Aloy is named the 'Anointed'[3] of the tribe, becoming quickly distressed and frustrated[4] with the tribespeople.

She had a strong relationship with Rost, seeing him as the father that she never had and was devastated when Rost sacrificed himself to save her from Helis. Despite Rost's presence, living without knowing her mother was a source of emotional distress for Aloy and compounded her alienation from the rest of the tribe; It is evident that this is the primary reason Aloy was cast out of the tribe. Aloy's desire to know her origins became her life's goal and her primary motivator to complete her training for the Proving; to get the Matriarchs to tell her about her origins.

Aloy is shown frequently to be not good with people, the result of being treated as less than human for the first 18 years of her life and not having much human interaction outside of Rost. She is very blunt and sarcastic, never hesitating to tell people exactly what she thinks of them even when it wouldn't be wise to do so. She can also be rather impatient and has little tolerance for those who waste her time. She is especially shown to hate those who consider themselves her better, such as Bast, or those who kill for sport, such as Nil, not being able to tell if the latter is better or worse than the bandits he kills. At the same time, however, years of being shunned as an outcast has made Aloy compassionate and sympathetic towards others in need, particularly toward those who are still outcasts. Her benevolence is her greatest strength and has garnered the respect and trust of many who have interacted with her. 

She has shown great physical and emotional resilience during her journey, always moving towards her goal despite the harsh obstacles she comes across. When Aloy discovered that she was not the child but a clone of Elisabet Sobeck created by GAIA, Aloy was shattered by this revelation, feeling like she was a instrument born in destruction and fire. However she quickly gathered herself together, realizing that she was created in order to protect the world from being destroyed by a second Faro Plague.

Relationships

Rost

Rost is an incredibly important, if not the most important, figure in Aloy's life. Rost was the only family Aloy ever had, and she was raised as if she was Rost's own daughter. He was the closest person to her, acting both as her caretaker and mentor. Aloy's twelve-year-long training for the Proving was overseen entirely by Rost, and it is his guidance that allows Aloy to survive in the world. Despite being solemn and serious at times, Rost treated Aloy with great care and was almost always looking out for her safety and well-being. He taught her to act with wisdom, and often guided her to find out the answers to her questions herself, which Aloy could find initially frustrating.

Aloy's conflict with Rost often came about with matters of the Nora tribe – Rost's adherence to Nora tradition and customs was frustrating for Aloy, whose lifelong status as an outcast left her alienated from the tribe. After finding her Focus in a ruin, Rost is reluctant to let her keep it because of the Nora's fear of ancient technology, but allows her to keep it when she uses it to save a boy from a Strider herd. Despite their proximity, Rost revealed very little about his past to Aloy, though Aloy eventually learned the truth about his being outcast and his former family through Teersa.

Because of her strong familial relationship with Rost, Aloy is upset when Rost attempts to permanently part ways with her before the Proving, so that her attachment to him will not hold her back when she formally joins the tribe. Aloy is unwilling to break all ties with Rost, even making clear she'd break the Nora law prohibiting contact with outcasts just to be with him. Depending on the player's choice at a flashpoint Aloy can either accept Rost's decision with reluctance, promise to find him, or angrily push him away; nonetheless, Aloy is heartbroken at Rost's willingness to permanently sever his ties with her.

When Rost unexpectedly intervenes in the Proving Massacre and sacrifices himself to save Aloy, Aloy barely has time to react to him saving her. She is devastated at his death, though she takes some comfort upon learning that he was buried by their home. Aloy can visit Rost's Grave at any point during her journey and apprise him of what she has done and learned, thanking him for all he did for her.

Elisabet Sobeck

Aloy and Elisabet Sobeck never directly met, given that Dr. Sobeck died long before Aloy's 'birth.' Sobeck was likely not even aware that her genetic code would be used by GAIA to create a clone--Aloy--that would be able to access the Alpha Registry and eventually destroy HADES. Upon seeing a holographic image of Sobeck, Aloy sees the physical similarities between her and Sobeck, and wonders if Sobeck is her mother. Later on, Aloy discovers that Sobeck is not technically her mother, and that she was cloned from Sobeck's genetic code. This revelation shocks Aloy, as throughout her life she believed she had a proper mother somewhere.

Despite realizing that Elisabet wasn't technically her mother, Aloy still sees her in a parental light, which is exemplified by her mournful expression when she finds Sobeck's corpse at her family's ranch in Nevada. Besides feeling a distant parental connection, Aloy deeply respects and admires Elisabet for her contributions towards saving the human race from extinction. She effectively carried on Sobeck's legacy, preventing another apocalypse that would have permanently destroyed Sobeck's efforts to restore life to Earth.

In a recorded conversation with GAIA, Elisabet expresses that, if she had a child, she would have liked her to be, "curious, and willful – unstoppable, even – but with enough compassion to heal the world, just a little bit." Aloy herself carries these traits, effectively being the 'daughter' that Elisabet would have liked to have had.

Teersa

High Matriarch Teersa's compassion made its mark early on in Aloy's life, such as when she entrusted Aloy to Rost's care and then blessed Aloy's name, against the wishes of her fellow High Matriarchs. Upon Aloy's first venture into Mother's Heart, Teersa is the first person to greet and accept her into the village, and makes her the lantern used in the Blessing Ceremony before the Proving, which is usually made by the contestant's mother. Teersa's repeated kindness is not lost on Aloy, and Aloy often goes to Teersa with questions she has. Their relationship is akin to that of a grandmother and granddaughter.

Because of Aloy's status as an outcast and Teersa's role as a High Matriarch, Aloy has trouble understanding Teersa's devotion to the tribe and to All-Mother. Teersa does her best to explain to Aloy the Nora tribe's traditions, and is patient with her when Aloy doesn't immediately embrace these traditions. It is Teersa's firm belief that Aloy was born from All-Mother, and is therefore a gift to the Nora, while Aloy is strongly convinced there is another explanation for her mysterious origins — what Teersa sees as the physical representation of All-Mother, Aloy recognizes as a door.

Teersa has immense confidence in Aloy despite Aloy's own doubts, believing that (through All-Mother) Aloy alone can save the Nora tribe when it is threatened with extinction. Aloy in return is grateful for Teersa's compassion and wisdom.

Sylens

From the moment Sylens contacted her through her Focus, Aloy regarded him with little trust; she came to dislike him even more when she discovered he had been watching her first through Olin's Focus and then her own without her knowledge. She openly despises Sylens' bossy and unscrupulous personality, outright stating that Sylens was good at making it impossible to like him. His habit of being uncommunicative at times also irked her, and he tended to underestimate Aloy's intelligence. He also scolded her for "whining" and being emotional, and even admitted that their partnership was based off of his own self-interest, which didn't improve Aloy's opinion of him.

However, Aloy acknowledges the aid Sylens had to offer in getting her the answers she sought, something that no one else before had provided. While she resented being the one put in dangerous situations (fending off the Eclipse and Shadow Carja alone), Sylens was the one guiding her to the next place to go and occasionally shared with her what knowledge he did have on the Old Ones. While the two are highly critical of one another, their partnership is based on mutual interest, due to their unrivaled understanding of the world.

Aloy and Sylens did not meet in person until Sylens rescued Aloy from the Sun-Ring at Sunfall. He provides her with a replacement Focus and a disguise should she return to Sunfall, showing a small degree of concern for her safety. However, Sylens still mostly sees Aloy as a means of discovering the secrets of the world, perfectly willing to exploit her talents to obtain the knowledge he seeks. He also apologizes for being "needlessly cruel" when she discovered her origins in the Zero Dawn bunker, indicating to her that he is aware of his lack of compassion.

Skills and abilities

  • Master Acrobat: Aloy is very nimble and can scale rock faces with ease. She is even quick enough to dodge charging machines.
  • Combat Prowess: Aloy was trained to fight by Rost, and is more than capable of taking on most human enemies as well as machines.
  • Master Archer: Aloy is highly proficient with the bow and arrow, having practiced since childhood under Rost.
  • Master Crafter: Aloy has an intricate knowledge of machines and can combine materials salvaged from them with natural materials in order to craft ammunition, traps, and tools. She is even able to fit override devices to her spear.
  • Hunter: Even without the aid of the Focus, Aloy is an excellent tracker, being able to find a trail made by humans or machines.
  • Literacy in Ancient Language: Through use of her Focus, Aloy learned how to read the ancient glyphs of the Old Ones (English).
  • Equestrian: After acquiring a Corrupter's override component, Aloy can ride some of the Machines she reprograms, cutting her travel time in half.
  • Scientific Mind: Aloy has demonstrated skill at scientific observation and inference, correctly concluding, for example, that the Earth is round and not flat from observing the shape that its shadow casts on the moon during a lunar eclipse. She routinely demonstrates curiosity and acute powers of observation (albeit enhanced by her Focus), reasoning and deduction, all traits of a competent scientist. This may be due at least in part to her genetic makeup: she is a clone of the exceptionally gifted Old One scientist Elisabet Sobeck.
  • Alpha Access: Being a clone of Elisabet Sobeck, Aloy has the maximum genetic clearance for all Zero Dawn facilities. This allows her to use the Master Override, as well as access any GAIA facilities that require Alpha clearance.

Gameplay

See also: Skills

Aloy gains experience by completing tasks within the game. Customization is available for her. Three different tiers exist:

  • Prowler - Stealth-focused, gives Aloy new strikes and attacks.
  • Brave - Focused on increasing damage in combat, allowing Aloy to use heavier weapons and to fire multiple arrows at once.
  • Forager - Improves Aloy's ability to gather resources from nature and the machines. Enhances her crafting and override skills.
  • TravelerFW - Grants Aloy new skills based on inventory, mounted combat, resource gathering and machine repair.

Modifiers from equipment can also be applied.[5]

Appearances in Other Media

Monster Hunter: World

Aloy's overall appearance with the Nora Brave armor became accessible through an event in the PlaysStation release of Monster Hunter: World. The event began on February 26th 2018 and ended after about a week.

Her look is treated as an exclusive armor set that cannot be mixed with other pieces and alters the player avatar's complete look into Aloy's, even if it was a male character. Applying this look gives the player skill sets that reflect Aloy's gameplay in Zero Dawn while also changing the avatar's voice to be similar to hers.

However, this render of Aloy's look lacks the Focus and is equipped with a wrist-mounted Tripcaster on her left hand which is Monster Hunter: World's adaptation for her own version of a Slinger.

Trivia

  • Aloy was included in the original pitch for Horizon Zero Dawn and considered one of the three "pillars" for the game's foundation.[6]
  • Aloy's name may be a reference to the 1895 book The Time Machine by H.G. Wells where the main character of the novel travels forward in time to meet an advanced species of humans known as the Eloi.
  • Both the names Aloy and Rost may well be references to common phrases like "alloy and rust", seeing as metal is an important theme in the game.
  • Aloy ended up being the child Sobeck always wanted, as she told GAIA that she would have liked to have a daughter who was curious, willful, and compassionate.
  • It is possible that GAIA slightly altered Aloy's genes to make her better able to survive in the world, considering that Aloy's genetics are only 99.47% identical to those of Elisabet Sobeck; if she was a perfect clone, their genetics would be 100% identical.
  • How Aloy fits into the story bears some striking parallels with Pandora from God of War 3, another PlayStation exclusive series.
    • Both are women of unnatural birth and specifically exist for an ominous purpose, with their very being acting as key to a source of power.
    • The world they live in exists as the result of a system that was meant to rebuild from a catastrophic event (Olympus from Titanomachy, Zero Dawn from Faro plague). However, both systems eventually fell into mass chaos.
    • Both were guided by a man who lost their family and sought vengeance (Kratos, Rost). Coincidentally, both had a daughter of their own and a distinctive mark on their faces. Curiously enough, the number of mysterious killers Rost went after was 12, which is also the number of Olympians in Greek mythology.

Gallery

In-game

Concept and promotional art

References

  1. Guerrilla Games on Twitter
  2. 2016-06-20, Horizon: Zero Dawn Dev Talks Delay and Why It Chose a Female Hero. GameSpot, accessed on 2016-08-11
  3. This title is completely separate from Seeker. A Seeker is "anointed" (nominate or choose (someone) as successor to or leading candidate for a position), where the word is being used as a verb. The title "Anointed" is a proper noun and seems to be based on an alternative definition of the word anoint (ceremonially confer divine or holy office upon (a priest or monarch) by smearing or rubbing with oil)
    "The matriarchs have never declared an Anointed before, you're the first."
    Nora Brave in Hunter's Gathering
  4. Jezza, Lansra, & other Nora chanting: "All praise Aloy, Anointed of the Nora!"
    Aloy: "No! NO! Stop this! Up! UP! First you shun me, now this?! I will NOT be worshiped! I am not your "Anointed!" I don't belong to you! There's a whole world beyond your borders, whole tribes of people just as good as you, and it is all in danger! It's a world worth fighting for. Not just here. Everywhere."
    The Heart of the Nora
  5. Game Informer #82: Woman vs. Machine
  6. GameSpot: New Horizon: Zero Dawn Concept Art and Details Revealed at PSX
Nora Characters
High Matriarchs Jezza - Lansra - Teersa
Tribe Members Aloy - Arana - Bast - Den - Dral - Dran - Enara - Ferl - Fia - Grist - Jarg - Jarm - Jun - Karst - Lut - Marea - Muns - Nakoa - Olara - Orn - Resh - Solai - Sona - Taim - Teb - Thok - Vala - Varl - Yan
Outcasts Brom - Cren - Grata - Jom - Kam - Kurnst - Nora Keeper - Rost - Yun