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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.  

Young aloy

Young Aloy

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 The Embrace, fully aware that Rost was not her father and that she was an outcast, though she was unaware of the reason why.

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

Aloy training

Aloy training 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. Rost's final lesson for Aloy was not how to kill a dangerous new machine, but to do her part in protecting the tribe once she was accepted in.

Bringing her to Mother's Heart the day before the ceremony, Rost gives her his daughter's necklace to remember him by; realizing he wants her to forget him, Aloy tries to convince him that she'd still go to see him in secret, but Rost nevertheless vowed that this was goodbye. He walks away from her, leaving a heartbroken Aloy at the gates.

Aloy is welcomed by High Matriarch Teersa and enters 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.

Aloy eventually retires to the bedhouse with the other Proving contestants; Resh, standing guard outside, insults her for being both motherless and an outcast. Retorting with a snide remark, Aloy goes into the bedhouse, but is again met with jibes from Bast. After exchanging some words about the time young Bast attacked Aloy with a rock, Aloy goes to bed, but is still uneasy with her new surroundings. Vala, another contestant who is welcoming to Aloy, tries to bolster her.

The Proving Massacre

Running the Proving

In the morning, the Proving contestants make their way up the snowy mountain to begin the trial. Aloy, despite Resh and Bast's put-downs, has no hesitations and makes ready to start what she has trained long and hard for.

The arrival of a herd of Grazers signals the beginning of the competition; each contestant must kill a Grazer and loot a trophy. Aloy is able to obtain one, but it is almost immediately shot out of her hands by Bast. Though she manages to obtain another one, she has lost time and is the last one to start running the Brave trail. Realizing that she won't make it on the normal trail, she places her bets on another, more dangerous Brave trail, heedless of the proctor's warning that several previous Proving contestants were killed on it. Aloy pushes forward, climbing and sprinting across the trail and catching up to the rest of the contestants. She slides down to the main trail, runs for the last stretch with the other contestants, and plants her trophy at the finish line, followed soon by Vala and Bast.

Bast argues that Aloy cheated, and the proctor at first seems to claim that an outcast could never win the Proving. Aloy fearfully wondered if her exertion was all for naught, but the proctor declares that she was now a Brave, and no longer an outcast. Vala congratulates a tired but relieved Aloy, and the proctor reminds the contestants to place their trophies at the altar. She officially declared Aloy as the winner. But before the proctor could finish her sentence, she was shot in the collarbone with an arrow.

Fighting the Attackers

Aloy and vala

Aloy and Vala taking cover from the attackers

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 fatally 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 was corrupted and could accept Aloy's genetic code. Teersa exclaimed in joy that the goddess knew Aloy, though Aloy angrily snapped 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 asked what had happened to Rost. Teersa then told her that his remains were given a proper burial near his home.

Out of the Embrace

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

Before she could leave Mother's Watch, several corrupted machines and a Corruptor attacked the village. After defeating the Corruptor, Aloy retrieved a component that the Corruptor had used to control the other machines. She attached the component to her spear, giving her the ability to override machines, which she first used on a Strider. Aloy reached the Main Embrace Gate, where she met Varl. Varl told her to head to Mother's Crown to begin her journey to Meridian, but also asked her to find War-Chief Sona and her war party, who had gone missing searching for the Proving killers. 

Aiding the Nora War Party

Aloy located the battlefield where the war party was last seen. She came across Dran, who told her that the war party were on the trail of the killers, but an ambush of corrupted machines threw them off. Aloy followed a blood trail up a ridge overlooking Devil's Thirst, encountering War-Chief Sona and the remnants of the war party. Sona had tracked some of the killers to a nearby camp, and Aloy aided Sona and the Nora party in dispatching them. Aloy figured out where the rest of the killers were through a datapoint: camped in the Ring of Metal in Devil's Grief. Although the area is considered taboo, Aloy and Varl convinced the war party to finish the counterattack to avenge the dead. Aloy and the Nora took out several enemy camps along the route to the Ring of Metal before regrouping and cominb up with a plan to wipe out the final camp. Aloy and Varl snuck through to the heart of the camp, finding a large number of corrupted machines and cultists. Aloy decided to infiltrate the camp alone to ignite a large stockpile of Blaze, blasting a hole through the camp walls for the Nora party to charge through. The Nora successfully killed the remaining cultists and machines, purging the last of the killers from Nora lands.

Journey to the Sundom

Aloy journeyed to the edge of Nora lands at Mother's Crown, where she met Marea. Marea informs her that Daytower is the Carja gate to Meridian, but the army has sealed the gate due to the concentration of corrupted machines in the area. Aloy cleared the corrupted zones, passing the Forsaken Village, and defeated a Corruptor right outside Daytower gate. She was granted entry, and continued on the path to Meridian by the Way of Broken Stones, leaving Nora lands behind.

In the Sundom

Finally reaching the gates of Meridian, Aloy finds that the city guard have barred outlanders and merchants from entering the city because of the recent murder of Captain Ersa and her Vanguard. However, a drunken Erend emerges and personally escorts Aloy into the city. Once they are alone, Aloy relays what she knew about the Proving killers and Olin's connection with them. Despite his disbelief of Olin's betrayal, Erend accompanies Aloy to the apartment Olin stayed at. Using her Focus, Aloy finds evidence that Olin knew the killers targeted her, but also realizes that Olin's wife and child were being used as leverage.

Aloy locates Olin at Rockwreath, surrounded by cultists. She witnesses the cultists raise a Corruptor from the earth and reactivate it. Suddenly, something disrupts the Focuses of the cultists; an unknown voice taps into Aloy's Focus, revealing that he disabled the Focuses to assist her. Aloy dispatches the cultists and defeats the Corruptors, with only Olin remaining. Aloy demands answers from Olin, and he readily reveals what he knows about the Eclipse. Under the command of a 'metal devil' called HADES, the Eclipse are excavating deactivated machines to use; the Eclipse are led by Helis, the man at the Proving massacre who tried to kill Aloy and fatally stabbed Rost. Though Olin does not know who the woman is that resembles Aloy, he remembers seeing her image at Maker's End. Depending on player choice, Aloy either kills Olin or spares his life, but regardless promises to rescue his family.

Plot against the Sun-King

Seeing the power of Aloy's Focus as she investigates Olin's Apartment, Erend asks Aloy to help him find the murderers of his sister Ersa. Meeting Erend at Red Ridge Pass, Aloy investigates the area where the Vanguard fell, and begins to suspect that the fight was staged. Following some cart tracks up to Dimmed Bones, Aloy and Erend are ambushed by Oseram mercenaries. Although Aloy is unsure what their motive is, she suspects that Ersa was not murdered but taken hostage, and another corpse was put in her armor to fool the Carja.

Upon arriving at Sun-King Avad's palace, Erend confirms that the body found was not Ersa's. Marad names Dervahl as the man likely behind the scheme, and sends Aloy and Erend to Pitchcliff to meet an agent tracking Dervahl. However, they find the agent dead, with a crude map drawn with his blood marking Dervahl's location. At the camp, Aloy, Erend, and several Oseram soldiers take out the machines and Dervahl's men, but as she enters the cellar, Aloy triggers a sonic blast that alerts a large guard. After killing him, Aloy loots a pair of earplugs that block the sonic waves, allowing her to get into the workshop and disable the sonic devices. She and Erend find Ersa alive but badly injured; Ersa explains that Dervahl took her hostage after meeting under false parley, and that Dervahl plans to destroy Meridian and Avad. Ersa dies of her wounds immediately after, as Aloy discovers Dervahl's plan to destroy Meridian with a large shipment of Blaze.

Aloy and Erend return to warn Avad, and Marad points them to a warehouse purchased by an Oseram landlord, most likely the place Dervahl is storing the Blaze. In the warehouse, Aloy finds a bomb on the main floor, and a number of Blaze barrels on the upper level. Unable to disarm the bomb, Aloy decides to push the Blaze barrels out the window in hopes of reducing the blast radius. She and Erend push the barrels out and escape before the bomb detonates, causing an explosion that only damages the warehouse itself. Knowing that Dervahl wanted Avad to watch Meridian's destruction, Aloy races back to the palace. She finds Avad incapacitated by sonic devices, and Dervahl trying to detonate his bomb, unaware that it had already gone off. Aloy disables the sonic devices and battles Dervahl, keeping him pinned down until Erend and the Vanguard arrive to arrest Dervahl. Avad expresses his gratitude and offers her a place in his court, but Aloy declines as she has not finished her quest.

Project Zero Dawn

Still intent on learning who the mystery woman is, Aloy goes to Maker's End, guided by the same voice who had disabled the cultists' Focuses. She discovers the Eclipse excavating a machine called a Deathbringer, which she manages to kill along with the cultists. Through a cultist's Focus, HADES finds out that Aloy is still alive. Though met with an identiscan like at All-Mother mountain, the door opens for Aloy, allowing her in.

As she works her way up the ruins, Aloy learns that Maker's End was originally a facility belonging to Faro Automated Solutions, a corporation of the Old Ones that made machines. Eventually, they made machines for war, such as the Deathbringer and Corruptor. She identifies the woman as Elisabet Sobeck, who had worked for FAS for a time. Reaching Ted Faro's office at the top of the ruins, Aloy begins to learn of the circumstances of the Old Ones' disappearance. The Faro war machines had the ability to self-replicate and were powered through consuming biomatter, but a glitch caused the machines to go rogue and ignore commands. They had begun what would eventually wipe out all life on Earth. Ted Faro wanted Elisabet Sobeck to fix the glitch, but without a backdoor the glitch could not be reversed. However, Sobeck did produce a solution, named Project Zero Dawn.

The unknown caller reveals himself in a hologram as Sylens. Although Aloy is distrustful of him, she follows his suggestion to head to the Grave-Hoard, the former U.S. Robot Command. Descending into the bunker of the Grave-Hoard, she takes out more corrupted machines and cultists before coming across them tinkering with a metal devil and reactivating another Deathbringer, which she fights. Further into the ruins she finds out that Project Zero Dawn was implemented alongside a military campaign called Operation: Enduring Victory.

Aloy concludes that she needs to get to the Orbital Launch Base, which Sylens tells her lies underneath Sunfall, the capital of the Shadow Carja. Since any Eclipse members wearing Focuses would identify her, Aloy suggest crashing the network to disable communication with HADES. She goes to the Eclipse Base, her target being an immobilized Tallneck the Eclipse have modified as a transmitter. Sneaking around and taking out the cultists, Aloy finds the Tallneck. Climbing to the top, she finds the module's casing, but is shocked when she tries to open it. HADES, located in a metal devil, closes in on her and claims Aloy cannot destroy it. Aloy thrusts her spear into the module anyway, crashing the Focus network and forcing HADES to withdraw. However, Aloy flees under heavy fire from Deathbringers and Eclipse cultists, barely escaping with her life. Upset with Sylens for risking her life, Aloy shares some angry words with him before moving on to Sunfall.

Aloy enters Sunfall without alerting the Eclipse, and gets to a vent that leads into the Zero Dawn project facility. Encountering another identiscan door, Aloy is allowed access but a door malfunction stalls her. She authorizes an emergency venting procedure, which opens the door but inadvertently alerts Kestrals to a presence in the ruins.

In the Zero Dawn facility, Aloy reaches a holographic theater and a message from General Herres explains the truth of Operation: Enduring Victory. The military operation was not a superweapon program to stop the Faro Plague and save humanity, but a means to buy the amount of time needed to complete Project Zero Dawn. Humanity and all life on Earth would go extinct regardless of how successful the operation was. In the next hologram theater, a projection of Elisabet Sobeck explained Project Zero Dawn. The hope was to create GAIA, a fully-automated terraforming AI with a number of subordinate functions: GAIA would generate the deactivation codes for the Faro Swarm, build the arrays to broadcast the codes and shut down the machines, then work on cleansing the Earth, and finally reintroduce life. Aloy learns more about the subordinate functions in subsequent rooms, but still does not understand how she and Elisabet Sobeck are connected.

In Sobeck's office, Aloy finds copies of the Alpha Registry, which would gain her access to All-Mother mountain. Aloy realizes that she can now figure out who gave birth to her inside the mountain. Sylens callously remarks that she was not made by a "who" but a "what", which angers Aloy. As they argue, Kestrels descend outside the office, and Helis stuns Aloy with a blast bomb.

The Eclipse Assault

The Sun-Ring

Aloy wakes up trapped in a cage, dangling above the Sun-Ring. Helis reveals that just before Aloy crashed the Focus network, he sent out orders to the Eclipse to invade Nora territory. He then crushes her Focus and condemns Aloy to be "the first of thousands" to die. Aloy is dropped into the Sun-Ring and forced to fight a corrupted Behemoth. However, she is able to use the Behemoth's strength to her advantage, tricking it into running into the pillars and knocking down the platform and cage. Aloy retrieves her weapons and takes down the Behemoth, challenging Helis to fight her himself. Helis sends two Corruptors into the Sun-Ring, but before Aloy can fight them, Sylens blasts through the walls on an overridden Strider, with another for Aloy to ride. She and Sylens escape the Sun-Ring.

Sylens give Aloy a new Focus, with a copy of the contents of her old one, including the Alpha Registry. Sylens chooses not to help Aloy warn the Nora of the impending Eclipse attack, but he does appologize for being rude to her in the Zero Dawn Project Facility. He rides off, and Aloy heads in the direction of the Sacred Lands.

Return to the Sacred Lands

Aloy reaches the Sacred Lands, but the Eclipse have already ravaged much of the land, leaving a trail of destruction. A wounded Brave tells her that the remaining Nora have taken refuge in All-Mother Mountain, and Aloy battles her way to Mother's Watch. More Eclipse and a corrupted Thunderjaw are attacking the entrance to the mountain, but Aloy quickly turns the tide of battle, and some of the remaining Nora Braves assist her in defeating the machine.

In All-Mother Mountain, Aloy finds the remnants of the Nora tribe, reuniting with some of the people she met early in her journey. Teersa and Jezza welcome Aloy home, but Lansra remains hostile, convinced Aloy has come to awaken the metal devil. Aloy uses the Alpha Registry on her Focus to open the bunker door, and she enters, finally close to the answers she has sought.

The ELEUTHIA Cradle

The facility behind the door is ELEUTHIA-9, a Cradle facility where the first humans after the Faro Plague were created, gestated and born in artificial wombs. Aloy learns that the early humans were raised by multiservitors, but when the food supply was depleted, they were forced out into the wilds. The APOLLO function is also mysteriously offline, which explained the lack of knowledge the tribes had of the Old Ones. Further into the Cradle, Aloy scans a datapoint, a final message from GAIA. GAIA explains that a data transmission from an unknown source corrupted the GAIA Prime facility, turning the subordinate functions into highly advanced but chaotic entities. HADES took this to mean that GAIA had failed and took control of her terraforming system, intending to destroy the world as it was designed to do. GAIA ordered her Prime reactor to overload in an attempt to destroy all her subordinate functions including HADES, though this would mean she would also be destroyed. GAIA sent out a transmission to ELEUTHIA 9 to gestate an embryo with Elisabet Sobeck's genetic material, in hopes that this clone could access GAIA Prime and restore the subordinate functions. At the last minute, HADES sent out a virus that destroyed the coding that bound it to GAIA's main system, letting it escape before the Prime reactor overloaded. GAIA instructs that the Master Override be obtained to override HADES and stop it from destroying the world.

As the message ends, Aloy is left devastated at the realization that she was essentially a clone created for a single purpose, and not born naturally. Though struggling to come to terms with this, she decides to go to GAIA Prime and finish what she was meant to do. Exiting the Cradle, the Nora are in awe and, believing she had spoken directly with All-Mother, begin to worship her as the "Anointed." Angered that these same people who shunned her as a child are now treating her like a saint, Aloy argues that her task will affect the rest of the world, and the Nora can no longer isolate themselves. Knowing that the Eclipse will launch an attack on Meridian, Aloy asks the remaining fighters to meet her there, and she heads for GAIA Prime.

GAIA Prime

Aloy scales Bitter Climb to reach the entrance to GAIA Prime; she sees the immense damage caused by GAIA's self-destruction and is skeptical that GAIA could ever be repaired. In Sylens' workshop, Sylens suggests that it would still be possible to repair GAIA, but it would take years, and at the present the critical task is stopping HADES. Aloy enters the facility, finding datapoints from the Alphas who lived there to finish GAIA after the Faro Plague had decimated the globe. She also finds Elisabet Sobeck's journals, heavily damaged, but Sylens has her scan them anyway, as the Focus can gradually rebuild them.

Further in, she comes across a shrine to Elisabet Sobeck, and listens to the datapoint Charles Ronson recorded, learning of Sobeck's fate. When a port seal malfunctioned, the Faro swarm detected GAIA's energy signal, threatening GAIA and the Alphas within the facility, as if they reached the facility they would destroy the last chance of life being recreated. While the Alphas argued over the situation, Elisabet donned an environmental suit to protect herself from the swarm and went outside to repair the door, knowing that she would be permanently shut out. By the time she made the other Alphas aware of this, it was already too late and she was trapped outside, but at peace knowing that GAIA would survive. Aloy reacts with sorrow at knowing Elisabet's fate, and she defends Elisabet's kindness to Sylens.

Reaching another area of the facility, Aloy opens a door to a conference room that was apparently devoid of air, with the corpses of the Alphas scattered about. She watches the hologram of Ted Faro revealing to the Alphas that he purged APOLLO to prevent humanity from repeating the mistakes of the past. He then vented the atmosphere of the room, suffocating and killing the Alphas. Horrified by Faro's actions, Aloy nonetheless knows that the Alphas did not die in vain, as they succeeded in their goal. She finds the Master Override on the conference table, and makes her way back to Sylens' workshop to meet Sylens face-to-face again. Sylens admits that he had worked with HADES before and formed the Eclipse, to do what HADES commanded. Aloy realizes that HADES is targeting the Spire to reawaken the Faro swarm and destroy the world again. Sylens leaves his lance to Aloy, and she attaches the Master Override to it. Now with the power to stop HADES, Aloy heads for Meridian.

Battle for the Spire

Aloy returns to Meridian to warn Sun-King Avad of the impending attack. Marad tells Aloy that allies have arrived to bolster the defences around Meridian and the Spire, including a Nora party led by Varl. After overseeing preparations for the battle, Aloy returns to Olin's aparment to rest. She ponders how Elisabet could have slept with the weight of the world on her shoulders, and how Rost could sleep after his family was lost. She makes one last attempt to speak with Sylens, but silence is all she hears, and she falls asleep.

Early the next morning, Aloy is woken by a Carja soldier, telling her the watchtowers have spotted the Eclipse forces. Readying herself for battle, she meets with Avad, soon witnessing an explosion atop a mesa that opens a wide path for the corrupted machines to break through. Helis and his soldiers infiltrate Meridian, and though Avad wants to take him on, Aloy instead tells him to rally the Vanguard and send reinforcements, then rushes off to deal with Helis. She fights a one-on-one battle with Helis and defeats him, taunting him by telling him to turn his face to the sun, as he had told her at the Proving massacre. She runs Helis through with her spear, at last avenging Rost's death.

Aloy aids the defences against the onslaught of machines, facing waves of Corruptors and Deathbringers. A Deathbringer fires at the ridge above Aloy, bringing it down on top of her and knocking her out. Teb pulls her out of the rubble, but by that time much of the surrounding area is ablaze. Aloy races to the Spire, but at the base of the mesa she sees HADES has already begun the transmission to revive the Faro swarm. With her allies by her side, Aloy approaches HADES, who revives a powerful Deathbringer to keep her at bay. As HADES continues the transmission, Aloy and her allies battle the Deathbringer and more corrupted machines. Once the machines are defeated, Aloy reaches HADES and drives the lance with the Master Override into it.

Aloy's Focus displays a quiet hologram with Elisabet Sobeck's image, and a synthetic voice announces that the Master Override is armed, needing a name and rank to activate it. Aloy states "Elisabet Sobeck, Alpha Prime" and the Master Override is activated, purging the extinction protocol. HADES is disabled, the force knocking Aloy to the ground, and across the land the Faro machines instantly deactivate. Recognising that she was successful, Aloy smiles with relief, and trudges away from HADES and the lance still embedded in it. She shares her victory with Erend and Varl, and raises her bow in victory as cheering resounds.

Homecoming

Some time after the final battle, Aloy makes the journey to Nevada, finding Elisabet Sobeck's childhood home. Aloy finds Sobeck's body, still in the environmental suit, on a bench surrounded by a triangle of flowers. She activates her Focus to show a hologram of Sobeck's face, appearing as though only asleep, and she touches the hologram tenderly, smiling sadly. She notices a globe locket in Sobeck's hand and takes it, looking at it for a moment. Aloy holds the globe to her heart and looks up at the sky.

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.

Aloy 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. However, Rost noted that she was only training to win the Proving for herself, as proven when she misses the point of the test of fighting her first Sawtooth. He tells her that there will come a time when she will have to fight for her new tribe and serve a cause greater than herself. Aloy understands, but states it will have to be a cause she believes in. Even after appointed a Seeker, Aloy's primary motivation is to learn the truth about her origins, caring little for the history of the Old Ones. It's this single-minded attitude that results in her being considered a "spoiled child" by Sylens. After learning how she was born and why, however, Aloy finds the purpose Rost spoke of; defeat the Eclipse and prevent HADES from causing a second Faro Plague.

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 is especially shown to hate those who consider themselves her better, such as Ahsis, and 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. She is also rather impatient and has little tolerance for those who waste her time or dodge questions, one of the many things that puts her at odds with the ever-elusive Sylens. At the same time, however, years of being shunned as an outcast has made Aloy compassionate and sympathetic towards others in need, particularly towards 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. However, there are limits to her empathy; when Elida asks her if she knows what it's like to only be alive when you're with someone, Aloy admits that she doesn't, since she's never been in love before and is a loner by nature. 

As a former outcast-turned-Seeker, Aloy has little respect for laws, especially if they get in the way of what she believes to be right. This is especially shown in regards to the law forbidding contact with outcasts; having once been an outcast herself, she willingly talks with and assists them, with no concern for the possible consequences. She also encourages people who start questioning harsh laws. Among the Banuk, she readily encourages tribesfolk who themselves start to ask these questions. In a private conversation with Talanah, Aloy states that she doesn't even consider herself part of the Nora tribe, believing 'Aloy despite the Nora' to be a more fitting name than 'Aloy of the Nora'. As such, she is absolutely outraged when the group start worshipping her after she learns the truth about herself, considering being treated as an idol to be no different than being an outcast, and outright rejects the title 'Anointed' they bestow upon her. 

Aloy has shown great physical and emotional resilience during her journey, always moving towards her goal despite the harsh obstacles she comes across. When she discovers that she is not the child but a clone of Elisabet Sobeck created by GAIA, Aloy is shattered by this revelation, feeling like she is a instrument born in destruction and fire. However she quickly gathers 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 Corruptor'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.[3]

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.[4]
  • 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. Game Informer #82: Woman vs. Machine
  4. 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