- "It's... huge. How do you defeat it?"
- ―Aloy, encountering a Sawtooth for the first time
Unlike the Zero Dawn terraforming machines, which were designed and controlled by Zero Dawn’s governing AI GAIA, the Sawtooth was designed by HEPHAESTUS, which had previously manufactured the machines under GAIA’s direction. When GAIA self-destructed, HEPHAESTUS gained absolute control over machine design and management as well as manufacture. Hostile toward humans for their predations on the terraforming machines for parts and resources, HEPHAESTUS made the machines hostile to humans, a phenomenon the tribes call the Derangement, with Watchers as lookouts against hunters. It then began producing Sawtooths and other combat machines as the next logical step in protection.
Sawtooths therefore represented a significant escalation in the Derangement. Units proved to be far more dangerous than any other machine previously encountered by the tribes. Hunting of terraforming machine herds became far more perilous due to the presence of Sawtooths guarding them. Many previously safe trails and wildlife hunting areas such as forests became high-risk due to the presence of Sawtooths. In the Nora tribe's Sacred Land territory, they attacked villages and hunting lodges, killing and maiming many Braves, who worked diligently to eliminate them.
The name “Sawtooth” was coined by the hunter Khuvam of the Carja tribe. A Hawk of the Carja Hunters Lodge, Khuvam responded to a request to the Lodge from the prefect of the Carja fort Daytower to find and eliminate a mysterious heretofore unknown machine that had dismembered all of the soldiers in his best cohort. Khuvam found and destroyed it, losing his left arm to the machine’s lethal jaws. Presumably upon observation of the pair of two long, serrated toothlike structures in its mouth, Khuvam dubbed the machine a Sawtooth. He then took said blades as a trophy.
The hunting and killing of a Sawtooth was the final test given to the Nora huntress Aloy by her guardian Rost as part of her training for the Proving. It also served as a lesson to impress upon her the role she would have in protecting the tribe as a Brave.
HEPHAESTUS appears to have modeled the Sawtooth after Smilodon fatalis, an extinct feline apex predator of the Pleistocene epoch, commonly called the saber-toothed cat. Like the saber-toothed cat, it is heavyset at the front, with a large, broad chest, neck, and shoulders, powerful legs, and no tail. Its mouth is equipped with a pair of curved, scimitar-like serrated spikes, like a saber-toothed cat's fangs. Two optical sensor arrays are located on its face, in the same position as a saber-toothed cat’s eyes. Each is composed of two sensors in a vertical configuration. A long, metal crest-like structure runs along the forward area of its back, and an array of three long antenna-like structures protrude from its back in a fan-like pattern, just behind the shoulders. Its paws are equipped with non-retractable claws. The shoulders, head, and neck are heavily armored. A power cell sits atop its hindquarters, and a canister of Blaze is ensconced in its chest.
Sawtooths attack humans on sight. They are usually deployed singly or in groups of up to three to protect herds of terraforming machines such as Grazers and Lancehorns. While the terraformers are busy working, the Sawtooth patrols around the herd, on a constant lookout against perceived threats. The distinctive, heavy sound of its servomotors and its deep, fearsome growls are easily heard. Frequently they are deployed in tandem with Watchers as a primary threat response, immediately converging on the position of any Watcher that sounds an alarm. They may also be found patrolling circuitous paths near areas that humans use as travel routes, especially if herding terraformers are in these areas.
- "An entire lodge, wrecked?"
- ―Aloy, surveying the carnage wrought by Sawtooths
|Name||Damage Type||Primary Damage||Trigger Range||Description|
|Berserker Fury||Melee||300||3m - 10m||Multiple lunging claw slashes|
|Claw Swipe||Melee||140||7m - 11m||Single lunging claw swipe|
|Jaw Smash||Melee||140||1m - 8m||Single swipe with jaw|
|Jumping Jaw Smash||Melee||180||16m - 23m||Single swipe with jaw after pouncing|
- Despite Rost telling Aloy that machines can communicate non-vocally, Sawtooths roar and growl like a lion.
- If significantly damaged, Sawtooths will begin limping, holding up one of their front paws in a manner similar to cats.
- During the game's development, Sawtooths were referred to as "Greywolves."
|Acquisition Class||Broadhead - Charger - FireclawFW - FrostclawFW - Glinthawk - Grazer - Lancehorn - Rockbreaker - Scrapper - Snapmaw - Strider - Trampler|
|Combat Class||Ravager - Sawtooth - ScorcherFW - Stalker - Stormbird - Thunderjaw|
|Recon Class||Longleg - Watcher (Redeye Watcher)|
|Transport Class||Behemoth - Fire Bellowback - Freeze Bellowback - Shell-Walker|
|Chariot Class||Corrupted Machines - Corruptor - Deathbringer - Metal Devil|
|Unknown Class||Control TowerFW|