- "A killing machine that disappears into thin air. Just what the world needs."
- ―Aloy, upon sighting a Stalker
The Stalker is a machine in Horizon Zero Dawn. Unlike other Combat Class machines which employ direct, open aggression, Stalkers employ stealth attacks. Coupled with the fact that they are mostly found in jungle environments, in which combat is in itself challenging, this makes Stalkers highly dangerous.
Unlike other midsized Combat Class machines such as Sawtooths and Ravagers, a Stalker's armor plating is black, and is composed of relatively small hexagonal plates that fit together in a chainmail pattern, rather than large, fitted pieces. This gives it a very sleek and organic shape like a leopard. Stalkers have a set of three visual sensors on each side of their head, arranged in a triangular configuration. Each of a Stalker's four feet is equipped with three claws. Atop its back, at the base of its long, slender neck and between its shoulders, is a dart gun. On each hip is a mine launcher that drops proximity mines. A power cell is atop its lower back, to which four long, antenna-like structures are attached. The machine has a retractable tail that is almost twice as long as its body, equipped with a sharp spike at the tip.
Stalkers were not one of the machines first encountered by humans when the tribes first settled in their respective territories, appearing only after the onset of the Derangement. They are normally found in the jungles south of Meridian, where their ambush abilities are most effective. However, one was encountered by the Nora Brave Aloy close to the Nora Sacred Lands territory. It killed a Carja named Dirid whom Aloy had tracked down and was speaking with. Aloy subsequently engaged and killed the Stalker.
A Stalker will, like all machines with the exception of the Tallneck, attack a human on sight. By default, it employs ambush attacks, which it was built for. A Stalker has the following abilities:
- Cloaking: Using a stealth generator to bend light around its chassis, the Stalker possesses the ability to turn almost completely invisible, allowing it to ambush an unwary enemy while remaining unseen. However, the cloak is not perfect, as it produces a refractory effect around the chassis that is visible to sharp eyes as the machine moves. In direct combat, the cloak provides a significant advantage to the Stalker. However it can be disabled.
- While cloaked, the Stalker cannot be scanned with a Focus.
- Dart gun: The Stalker can use this quiet projectile weapon for short-range attacks. Coupled with the cloaking ability, an unaware human will almost certainly fall from a shot without prior warning, as happened to Dirid.
- Firing the dart gun temporarily turns off the stealth generator, revealing the machine's position.
- Proximity Mines: As it turns invisible, the Stalker places numerous proximity mines on the ground. These explode if anything gets near them, inflicting heavy damage and distracting Aloy from the Stalker. The launchers can be disabled.
- Tail: As a means of close-quarters melee combat, it can use its retractable tail to strike opponents.
- Ambush: Stalkers can often be found attached to trees or cliffsides, waiting to drop down on prey. They also move with their bodies held low to the ground, partially obscured by the undergrowth. They will frequently set alarms on the ground that sound off and release flares in response to an enemy moving nearby, alerting them. These alarms appear not to be triggered by anything smaller than a human.
- Pack hunter: While most often a lone hunter, Stalkers can sometimes be found in pairs or small groups.
- Dart Gun Shot
- Mine Launch
- Mandible Stab
- Claw Swipe
- Mandible Stab
- Jumping Mandible Stab
- Claw Fury
- Tail Swipe
Weaknesses and Tactics
Stalkers are highly susceptible to shock. Ammunition such as shock arrows from a War Bow, shock bombs from a Sling, or shock lines from a Tripcaster, stun a Stalker much faster than other machines. A shock bomb will immediately incapacitate the Stalker for a short time, rendering the machine helpless.
Given the machine's highly effective and lethal stealth capability, it is highly recommended that the player locate the Stalker before it can ambush Aloy. The player should first hide in the nearest clump of tall grass and look for the Stalker as it prowls, attempting to find Aloy. Equip a shock weapon, lure the Stalker close with Lure Call, then shoot it when it gets close, or lay a shock wire in its path as it approaches. Once it is stunned, the player can attack it with a Critical Hit, causing significant damage. If the Stalker recovers, the player can immediately stun it again with another shock weapon and attack with another Critical Hit. Use of Sylens' Lance, which is itself a shock weapon, allows for continued stunning while attacking with Critical Hits.
- Prior to the Derangement, a less aggressive version of the Stalker existed. Rost has portions of this machine's armor woven into his clothing.
- The name "Stalker" was coined by Ghalidid, a Hawk of the Hunters Lodge who was the first to encounter this variant of machine.
|Acquisition Class||Broadhead - Charger - Glinthawk - Grazer - Lancehorn - Rockbreaker - Scrapper - Snapmaw - Strider - Trampler|
|Combat Class||Ravager - Sawtooth - Stalker - Stormbird - Thunderjaw|
|Recon Class||Longleg - Watcher (Redeye Watcher) - Tallneck|
|Transport Class||Behemoth - Fire Bellowback - Freeze Bellowback - Shell-Walker|
|Chariot Class||Corrupted Machines - Corruptor - Deathbringer - Metal Devil|