Note: This blog was originally posted by German Fandom Staff Meike. You can find the original blog on the German Horizon Zero Dawn Community Blogs.

After several iterations of Killzone titles, Guerrilla Games wanted to develop something completely new and fresh. After a staggering 36 concept ideas ranging multiple genres, the studio settled on one idea in March 2010 -- Horizon Zero Dawn. After seven years of development that included some financial difficulties and doubt, the time has come to see all their hard work pay off.

HZD Explore Blog Jan Bert van Beek

Guerrilla Games Art Director Jan Bert van Beekon on the comparisons to Killzone and Horizon Zero Dawn: "The transition from Killzone was extremely interesting, both artistic and technical. The levels at Killzone were linear, at most tortuous. We had everything under control. In an open-world game this is quite different. The player is freer and can tackle things as he wants. We had to look at the world from the 360-degree view, all the different directions the player can take, the way things would look, the outlook ... all these aspects."

With any open-world game, questions arise to how it will stand out from the others:

  • How much variety does this world offer the player?
  • How much grind is involved?
  • Is the plot exciting and are the side missions enticing?

The creation of a new world has obviously been taken very seriously at Guerrilla. Horizon Zero Dawn offers many different biomes. Each has its own machines with unique behaviors. There is a day-night cycle as well as a dynamic weather system, so you get the weather that suits the respective ecotope. The weather system can also make the game experience easier or harder. If you play Aloy as a cautious hunter, dense fog can naturally simplify stalking. If the player prefers to attack from afar -- fog is not particularly helpful.

HZD Explore Blog Sturmvogel

There are many different environments such as deserts, snowy mountain peaks and jungle

It’s refreshing to know that the game possesses a lot of diversity. Tribes vary in appearance and culture, helping Aloy with different quests and traders. If you’re worried about the open world grind -- fear not! After about 10 hours of game play, there was not a single monotonous quest. I’m sure it comes as a huge relief to many, myself included.

In the E3 trailer, a wooded, autumnal environment was presented. But there are many different landscapes such as deserts, snowy mountain peaks, and jungle. In the recently released trailer "Overwhelming Odds", we caught a glimpse of the beauty and array of Aloy's world.

A herd of grazers scurrying their way into a deep canyon. Bullish behemoths stroll leisurely through a snowy forest. Aloy slips through a dense jungle, when a sawtooth suddenly jumps in front of her, who is invisible. A stormbird slides with wide wings out to the high snowy mountains. Below, is an area that could have once been a great metropolis. Rusty and overgrown with vegetation, most of the skyscrapers have long since collapsed. The remaining rust-brown buildings seem like the epitome of instability and only the Primal Mother knows why they are still standing after 1000 years.

On the ground, watchmen attentively observe their area. Next to them is a bus that has a tree growing out of it. The road on which she once stood has disappeared under grass and stone. The snowy mountains where dense clouds let through a few rays of light, cries a gray hawk. Animals are in abundance everywhere. Humans are clearly in the minority now and the tables have turned. The food chain has been altered.

HZD Explore Blog Dschungel

Most machines can be killed in close quarters, from afar, or in stealth...

A recurring theme, and the game’s overarching art style, is the post-apocalyptic metallic environment. Full of secrets and cryptic information, players will need to progress through the game to understand how the world has come to this.

In the tutorial, Aloy as a child finds an underground ruin and the Focus Scan. A small device with which it can analyze weaknesses and components of the machines. With the focus, she is able to closely examine the world around her and find some truths to the status of Earth.

HZD Explore Blog Focus

I want to refrain from telling you more about the main plot, but I have to say that I am very impressed! Not only is the open world genre refreshing, but the game’s combat system and controls are very appealing.

In the official trailers, we saw majestic landscapes, mechanical animal beasts and a fiery, strong protagonist -- all set in a beautiful, post-apocalyptic world. However, no trailer or preview can convey the experience, this pure feeling of play, of Horizon Zero Dawn.

Horizon Zero Dawn will be released on February 28th exclusively for PS4.