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Horizon: Zero Dawn Developer Explains the Origin of their Iconic Heroine Aloy

by Kyle Hanson


Horizon: Zero Dawn has already reshaped gaming culture in a number of big ways, even before the game has hit store shelves. Its design was instantly ingrained into gamer’s consciousness, with its giant robotic enemies becoming instant fodder for fan art. Even beyond this though was the game’s main character of Aloy, who has already been the source of a ton of cosplay, and has inspired a lot of gamers due to her ability to buck female character trends. Now Horizon: Zero Dawn’s developer is explaining what went into the character’s design.

“Between an impressive cosplay scene and massive fan art community, few outside of Guerrilla Games’ could imagine the instant popularity of Horizon Zero Dawn‘s heroine straight out of the gate,” says Content Producer for Sony Interactive Entertainment, Corey Brotherson. “Aloy’s rise has been incredible to observe, given that for most of the world she didn’t even exist until June 2015. It’s a testament to her excellent design (something Horizon Zero Dawn is lavished with on a whole) — but like many iconic characters, there’s a distinct feeling that Aloy wasn’t so much created as she was discovered.”

Aloy’s red hair seems to be the biggest thing that stuck out upon her initial design, with Guerrilla Games’ Lead Narrative Designer John Gonzales saying it was like she “stepped out of the concept art and said ‘I’m going to be the lead character in this game'”.

According to Horizon’s Game Director, Mathijs de Jonge, the game is built on three pillars, with Aloy representing the first and most important one. The other two pillars were the beautiful, natural environment, and the machines that would populate it. Aloy had to contrast against these two things. “At the beginning of the project we didn’t exactly know what the rules of the world would be, so between these pillars, Aloy had to be a very agile and fluid character, and the combat mechanics and stealth system had to be tight.”

Of course, any character can be designed well, but if they don’t come across to the player as a real, living person then it can all fall apart. This is where the voice actor comes in, with Horizon: Zero Dawn pulling in Ashly Burch.

Click here to read all about the rest of Aloy’s design process, including how they put together her touch personality. Horizon: Zero Dawn hits PS4 on February 28th.

- This article was updated on:March 8th, 2018

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