Some of you may have played Sony Interactive Entertainment’s most recent PlayStation 4 exclusive, Horizon Zero Dawn. For those that haven’t, it is an open world action RPG created by games studio, Guerrilla Games. At first look, it may seem like your average post apocalyptic story. That is just on the surface level, but it offers so much more. This is in the lessons it tries to get across during the 20 hours I spent on the story.
It revolves around a young girl named Aloy, of a tribe called the Nora. The world that she lives in is full of ruins of a previous civilization, and the creatures that live in it, are machines. The journey that this woman takes is centered around the search for her mother, and her origins. She was left as a baby in one of the ruins of what the current society call, “The Metal World.” Why was she left alone? Who is her mother? Those questions drive her, because the tribe that took her in casted her out because they believed her appearance to be a sign. Let’s just say it was not a good one. The Nora are deeply religious, and they believe the ruins of the old ones to be cursed, and their society revolves around a deity called “All Mother.” Aloy is left to be cared for by another outcast called Rost. Zero Dawn explores how less advanced societies interact with the world. The problems with them being so blind to their own religion that they cannot accept any truth other than what their religion tells them. The people of the Nora treated Aloy like crap growing up, not speaking to her, shunning her. This drove some of her anger towards them, and why she needed to find out her origins very badly.
Aloy’s journey takes her to ruins of the Metal World, where she starts making discoveries about the old civilization. Let’s just say those discoveries are shocking. Anyway, one place she goes is to a city called Meridian which has an interesting backstory of its own. The previous ruler, King Jiran, carried out attacks on other tribes in horizon’s world for many years. The reason for this was shocking. I won’t spoil the story, but it was so that these sacrifices would be made for his people, the Carja’s god. He believed that it would bring them favor, but it only brought pain and anger towards the Carja. This is another example of Horizon exploring religious zealotry. Treating human beings like garbage, and violent acts all in the name of something they do not understand. The game attempts to say that knowledge is key, it is not a curse. It is better to understand the world and how it works. Aloy’s journey is proof that the problems can only go away unless they are truly understood.
It is a very important lesson indeed.