Guerrilla Games has announced that 10 million copies of the PlayStation 4 exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn have now been sold worldwide. As a celebration of both this and the fact that the game is two years old, the developers have revealed some interesting facts about the game.
Hermen Hulst, Managing Director at Guerrilla Games, has said in a blog post that he never expected that the company had something this special on its hands. He never anticipated that he would still be receiving messages thanking the team for the game they’d created two years after it released.
Hulst was also keen to tell fans that he’s so pleased that the community as continued to blossom over those two years. The creations they’ve made, from models and cosplay to photomode albums and YouTube series, still impress the team, making them feel as though all the work they’ve put into the game was worth it.
As a celebration of the game’s new sales milestone and the two year anniversary, Hulst revealed some development secrets that have never been shared before.
In the early days of developing Horizon Zero Dawn, 2010, there was no model for Aloy. Most of the Guerrilla Games team were finishing Killzone 3, so they used the Intruder Pilot model from that game, also known as Jammer, as a placeholder for Aloy during this phase of development.
The facial model for Aloy took a long time to find apparently. It took Jochen Willemsen, Conversation Director, coming down with the flu before the actor would be found. While recovering Willemsen saw a movie starring Hannah Hoekstra, a Dutch actor, on television. He was on the phone with the studio within minutes of seeing her, so the story goes, and the face of Aloy was found.
When work began on the machines of Horizon Zero Dawn, the giant tyrannosaur-like Thunderjaw was the first. It took a long time for the finessed design of the Thunderjaw to come about though, so until that point the machine was represented by a blockier version. This version looked like a giant toy, and was colour coded to show which parts could be blown away with weapons.
While it wasn’t known at the time, a prototype for a machine became an easter egg in Killzone Shadow Fall, which launched in 2013. This design was called The Predator, and was never actually used in Horizon Zero Dawn. However, some of the behavioural routines were used in the Sawtooth machine in the final game.
To create a placeholder for crowd noise the Audio Team recorded lots of people saying ‘walla’ over and over again. The placeholder was so effective that it’s still in the game to this day.
Rather than have an adult try to recreate the gurgling and cooing noises a baby makes, Guerrilla Games used an actual baby. The three month old daughter of Lucas van Tol, Music Supervisor/Senior Sound Designer, was recorded from the comfort of her own home one day.
At certain points throughout Horizon Zero Dawn there are bands and individuals playing instruments. The movements of these musicians was captured by the motion capture team, having invited the music team to come and play instruments in the studio one day. All musicians were playing whilst in full motion capture gear.
The sound team used animal sounds to give every machine an individual set of noises in the final game. The Watcher, a smaller machine, uses Chihuahua barks as an underscore for its sounds.
In order to compile a list of birds that would naturally appear in the world of Horizon Zero Dawn, Lucas Van Tol researched more than 750 species. He boiled the list down to the 30 that are in the final game, each with different noise sets for time of day, weather, height, and location.
The post ends with a message from Hulst saying that he hopes fans and newcomers continue to enjoy the world of Horizon Zero Dawn for many years to come. This is no indication of future DLC, or even a sequel, but given that the game has performed so well it seems likely that more content in this universe is on the cards.