The game organically became an RPG over the course of development.
Horizon: Zero Dawn is one of the most eagerly anticipated upcoming games- and yet, it is also a very unlikely one. After all, how did the developers of Killzone, a series of some of the most linear shooters on the market, end up making an open world action RPG? How did that even happen?
In an interview with Game Informer, Guerrilla Games tackled that question, noting that the game’s development as an RPG happened organically from the initial concept, rather than the developers setting out to make an RPG, and then melding the concept of the game around the genre.
‘We wanted to make this open world. We felt we needed more systems than we’ve ever had to tell the story. We wanted to have basically a dialog wheel to explore much more lore and much more background information about these characters, and about the world and all its mysteries. We also wanted to have quests, a quest structure in there, so you can do a main quest, a tribe quest, some kinds of activities,’ Mathis de Jonge, director of Horizon Zero Dawn, said. ‘We’ve been working at this concept from a development point of view- what works well for this game? What works for this concept? And then we’ve added these features. We haven’t said from the start that this will be an RPG, and it needs to have these features- it never happened like that. It was always decided that we would move from the conceptual point of view, an [go by] what works best for the game.
‘So for example we also have the combat numbers when you shoot a machine, you see these floating, some people would classify that as an RPG element. But we basically need this element because we need to tell the player how much damage they are dealing to the enemy if they are shooting at armor, versus shooting at weaker points. It’s this kind of feedback system that is basically needed for the game.’
Which sounds like the best and most perfectly reasonable way to do things- this might be why Horizon looks to be just so organic, intuitive, and seamless, versus so many other games on the market that seem like they are collapsing under the bloat of their own UIs.
Horizon: Zero Dawn is set to launch on PlayStation 4 exclusively next February.