The feature was removed in response to player feedback during playtesting.
Guerrilla’s Horizon: Zero Dawn is a staggering achievement of open world game design, made even better when you consider that this was their very first attempt at making an open world RPG at all- before this, they had mostly made linear shooters with Killzone.
However, they had to work very, very hard to get it all right. This involved extensive playtesting, wherein certain features that they had imagined would go down well were removed as a response to player feedback. For instance, one of the features was a transition screen that would show you slowly moving from one part of the map to the other when you fast travelled- not unlike Indiana Jones movies. During playtesting, however, it was found that players thought it made fast travel too, well, not fast, an the feature ended up being removed.
“At some point we had built something that was like a jet flying over the map, which would be like Indiana Jones, where you would see Aloy traveling over the map, to where you were fast traveling,” Mathijs De Jonge, designer on Horizon, said to Noclip in an interview. “But in the play test, what we saw was that people thought it took way too long to travel there… it wasn’t fast travel, that was the main complaint. It was travel, but it wasn’t fast. So we completely ditched that, and had the loading hints, which also help. If you now fast travel, you get hints which help with progression, or to highlight certain features of the game. And we finetuned that feature so that they would dynamically adjust based on what killed you, or something.”
While the feature does sound great, it also sounds like something that would end up being annoying with each fast travel- in the end, I think I much rather prefer Guerrilla’s chosen approach, even though it ended up being far less unusual than the Indiana Jones style map would have been.