“If people knew how big it really was, they’d be disappointed,” says Jan-Bart van Beek.
Horizon: Zero Dawn is one of this generation’s most breathtaking open world experiences. Featuring a vast open world and a unique science fiction setting, Horizon Zero Dawn managed to steal player’s hearts with its amazing cast of robot enemies and a story that will suck you right into it.
Despite featuring a massive open world, Guerrilla Games never mentioned its size. Given the size of the open world is one of the game’s many strengths, one wonders why the developers were uncomfortable in revealing the same. In a recent documentary released on Youtube, Jan-Bart van Beek, Studio Art Director at Guerrilla Games revealed why this was the case.
Talking about the game’s word, he revealed that the development team used techniques to make things look big than their original size, thereby creating an illusion effect. “Everything is smaller. If a mountain is 3000 m high we make it 300 m. So it works, and you can go through it rapidly, but it feels big. It always feels bigger than it is,” he said.
When asked about the size of the world, Jan-Bart van Beek revealed the reason why they were not comfortable talking about the same. “We never say that, because it will destroy the illusion. If people knew how big it really was, they’d be disappointed. It’s better to let them experience the world, than to define it in figures,” he explained.
It must be noted that much of game development requires technical wizardy along with a few shortcuts to achieve a desired target. So even if the game creates the illusion of the world being bigger that it actually is, it doesn’t mean that the map size is smaller. It’s just one of the many ways game developers approach and optimize their games to achieve the best possible result.
Regardless of how big the game’s world is (and honestly, it’s big and unique enough compared to other games who just bloat their map size for the sake of quantity), Horizon Zero Dawn is a phenomenal experience that should be experienced by every PlayStation 4 owner out there.