No guns in Horizon: Zero Dawn to avoid cover shooter mentality

2 min read

Horizon Aloy

Horizon: Zero Dawn explores what happens after the post-apocalyptic game is over. Thousands of years in our future, how would technology have changed and who would society adapt? I am so keen to hear more about Aloy and her world, but I’m glad to hear that her bow will be the end all, be all, and I won’t be upgrading to a shotgun at any point in the game.

In the new issue of Edge, game director Mathijs De Jonge explains that guns went against Horizon’s personality.

What we saw with these prototypes was that as soon as you give someone a machine gun, it’s just spray and pray. It just becomes a cover shooter. We wanted the player to feel primitive, so we decided that the tribes would have very limited knowledge of technology. They don’t understand what’s going on with these machines, or how they work.

Early prototypes included a character model taking on an early version of the Thunderjaw (that giant robe-dinosaur Aloy fights in the E3 demo) using a machine gun instead of a bow and arrow. It immediately took away from the vulnerability and threatening feeling.

I’m so glad that they made this decision. There are plenty of games with guns on the market. By taking the guns away, they add so much more vulnerability. Sure, Aloy will have her bow and will still be a powerful lady, but this way it makes the game feel that little bit more foreign and unique. Besides, shooting robotic dinosaurs with guns? That’s far too easy.

Last Updated: August 3, 2015

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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