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Horizon: Zero Dawn Interview with Jeroen Roding

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Horizon: Zero Dawn Interview with Jeroen Roding

Editors Note – The transcription was done by Jonathan Rivera

Gaming Instincts got the chance to speak with Jeroen Roding, Community Manager at  Guerrilla Games, about their brand new IP Horizon Zero Dawn and some details pertaining to it’s development and its playable demo.

Leonid Melikhov

Hello everybody. This is Leo from GamingInstincts.com, the co-founder and journalist. Today we’re going to be talking about Horizon Zero Dawn with…

Jeroen Roding

My name is Jeroen Roding. I am the community manager at Guerilla Games.

Leonid Melikhov

Sounds awesome. So, how long has the game been in development for.

Jeroen Roding

So, the game was, we started development after we finished Killzone 3, which is around 2010.

Leonid Melikhov

Oh, wow.

Jeroen Roding

We started with like a small team, a very small team thinking about concepts of what it, where do we want to go next. What kind of game we wanted to make. So, we sent out a company-wide pitch. Everybody could pitch in an idea on in term of like, okay. So, where do you want to go? And one of the ideas of this stuff with people was this lush, open beautiful world with mechanical robots with machines in it roaming the lands. That was our world and that world is now is no more. The humankind was the less dominant species and the machine were now the dominant species. So, that, in terms of that, that’s what kind of stuck with people’s, in people’s heads. And, and yeah, we revealed the game last year.

Leonid Melikhov

I was there.

Jeroen Roding

Yeah, and this year we kind of wanted to show more of the game and we decided we wanted [a] more gameplay-focused test. So, we have demo running, which shows more of a quest. It shows a little bit of dialogue and the choices you can make within the dialogue and shows a little more of the ecosystem of the robots. So, the ecosystem like, every robot has a role to play… [Whispers: Uh, so I think we need to stand up because…] [inaudible].

Leonid Melikhov

Okay.

[Sounds of distant chatter]

Jeroen Roding

So, we kind of want to show off the ecosystem of the robots. Like, every robot has a role to play the, the world of Horizon. Um, We can’t, like, go great really into detail, but you saw the Shell Walkers.

Leonid Melikhov

Right.

Jeroen Roding

Those are more like cargo, uh, uh, units that they shovel around cargo and it as good loot on them. So, uh, Aloy is, of course, our main character; our heroin and she’s an intelligent, uh, hero. She really knows, she really understands and she wants to understand the world’s, what happened [to it]. That’s, that’s her main quest. She wants to know what happened to the world, but also what happened to the [machines]. where did they come? So, that’s one of the key things that’s she’s looking for.

Leonid Melikhov

I see.

Jeroen Roding

And within that world she, she understands those machines. She has a special gift, so to speak. Um, She knows how to ancient technology. You saw the focus of eyes, where you can scan the robots, um, and you saw her overriding robots to make them command, like commandable. Like the mounts, for instance. The Broad Head. You can use that as a mount and if you hack the Watchers, or, I’m sorry, override the Watchers you can make them fight on your side for, for a brief period of time. So, we really wanted to show off multiple assets this year like more of gameplay and then the hands-on section where everybody can, like, play the game, which is… I mean, it’s pre-alpha, but you saw and you probably played it, which is like…

Leonid Melikhov

Right.

Jeroen Roding

It’s very fluid. It’s very solid. There’s no hiccups anywhere and this is an open world, a seamless open world; no loading times whatsoever.

Leonid Melikhov

Did you guys have difficulties because this is a game, is a very good-looking game? Did you guys have difficulties trying to get it to make it look that good on the PS4?

Jeroen Roding

It’s always a challenge tune your games starting with something new because we’re building this game from the ground up. We’ve always made corridor shooters like Killzone.

Leonid Melikhov

Like Killzone, yes.

Jeroen Roding

But we’re using the same technology. So, we have the same engine where we kind of tailored it to be open-world. So, there are obviously always a little bit of challenges, but we want to set the bar high for ourselves.

Leonid Melikhov

I can see that!

Jeroen Roding

We want to make sure that what we create is amazing in the ways of looks.

Leonid Melikhov

Of course.

Jeroen Roding

And that’s one of the key things that we want to push for.

Leonid Melikhov

What made you go with a female lead?

Jeroen Roding

It’s always been a female lead in our heads when we started with the game, like in the early days. We wanted a, like a heroin that was smart, and agile and cunning. She needed to use her wits and not her raw power unto itself. She needs to be agile and quick on her feet, but also intelligent enough. So that was, for us, like a, we wanted to make sure that was the case. And it was always from the start, like yeah, we want to do a female. It was like, we wanted something fresh for ourselves.

Leonid Melikhov

Of course. So, going from first-person shooters to action RPGs was probably a big deal for you guys. You had to learn a lot of systems and new things, and how did that go?

Jeroen Roding

It’s been… It’s been a journey. It has been a journey. Right now, coming fist-person shooters, we know the tricks of the trade, but we want to also challenge ourselves and set the bar high and this is something we’ve never done before. And like, let’s do this. We are very confident that we can do it and very confident that we can create something very beautiful that we’re doing right now.

Leonid Melikhov

What RPG games were your inspiration for this?

Jeroen Roding

Uh…

Leonid Melikhov

Or influences?

Jeroen Roding

We haven’t really looked at, like, other games. We’ve been more like… What we did was look at documentaries and that sort of stuff. Like, what would the world look like a thousand years from now if humans were no longer there.

Leonid Melikhov

Right.

Jeroen Roding

And just Planet Earth was a big influence in terms of like how do you make something look amazing. So, we kind of looked at that sort of stuff and less of the other stuff.

Leonid Melikhov

I see. Sounds great. Anything else you would like to tell us about Horizon before we take off?

Jeroen Roding

Well, it is up for pre-orders right now. It’s [the] 28th of February it’s going to be in stores. So, yeah. Buy it. It’s amazing. There’s a collector’s Edition and different kinds of editions for it.

Leonid Melikhov

Yeah, I’m definitely waiting for it to see. A lot of my friends are going crazy about it. So, we’ll see how it turns out. I think it’s about time you guys go to fresh because all you guys make is Killzone, Killzone, and I think are on a good way. And, just a quick thing. Are you guys going with this game in mind as a franchise in the future?

Jeroen Roding

Um, right now, we’re just focused on creating this game…

Leonid Melikhov

Right.

Jeroen Roding

And then, if it’s going to be a huge success, which we’re, I mean, it’s what we want…

Leonid Melikhov

Right. It looks like it so far.

Jeroen Roding

We want to make something amazing and start thinking about other iterations. Yeah.

Leonid Melikhov

I see. Awesome. Thank you so much!

Jeroen Roding

Thank you much!

 

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