Horizon Zero Dawn is out and is already being hailed as the visual benchmark for this generation of consoles. Guerrilla Games has designed an absolute graphical showcase of a world, for Aloy to explore.
However, it's not just the technology behind Guerrilla Games' own Decima Engine that makes Horizon Zero Dawn so good, it's the game's art-design too.
Often we've seen games where the graphics are great but at the same time the art-design is lacking any real character, or in turn you see games with a great art style to compensate for a smaller budget. Yet, it's the games with the memorable art design that can help a game stand the test of time many years later. Horizon Zero Dawn has the fortune of being a AAA game with both beautiful graphics and art design. This is evident in the way it has already inspired a near endless amount of fanart to look at, here I pick some of the best I've seen so far.
This piece a has a unique art style with its broad brush strokes, and at the same time fully captures the scope of the world through its combination of nature and technology -- Aloy engages in combat with basic weaponry against the might of an advanced technological monster.
Away from Aloy's line of sight, in the distance you can see another robotic dinosaur that looks like it's ready to attack her -- showing the viewer that despite being victorious in this battle she's never safe for very long.
This piece uses a softer look which helps capture an almost peaceful tranquility, as we are seeing Aloy emerge from the shadows into the larger wilderness.
Following behind Aloy looking into the distance helps portray the same sense of scope that the game has. The birds flocking together over mountains, the lush green forestry with its beautiful sunsets would almost hide the sense of danger that's around every corner, if it weren't for the portrayal of Aloy treading carefully with her bow in hand.
This image shows Aloys youthful appearance, and could give her almost a look of innocence. This innocence is overtaken by the intensity in her eyes, as she looks like could be calm in the midst of a battle as sparks fly around her.
I'm reminded of strong female warrior characters like Red Sonja or Ygritte from Game of Thrones, who aside from the red hair are both powerful female characters molded by their independance and the environment around them.
I really like the strong and detailed imagery in this piece. The intricate details in the robotic creature and it's lighting shadows stand out very nicely to my eye.
The image shows Aloy's bravery, as she faces off against a much larger adversary. Despite being so outmatched in comparison to her much larger foe, she manages to stand tall and looks every bit the hunter and predator she is capable of being.
In this image I get a sense that Aloy is looking deep within herself, and seeing that there is grand sense of adventure ahead of her. You see her looking into the horizon and the characters need to explore the land and discover its secrets shines through.
I was particularly drawn to the sunrise, that maybe represents a new dawn for her and her people, and that Aloy herself will help lead humans away from the darkness of their basic tribal existence into the light of the future.
Have you seen any more awesome fanart for Horizon: Zero Dawn? Let me know in the comments below about any I've missed.