- Related Games:
- Horizon Zero Dawn
When Horizon Zero Dawn was finally released earlier this year, we were pretty chuffed to find that it actually delivered on all of Guerilla’s promises (robot dinosaurs, cool weapons, more robot dinosaurs etc…). What we didn’t expect to find, was an incredibly in-depth world, with a detailed backstory to boot!
Whilst many questions were answered, an equal number were left untouched by the time the credits rolled. Luckily for us, we’ve got some fresh story content to look forward to this Autumn in the form of The Frozen Wilds DLC.
In anticipation of said DLC, we’re hashing out which Horizon Zero Dawn mysteries we want solved in The Frozen Wilds. Oh, and a warning to those who have not finished the game: absolutely massive spoilers ahead. Really, I mean it.
Who is Sylens and What is He Up to Now?
I fear this may be a mystery best left answered in a potential sequel, but with no sequel announced, The Frozen Wilds is all we have.
Towards the end of Horizon Zero Dawn, Sylens, Aloy’s reluctant yet resourceful guide, unveils a pretty shocking revelation. Despite the fact that he’s been helping her to stop Helis and The Eclipse, Sylens is apparently responsible for founding Helis’s death cult in the first place. He then admits that he is also the one responsible for waking up HADES; the merciless AI currently threatening to kill everyone on the entire planet. To top things off, after helping Aloy to ‘destroy’ HADES, Sylens then pulls the old double-cross and returns to capture what remains of the still active AI.
So who exactly is Sylens, and what is he up to? We already know that he was able to awaken HADES, and that he has a suspicious amount of knowledge about the ancient technology that Aloy finds throughout her journey.
Evidence points to two possible theories; one, Sylens was once part of Faro Industries and has somehow survived thousands of years. Or two. like Aloy, Sylens is a clone able to access ancient technology with his genetic code. Either one of these theories could explain why Sylens seems to know that Aloy is the key to finding new information, and how he even stumbled across HADES in the first place.
Sylens’ conflicting motivations could have something to do with the elusive ‘master’ we hear HADES mention during the game’s epilogue. After all, Sylens was not the first person to prematurely wake HADES, as the records held by Zero Dawn’s benevolent AI; GAIA, revealed. HADES could have simply just been a pawn in the game of far deadlier foe, one that Sylens may be seeking to ally himself with.
Is Aloy Looking for Apollo?
A lot of knowledge was lost in the years between the apocalypse and Aloy’s birth, much of it because of one bad decision made by one very bad man.
Project Zero Dawn refers to the creation of a collection of AI designed to ensure that the next generation of humanity could successfully build and thrive. Alongside both HADES and GAIA, APOLLO also became integral to the near-failure of Project Zero Dawn. Aloy discovers that Elizabeth Sobeck (her ‘mother’) coordinated the archiving of humanity’s entire history into APOLLO, whose job was to then teach it to the newly created children.
However, as Aloy eventually discovers, APOLLO was never able to do this, thanks to the CEO of Faro Automated Industries. After witnessing his own robots malfunctioning and killing, Ted Faro decides to overthrow the council in charge of Project Zero Dawn. He murders every one of them and destroys APOLLO; for fear that the knowledge of humanity’s bloody history would lead to the new generation making the same mistakes.
So thanks to the terrible actions of one incredibly unstable person, humanity is now having to start from square one. Which considering her fascination with ancient technology and the love for her people, must upset Aloy quite a bit. So it’s very possible that The Frozen Wilds has Aloy searching for what may remain of APOLLO, in the hopes that not all of Project Zero Dawn’s knowledge was lost.
Where Did The Corruption First Come From?
Ted Faro may have done some pretty awful things, but he was not alone in his guilt. Firstly, it was Elizabeth Sobeck who actually designed the initial robots, with Faro’s own engineers taking over when she eventually left the company. Secondly, despite steering production towards weaponised machines, Faro never intended for robotic conflict to become so intense, let alone lead to a full-scale apocalypse.
When uncovering the story of Project Zero Dawn, Aloy encounters a lot of confusion surrounding how, exactly, Faro’s machines turned on their masters. Faro and his team refer to a ‘glitch’ which prevented the activation of a critical failsafe supposedly put in place to enable a mass shut-down of the machines, should they refuse to follow protocol.
See, Sobeck originally designed the machines to able to interact with living organisms, because her robots were meant to do Captain Planet proud and save the environment. However, when Sobeck left, Faro took this function and altered it so that his machines were capable of consuming organic matter to power themselves. Unfortunately, this also led to said machines running rampant in remote areas of the world, and feeding off its inhabitants.
So how did this happen? Aside from the obvious ‘greedy corporations do morally questionable things to make more money’, there may be three possible explanations.
The simplest of these explanations being that this ‘glitch’ was simply an accident; just one strange anomaly that caused the entire robotic network to isolate itself from the chain of command.
Another theory, is that Faro’s machines were potentially sabotaged by an outside agent; perhaps one of his many competitors, or maybe even a member of Sobeck’s environmentalist organisation looking to discredit him.
A more troubling explanation is that someone within the company, perhaps even Faro himself, was encouraging the machines to become more aggressive over time: leading to an uncontrollable situation. Faro industries could have intended for conflict to escalate to a point wherein they could sell as many machines as possible, before swooping in with a failsafe to save the day. Aloy can even find evidence to support this theory in an audio-log, detailing plans to incite more conflict in an effort to boost sales.
The conspiracy surrounding the existence of the ‘glitch’ and the years leading up to it, is important because it is very likely connected to HADES’ unusually bloodthirsty behaviour, and how the AI is able to corrupt other machines. If Aloy wants to stand any chance against whatever HADES is planning, we’d better hope she discovers its secrets in The Frozen Wilds.
Considering the sheer amount of content featured in Horizon Zero Dawn, it’d almost be disappointing for Guerilla to not reference at least one or two of these conspiracies in the upcoming DLC. Hopefully, The Frozen Wilds will provide us some answers to our many burning questions.