Following months of anticipation, a new and exciting era for PS4 gamers is almost upon us with the release of Guerrilla Games’ post-apocalyptic action-RPG, Horizon Zero Dawn. With the arrival of a new PS4 exclusive from the Killzone developer comes a brave new protagonist called Aloy, and early indications suggest that we could be witnessing the birth of the newest PlayStation icon.
Move over, Nathan Drake. Here’s why we think Horizon Zero Dawn’s Aloy may become the new poster child for PlayStation…
1. Sony’s just retired one of its most iconic mascots
PlayStation has had a wide variety of colourful characters representing its brand over the years; from the first generations’ plucky bandicoot, to the vengeful demigod and furry Lombax that characterised the PlayStation 2 era. More recently that position has taken an altogether more realistic approach; largely becoming the responsibility of fortune hunter and funny man Nathan Drake. With Uncharted 4 marking the end of his high-octane adventures there’s obvious space for a new PlayStation icon to swoop in and steal the show. Sony is seemingly hoping that will be none other than Horizon Zero Dawn’s prehistoric heroine Aloy.
2. Games need more female icons
It’s a sad fact that videogames featuring female leads aren’t as well received as those starring males, a fact that Sony’s own President of Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, is all too aware of. According to Polygon he was “nervous to see the reaction from people” following Horizon Zero Dawn’s E3 2015 unveiling, unsure how audiences would react to the game’s female lead. However, gender hasn’t stopped Miss Croft from becoming one of the most iconic characters to ever grace videogames and, much like with Tomb Raider, if you have a well-designed character in an interesting world that offers a fresh and exciting new gameplay experience gender should be irrelevant. Aloy has the potential to also prove that a game can be just as successful with a female protagonist.
3. Aloy is well-designed
Aloy’s design has garnered her a lot of attention from gamers. Her look is striking and distinctive yet realistic and believable for a character in this world. She proves herself an interesting and memorable character not only thanks to her her unique tribal hunter design, but also the way she gracefully and effortlessly navigates this pre-historic-style world infested with the hostile remnants of a technology-crazed past. Her fearlessness and strength when faced with these alien inventions is admirable. Aloy knows how to handle herself and, unlike a lot of female characters, isn’t included simply to be rescued or for aesthetic value. Also her cunning ability to use her limited resources to take down foes and use their remnants for crafting shows she’s got not only strength in battle, but the intellect and know-how to survive.
4. Sony has faith in the franchise
Talking to MCV, Sony Interactive Entertainment UK’s product manager, Jon Edwards, said “Aloy is spirited, adventurous and driven to figure out the challenges that she comes across in this post-apocalyptic world inhabited by machines, you really buy into her as a tribal hunter and we think that the players will really enjoy playing as her” She’s a PlayStation icon of the future.”
Sony’s enthusiasm to make Aloy into an icon appears to indicate a desire to continue the franchise beyond this entry. The concept is a strong one and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Sony is aiming for this to be a long running series, bolstering what is an already strong line-up of first party franchises including Uncharted and The Last of Us.
5. Guerrilla Games has the expertise and experience
A potential icon needs a truly innovative adventure to stand out from the crowd and things are, so far, looking hopeful for Horizon. Crucially, it’s in good hands; Guerrilla Games is a seasoned developer that knows a thing or two about creating quality AAA titles. Unfortunately, although Killzone was a strong series, it has always been lost in the surge of big budget shooters, losing out to games that focus on the online element rather than where the series’ strengths lay – its story, characters, atmosphere, and setting.
With Horizon the team has spread their creative wings and come up with something that feels different and exciting. Of course, nothing’s for certain until the game is released, however, its skilful blend of action and strategy, intriguing portrayal of prehistoric civilisations and advanced technology and stunning world, all help to put Aloy in very good standing to become PlayStation’s next icon.
Do you think Aloy has the potential to become the next PlayStation icon? Let us know in the comments below.