Can real life compete with increasingly sophisticated virtual games? For millions of enthusiastic gamers across the globe, the answer might be a resounding no. Horizon Zero Dawn: The Making of а Game details the development of one of the industry's most popular titles, and examines the means by which it has infiltrated and dominated a rabid gaming culture.
Tens of thousands of eager fans line the streets of Anaheim, California. Barely contained behind barricades, they await the first public unveiling of Horizon Zero Dawn. The thrill of anticipation couldn't be more intense. For these and countless other players, gaming is more than just a hobby. It's a way of life.
Modern day gamers want ultra-realistic fantasy environments with compelling plots, empathetic characters, and soaring adventures. They want to feel like the hero of their own story, and to share a communal experience with others just like them.
The creators of Horizon Zero Dawn know this audience well. Developed by Guerilla Games out of Amsterdam, the game's narrative follows a strong female protagonist named Aloy as she struggles to uncover the secrets of her origins while venturing through a post-apocalyptic landscape ruled by deadly robots.
The documentary guides us through each stage of the game's evolution, and features the insights of many members of the game's creative team along the way, including story developers, character designers, graphic artists, musicians, producers and directors. We witness a group of actors as they portray the game's fantasy situations on uncluttered studio floors. Each are dressed in motion sensors from head to toe, which empower designers to replicate their exact movements and facial expressions with breathtakingly precise detail.
The final results of these efforts have entertained millions. But at what point can a pleasant distraction become a destructive, all-consuming obsession?
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Making of а Game provides a fascinating and instructive glimpse at the inner workings of a $100 billion a year industry, and expresses great admiration for the creative forces behind it. In the process, the film also explores the long-term psychological and cultural impact that these creations might have on individual players and the society at large.