With the European Championship underway right now, you can say it’s hard to be Dutch. A soccer-obsessed country that has not qualified to participate in one of the biggest events of the moment certainly appears dire. “Missing out” while the rest go on celebrating, perhaps in the most uncanny 0f ways. But now the Euro 2016 related hooliganism has reached a new low (didn’t even think this was possible). Can’t we just say that we’re glad we don’t have to be part of this? We can leave these losers behind and show our worth in other areas. In an arena where not many would think the Netherlands could be a big player. A place where rivalries are not fought between countries or teams, but consoles. Yes, I’m talking about the world of video games!
The European Championship is not the only major event happening right now. Just a few days ago the Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3) wrapped up. The E3 is an annual trade fair held in Los Angeles and it’s the biggest of its kind. Thousands visit this event every year and it is watched online by even millions more. Publishers and developers of video games present both soft and cutting edge hardware to journalists and other industry insiders. This year the Dutch video game developer Guerrilla Games presented a new title which managed to captivate audiences and left them scraping their jaws off the floor.
E3 2015: Guerrilla’s first new IP after Killzone
The Amsterdam-based Guerrilla Games is known for producing the well-known franchise Killzone – futuristic first-person shooters which are exclusive to Sony’s PlayStation devices. These games are known for their stunning graphics and action-heavy, adrenaline-pumping gameplay, also being the most successful Dutch media production ever made. After their most recent title Killzone Shadow Fall, a critical and commercial success, Guerrilla Games set to work on a wholly new intellectual property (IP). Last year, at the press conference of Sony Entertainment, Guerilla Games unveiled their newest title: Horizon Zero Dawn. The footage which followed highly impressed the audience.
Instantly Horizon became one of the most discussed and anticipated video games. It became one of the primary reasons to own a PlayStation 4 – even Xbox One owners started questioning their decision. The demo showed an incredibly beautiful and detailed world, with some of the most impressive graphics which utilize the full potential of the PlayStation 4. But it was not only the beautiful graphics which made Horizon a title to keep an eye on. Part of what made Horizon so fresh was its unique portrayal of the future.
The post-apocalypse is a very common, at times even overused setting for many (graphic) novels, movies, and especially video games. To portray our world as a barren wasteland in which nature succumbed to the disastrous ways of humanity neither inspires positivity or hope nor displays much originality. In Horizon, we witness a post-post-apocalyptic world, one in which an apocalyptic event did happen, but the world seems to have recovered from it as nature has fully reclaimed Earth. Humanity serves nature again as in ancient times, and the remnants of what came before survived as robotic fauna, dethroning humans from the top of the food chain.
E3 2016: New astonishing footage
This year at E3, the game was presented again at Sony’s press conference, with yet another lofty reception. The game was played by journalists who recorded not just the freshness of the setting but gameplay as well. Will Horizon Zero Dawn live up the incredible hype it managed to build up? We can find out for ourselves when it releases March 1st, 2017.