Those That Hunt For New Hunters: Horizon Zero Dawn

Those That Hunt For New Hunters: Horizon Zero Dawn

September 11, 2018 Off By Chase

It seems like everything finds life through Kickstarter nowadays. The number of projects that go to Kickstarter with modest targets then funding almost immediately and blowing through their stretch goals strongly hints that the gameplaying audience is thirsty for content that traditional publishing is just not providing. One of the latest such projects is the campaign Steamforged Games has proposed to bring Horizon Zero Dawn to the table in 2020.

The Day After the Day After the World Ended

Horizon Zero Dawn is an open world RPG that came out for the PlayStation 4 in February 2017. It’s an adventure that follows the exploits of Aloy, a young woman who trains to become a hunter for a tribe of settlers. Her tribe both venerates and fears the story of the “Old Ones” who created great cities but later fell to some unknown calamity. In their wake rose machines that till the land and dominate the world, and tribes like Aloy’s hunt them for parts and resources. The circumstances of Aloy’s birth left her an outcast, and while she seeks to rejoin the tribe her encounters with ancient technology reveal secrets about herself and the world others would kill to protect.

As the story opens, the machines have become more aggressive, falling to some maddening disease. Aloy sets out to discover the source of the infection, the rise of new combat-focused machines, and stop the cultists that killed her adoptive father and threaten the lives of her tribe and others that inhabit this borrowed land. Horizon Zero Dawn immediately grabbed the attention of the video game world with its high concept, unique mechanical designs, blend of gameplay mechanics, and Aloy’s reverent determination. Within a year of its release, the game sold over 7.6 million copies worldwide.

The Breadth of the Path Undiscovered

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Board Game focuses on prospects of the Hunter’s Lodge, an organization dedicated to the preservation, celebration, and honing of machine-hunting techniques. Each player takes on the role of hunters from different tribes and customizes their gear and abilities through deck building, with each hunter preferring different playstyles like stealth, traps, or full-frontal assault. While cooperative, the hunters also compete for trophies, salvage, and glory with which to improve their standing with the Lodge. Play takes place on modular grids configured by paths chosen by the players, which offers various risk/reward scenarios and tactical situations.

This is Steamforged Games’ sixth Kickstarter project, with previous offerings including board game versions of Dark Souls and Resident Evil 2. Backers can pick up the 110-piece game set for £100/$129, which includes the base game and two expansions, as well as the Kickstarter-exclusive Aloy figure and unlocked stretch goals. Some of the larger, iconic foes like the Thunderjaw and Stormbird machines are available as optional add-ons and are massive figures compared to the base game’s offerings.

Resources Yet Untapped

Horizon Zero Dawn’s initial goal of $200,000 is but a memory, and the campaign is over $1,000,000 as of this writing with over two weeks left to pledge. The hunt is on for new tabletop experiences, and these campaigns show that adapting the gameplay from electronic entertainment is not only desirable, but necessary. To underscore this point, this isn’t the only such campaign I plan to cover this week.

Be careful which paths ye tread, good hunter.