On the second anniversary of Horizon Zero Dawn, Herman Hulst of Guerilla Games, took to the official PlayStation Blog to discuss the important milestone. As Managing Director for the studio, Hulst recalls where he was when their first new property since the Killzone series.
On February 28, 2017, Hulst was at GDC waiting for the launch and celebrating with the team and Shuhei Yoshida:
Celebrating the US launch with team @Guerrilla and @yosp. We are live!!!! pic.twitter.com/XpNojSftTQ
— Hermen Hulst (@hermenhulst) February 28, 2017
Usually, launching a new property is scary for game developers. Would gamers like and ultimately purchase their game? Or would everything they’ve done up to that point be met with ridicule? As it were, it the former, because, on that day, Horizon Zero Dawn received critical praise across the industry. From that day and well into 2019, Guerilla Games receives praise from fans about how much they love Aloy and her journey.
See, the earliest stages of Horizon Zero Dawn harken back to 2019. The studio was working on finalizing Killzone 3 on PlayStation 3 while some of the team focused prototyping a character, using models for Jammer. Aloy’s model proved challenging for the team, until Jochen Willemsen one day caught the flu, and did what we all do when sick: watch movies!
Seeing Dutch actress Hannah Hoekstra on the screen provided Willemsen with the basis for Aloy. The rest is history.
From there, Guerilla went onto prototyping the Thunderjaw first, using plastic coloured bricks put together, with each colour-brick serving as a part of the Tyrannosaur that Aloy could knock off.
I’d highly suggest checking the blog post for yourself, seeing as it’s a wonderful read. In two years, Horizon Zero Dawn sold “well over” 10 million copies since launching in February 2017, hitting eight figures in sales is no easy task by any means.