make horizon zero dawn machines feel like living creatures staff : One of the most memorable features of the recent PlayStation 4 title Horizon Zero Dawn are the sophisticated robots, known as Machines, that wander the game world like a natural part of the landscape.

They are clearly automatons, with all their inner workings plainly visible. But they also exhibit unmistakable animal-like behaviors and movements. These Machines are a key feature of the game’s unique primordial futurist milieu.

How were these distinctive robot/creatures conceived of and designed? We talked with several devs from Guerrilla Games, the studio behind HZD, to see just what went into the making of the Machines.

At the start of the design process, the team queried local Holland universities, including the Delft University of Technology’s robotics department, for assistance. (Among the insights gleaned — far-robots would potentially be 3D printed.) One question the developers posed: Are there areas of nature that could be improved upon?

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“Skeletons, they told us,” says Jan-Bart van Beek, studio art director. “Skeletons are kind of shit, because they’re on the inside,  surrounded by very soft tissue. And it’s a single point of failure — if your leg breaks, you’re pretty much dead as an animal.”

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