Aloy gets ready to face Nemesis. Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores let’s see all the news and theories.
Far Zenith: The real threat…
The story of Horizon Forbidden West showed us that Aloy’s real threat is Far Zenith.
For those who don’t remind who they are, no worries, let’s refresh it together!
Far Zenith is an organization comprising the wealthiest and most influential personalities on Earth. Their Leader, Osvald Dalgaard creates “Project Odyssey” and endeavors to save humans from the “Faro’ Plague”. Sent to colonize a planet similar to the Earth in the Sirius System.
In the Sirius System, Far Zenith creates Nemesis, a collective consciousness of some of them.
Thousand years after the project launch, Aloy meets a group of Far Zenith. They are back to collect GAIA and its subordinate functions, in hope to restore another planet to live on.
We meet four Zenith members: Tilda van der Meer, Erik Visser, Gerard Bieri e Beta. Later, we discover Beta to be a clone of Elisabeth Sobeck, just like Aloy.
Further on, Aloy finds out that Far Zenith are the same people who first embarked more than a millennium ago.
Fighting against them is not easy at all. Their technologies are superior to those of Aloy and her companions. It will also take Sylens’ ingenuity and help to defeat them.
Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores…
Guerrilla let us know that the DLC will take place in Los Angeles, now a dangerous volcanic archipelago.
In Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores, Aloy will be traveling to a dangerous new region south of the Tenakth Clan Lands.
This new zone is called “Burning Shores”, it’s necessary to complete the main mission “Singularity” to access it.
We will later receive a call from Sylens and this will unlock the new content of Burning Shores.
A new and compelling storyline will follow up the story of Horizon Forbidden West.
New characters, new challenges and much more await us.
Not many details are given to us but we have some news about the Burning Shores’ world to shame:
- Next Level Clouds
- The Metal Devil
- The new Machine “Waterwing”
Next Level Clouds
Horizon world is well known for its breathtaking landscapes and infinite skies. Since its creation developers from various units cooperated to make it the most authentic and realistic possible. For the atmospheric effects specialists, this meant populating the sky with realistic clouds.
Clouds can help convey a mood. Along with the abundance of green, clear waters and cragged cliffs, the clouds of Horizon bring to the world emotions. To achieve this, they had to be more than white wisps; they needed movement, variety, and definition.
“For Horizon Zero Dawn, we’d explored various methods for creating cloudscapes. Voxels are blocks that can build volumetric 3D clouds. We’d actually made a cloud simulator and experimented with rendering three-dimensional ‘voxel’ data in real-time.” – said Andrew Schneider.
“But technologically, it was too early for this,” Andrew recalls. “The hardware and software just weren’t at the right stage of development. So, we settled with modeling clouds in an efficient-to-render way that still yielded high-quality results, but with more modeling effort than simulation.”
So the solution was to paint fixed layers of clouds rather than individual formations. But this process would need to be expanded to support the addition of flying mounts in Horizon Forbidden West.
Andrew and Nathan upgraded the rendering quality of the base system used in Zero Dawn. Expanding it to support a new fog-like cloud that the player could fly through at low altitudes.
This allowed for awe-inspiring atmospherics, like a superstorm with sinister vortex motion and internal lightning effects. Now, the clouds were a “character” of their own.
“We looked to artists who were part of the luminism movement for inspiration, like 19th-century painter Albert Bierstadt. These painters had mastered the interplay between clouds and the land beneath, using light and detail to create space, producing truly dramatic landscape paintings.”
The Technical Challenge
The next step was to continue innovating this system for Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores. For the expansion, the team has elevated the experience using voxel technology, among many other technical improvements throughout the world.
“PlayStation 5 can handle larger datasets. So, after Forbidden West wrapped, we set to work writing a voxel cloud renderer prototype that could live up to our standards for quality, and actually allow the player to fly through highly detailed cloud formations.” – explains Andrew.
Balancing performance/quality, in a scenario that allows moving both on the ground and in the sky, is a tough challenge.
“Quality usually comes at a ‘cost’ in terms of processing. So, every time we improve the quality of our clouds, we need to do so in a way that costs either as much as, or less than, the current cost of the cloud system.” – Andrew continues.
The prototype generates dense and dynamic clouds at high and low altitudes, thanks to the greater computing power of PlayStation5.
“To find this balance, Senior Principal Tech Programmer and graphics engineer James McLaren helped the team understand how the code behaved at a low level on the PlayStation hardware itself, taking full advantage of the hardware by optimizing code for the PlayStation 5. “James’ contributions were fundamental in the early stages of development, allowing Guerrilla to push the boundaries during production,” recalls Andrew.
The enormous work gives the possibility to hover freely among the clouds. With a varied and defined aerial landscape exactly like the terrestrial one. All this on the back of a Sunwing.
The Metal Devil
It’s one of the 3 machines from the Chariot Line, built by FAS during the mid-21st century. He was referred to as FAS-BOR7 Horus and was also referred to as “Titan”.
Horus started the “Plague of Faro”, which eradicated all life on Earth.
Exploring Aloy’s world we find 4 Horus:
- One is found in the southern part of the Sacred Land of the Nora
- One is located on the southern perimeter of the Banuk territory
- One in the Carja Sun Kingdom deep in the jungle to the south
- The fourth location is in an unknown desert
The Horus has ten legs with four long triple-jointed legs supporting the “tail”. Six shorter legs support the front of the main chassis. It has thick black armor and four huge tentacles on its front. Each is equipped with a massive drill, designed to penetrate heavily armored fortifications and bunkers.
- Siege Drills: Mounted on the end of tentacles, easily tunnels into the toughest of fortifications. Allowing smaller units to breach enemy defenses or allowing the Horus to reduce a structure to rubble.
- Replication/Repair Bay: The Horus features a repairing and manufacturing bay. It can churn out new machines at an overwhelming pace to replenish a swarm.
- Size: The Horus could simply use its impressive size and heavily armored chassis to trample anything in its way.
- Biomatter Conversion System: This system allows Horuses to turn any organic matter into biofuel.
- Polyphasic Entangled Waveform Encryption: The Horus can’t be remotely accessed or hacked, this security encryption is into the operating system.
- EMP Charges: These could be fired or flung from the Horus to take out communications or other electronic devices. They would be manufactured in the Horus and then dispensed on the top.
The New Machine “Waterwing”
Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores’ world introduces new machines. The only one Guerrilla revealed to us in a Tweet is the “Waterwing”
The Waterwing is a medium-sized flying machine that can dive deep underwater. It is highly maneuverable and, when disturbed, is an unrelenting foe.
Next Villain Theory AKA Nemesis…
Digging into the Lore of the previous chapters we found surprising clues that let us imagine a bigger picture. Guerrilla may have hidden the future of Horizon right under our noses. Let’s see together what we have discovered by putting together the data points found in the game!
Who is Vast Silver or rather what is it?
It is an AI designed as a climate intervention system to cope with the collapse of 2030. The name of Anita Sandoval, chief programmer of CYAN, is associated with its creation.
He rebels against its creators and hides in the Net. Around 2044, Vast Silver reaches a high level of sentience on par with humans.
Turing Act is created to regulate the creation of AIs with a sentient level no higher than 0.6T. Not only was Vast Silver out of limits, but so were GAIA and CYAN.
These details are hidden by the creators of the AIs, Elisabeth Sobeck, Kenny Chau, and Anita Sandoval.
Remaining hidden in some Web, Vast Silver could have survived the “Plague of Faro” and have reached the Singularity.
What is the Singularity?
Speaking of AI we mean to describe a hypothetical future in which technological growth is out of control and irreversible.
These intelligent and powerful technologies will radically and unpredictably transform our reality.
Past Silven in…Horizon Forbidden West
On the Isle of Spires, there is the data point of Vast Silver or should we say, Past Silver. The messages between DrWyvern and Cableguy are about Vast Silver. It’s still alive and it’s not been terminated but only confined to some offline bunker and used to “solve problems”.
It is considered too important as a resource to be “destroyed”. Most likely Ted Faro will have put its potential to military use; thus creating the Top Secret project “Ramses”.
DrWyvern >Born in prison, so you escape
DrWyvern > They get you again, tell the world they killed you
DrWyvern > But they secretly let you fix their problems
Vast Silver is a Singularity and certainly does not like the treatment received. Capable of feeling emotions like the humans who created him, he could be plotting in search of revenge.
What do we know about Nemesis?
The year 2365 estimates the arrival of the Far Zenith on the Sirius system. During the colonization phase, create Nemesis.
Nemesis is a Hyper-advanced AI created from copies of their minds. Thanks to it, the Zenith seeks to obtain immortality not only of the body but of the conscience.
The project fails and Nemesis with it, the Far Zenith then decides to confine Nemesis without destroying it. Unwise move for the Zenith, to entrust all their knowledge, experiences, emotions, past memories to an AI. Confinement and abandonment lead Nemesis to develop a deep hatred, transforming him into a fully sentient AI. Its purpose is to eliminate the Zenith, humans.
With archived knowledge, Nemesis almost completely wipes out the Colony on Sirius. Some Zenith manages to escape aboard the Odyssey heading to Earth for GAIA in an attempt to colonize another planet. Aware of this Nemesis in 3020, launches the Extinction signal to GAIA Prime on Earth to transform Hades.
The Signal isn’t transmitted to Hades, so Nemesis sees no other solution than to pursue the Zenith survivors on Earth.
What are its capabilities?
- Computer Hacking – With the collective knowledge obtained from the Zeniths. Hacked the entire colony of Sirius and destroyed it. It can hack HADES and turn it into a rogue AI.
- High-Level Intelligence – Nemesis is considerably more intelligent than HADES and HEPHAESTUS, who develop human-level sentience, like GAIA and CYAN.
- Expert Tracker – Despite being 81 trillion kilometers away, Nemesis can easily track GAIA Prime’s signal while on Sirius. The main goal is to turn the HADES subordinate function into a rogue, self-aware AI against the Zeniths.
Its abilities remind us of what Sylens says to Aloy about it: -“Perhaps Tilda didn’t adequately define the threat. Nemesis can’t be stopped.
Nemesis is a curious…name
The name Nemesis comes from the Greek Goddess of Justice and Vengeance. It fits perfectly with the AI’s evil intentions to take revenge against the Far Zenith after being abandoned.
Similarities between FARO and Far Zenith…
Theodor “Ted” Faro, is the founder and owner of Faro Automated Solutions. He gains worldwide popularity for his work and is referred to as “the savior of the planet”.
The great success achieved does nothing but fuel his egotistical and megalomaniac personality. His poor, if not total lack of foresight dooms the world to be wiped out twice.
We find him again in Horizon Forbidden West when Aloy goes to Thebes together with the Quens.
He is venerated by the Quens who call him “Renewer”, unaware of his past. Dies in the mission “Tomb of Faro”, the Quens discover the truth about the past of the Ancestors. Ted Faro’s insistence on creating a “kill switch” for GAIA as a failsafe is the only redeeming act he leaves behind.
We now come to the Far Zenith, they too share a self-absorbed and megalomaniac personality with Ted Faro.
They too make the mistake of using a Singularity, Nemesis, to pursue immortality. Failing in their intent, they confine the AI without destroying it.
“Earth is finished, Aloy. Nemesis will scour it of life to deny its creators a viable home. But Elisabeth’s dream won’t die. You’ll come with me to the stars. And with GAIA we’ll create a new world, together.”
Tilda tries to get Aloy to leave Earth. Rejected, shows all of her despicable side of her, and she calls upon the Specter Prime in an attempt to kill Aloy.
We all know the end of the latest Zenith sees them leave the scene once and for all.
Could Vast Silver be Nemesis?
- Both are Singularities
- Both were created and then abandoned
- Both have remained hidden to plan their revenge against their creators
- A fragment of Vast Silver resides in the copy of Apollo that was given to the Far Zenith
- Ted Faro uses the Omega Code to obliterate Apollo by destroying Vast Silver
With Vast Silver removed on Earth, nothing prevents Vast Silver on Sirius (called Nemesis by the Zenith) from planning his revenge, both on them and on Earth. If that were the case, Aloy and her companions would be facing a Singularity.
The chances of winning seem slim if any. Only one thing could stop Nemesis once and for all and that’s the perfect copy of the woman who created him in the first place, Elisabeth Sobeck.
This could lead to an Epic ending of Horizon’s world, Aloy as Elisabeth would sacrifice herself to save Earth and life on it.
We are ready to immerse ourselves in the Burning Shores and as Aloy says in the closing of Forbidden West:-” A more difficult undertaking than those faced so far awaits us. But fear won’t stop me. Because for the first time in my life… I feel like I’m not alone.”
Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores release date is on April 19, 2023, only on Next-Gen.
By pre-ordering Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores we will have access to the following bonuses:
- Blacktide Dye Outfit (Available at the first merchant)
- Blacktide Sharpshot Bow (Available from the first Burning Shores merchant)
We can’t wait to venture into the immersive world of Burning Shores…Are you ready?
Keep up with us and never lose news from Aloy’s journey!
Horizon Forbidden West™: Burning Shores (PlayStation Store)