Smoke and mirrors.
Horizon Zero Dawn was released exclusively on the PlayStation 4 earlier this year and was a huge hit with both gamers and critics alike. The game not only featured gorgeous graphics and fun gameplay, but also presented us with a vast open world filled with interesting quests and characters.
Given that the game’s map was highly praised, it may seem odd that developer Guerilla Games hasn’t specified exactly how large the map is. In a recent documentary released on YouTube about the game, Jan-Bart van Beek, Studio Art Director at Guerrilla Games, revealed that it was feared that players immersion might be ruined if they knew exactly how large the map was. He explained the development team used a few tricks to make the map seem vast, when in reality it’s smaller than it looks.
“Everything is smaller. If a mountain is 3000 m high we make it 300 m. So it works, and you can go through it rapidly, but it feels big. It always feels bigger than it is,” he said. “We never say that, because it will destroy the illusion. If people knew how big it really was, they’d be disappointed. It’s better to let them experience the world, than to define it in figures.”
Regardless of what tricks were used, the map itself is still very large and takes some time for players to cross from point to point, even when using a mount. You can check out the full documentary video below: