Horizon: Zero Dawn's weather system nearly had random lightning strikes, "but it just felt unfair"

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At one point in Horizon: Zero Dawn development, its complex weather system featured naturalistic lighting strikes that could hit the player and enemies alike. While that sounds like it would have looked impressive there's obviously quite the issue with random inflictions of massive electrical damage. 

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Speaking in an interview conducted with Official PlayStation Magazine, game director Mathijs de Jonge talks about the game's "very elaborate weather system" (Horizon: Zero Dawn litereally renders actual clouds). "We had some prototypes, for example, we had some lightning strikes that would randomly hit enemies or randomly hit the player," he says. "But it just felt unfair because you have no control over it, it just naturally happens and suddenly you have a lot of damage. So we took that out in the end." 

As a result, de Jonge explains, the system is more about effects and atmosphere than random acts of God killing the player. "The weather system is more impairing of vision for example," he says. "At night, robots can be harder to see but also can have lots of light and sparks when you shoot at them, so there’s a bit of a balance there." 

The weather does have at least one trick up its sleeve we haven't seen yet though, according to de Jonge: "We have - in a region that you haven’t played yet - we have dust storms as well, which really limit the visibility down." That must be the Sunfall region recently revealed in this Horizon: Zero Dawn map

Read more about Horizon: Zero Dawn and everything PS4 in the latest issue of Official PlayStation Magazine, on sale now. Buy future issues here.

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In former lives Leon's been a scientist, a musician and teacher, stints that included a shoe full of liquid nitrogen, a small tour of Germany and oh GOD so much marking.
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