An early prototype of Horizon Zero Dawn from 2012 appears to have surfaced online and it shows Aloy utilizing a scrapped flying mechanic.
In a video, by Nixian on YouTube (shared via the Horizon Zero Dawn Subreddit), we can see what could have been. The video features clips that appear to be from various early builds of the game, including one from 2012. In that footage, we can see a very stripped-back version of Aloy riding what looks to be a basic-looking Glinthawk.
It's not entirely clear where this footage of the game has come from, however, traces of a different build featured in the video can be seen during The Making of Horizon Zero Dawn NoClip documentary. If you’re well versed in the Guerrilla Games title, you’ll probably already recognize the city of Meridian - even in its very early state.
It seems like the idea of Aloy flying winged machines stuck around for at least a while during production as in the same Nixian video we can see Aloy - now with more features and textures - briefly flying another Glinthawk in footage from 2013. The feature doesn't feature in the rest of the video, however, as it shows how development progressed on the game throughout 2011- 2017.
It's not clear why this mechanic was scrapped, especially when it managed to appear in at least a couple of early builds of the game. There’s always a chance though, that we could end up seeing some kind of revision of it in the game’s sequel Horizon Forbidden West - which is due to release on the PS4 and PS5 on February 18, 2022.
Can’t get enough of Aloy and the Machines? Find out how to listen to the Horizon Zero Dawn official podcast which will bridge the gap between the game and its upcoming sequel.