Horizon: Forbidden West ‘Tallneck’ Set Announced. Explanation For Non-Gamers Follows…

The latest set announcement from the LEGO Group caught me a little by surprise. What on earth is Horizon Forbidden West, and what does a Tall Neck do? It turns out, I might have been living under some sort of a rock, as the game player in the house looked over my shoulder and muttered something along the lines of “Ok… now you have my attention.”

I managed to work out for myself that Horizon Forbidden West is the sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn, released in 2017, initially on PlayStation, then in 2020 on PC. The scenery and cinematics associated with the game are truly awe-inspiring. But I’m a bit out of the loop with the story, so I invited my son, Harry, to explain why this matters…

(Spoiler warning: if you are likely to play Horizon zero dawn, a game released in 2017, best go and take a look at another site. But if like me, this is unlikely, you have been warned.)

Horizon: Zero Dawn (and, by extension, Horizon: Forbidden West) For Dummies

About one thousand years after humanity was wiped out by glitched self-replicating machines known as the Faro Plague which could refuel by consuming biomass, life on Earth has been reseeded by a benevolent AI called Gaia, the end result of Project Zero Dawn (led by Dr Elisabet Sobeck) which was aimed at ensuring that the unpreventable extinction event caused by the robots would not be the permanent end of life on Earth. [There was an earlier draft of this which took 500 words to say that and included a lot more of the kind of messed-up lore from the 21st century of the timeline like the whole ‘giving a gun to everyone on Earth who can hold one and hoping they can hold off the swarm long enough for Project: Zero Dawn to be completed while telling them that Zero Dawn was a superweapon to wipe out the robots so they don’t lose hope and decide to stop throwing themselves into the meat grinder’-thing, but that’s neither here nor there.]

Gaia creates robot dinosaurs to serve as terraforming machines; the Tallneck is one of the terraforming robots, which in gameplay serves the purpose of revealing new areas on the map screen and highlighting all the collectibles. Humans are cloned from stored DNA and raised by other robots, but the system glitched because Ted Faro (the guy who created the original glitched killer robots and is legally not Elon Musk) destroyed every copy of the program which would have taught the reseeded humans about history and pre-extinction culture and killed the remaining project leads from Zero Dawn so they couldn’t fix it or try to kill him in retribution (except for Dr Sobeck, who died sealing the bunker the project leads were in from the outside to save them and the project from being discovered by the swarm). Sometime circa 3020, Aloy (the protagonist and the redhead minifigure that comes with the new set) is born an outcast from her tribe due to the circumstances of her birth, and is raised by Rost, another outcast. When she’s a kid, Rost takes her on a hunting trip to give the player a bunch of tutorials show her how to hunt the machines for parts (because all human history got destroyed, the cloned humans all basically reverted to tribal superstition but with added future technology from the terraforming robots), and Aloy finds a device called a Focus which gives her the detective vision from the Batman Arkham games, lets her interact with old tech like doors and audio logs, and makes her really good at hunting robots by letting her track footprints, see patrol paths, and highlighting weak spots. Time-skip about 13 years and she’s spent her life since then training to participate in a trial that will prove her a hunter and give her the right to know why she’s an outcast.

When the trial is interrupted by a bunch of raiders with mounted machine guns who can control the wild machines, however, she has to venture out into the open world to find out why they seemed to want her dead, why they keep trying to dig up old robots from the swarm that wiped out humanity the first go around, why all the machines are growing more hostile and more ‘hunter-killer’ machines are being created, and also the answer to why she’s an outcast.

For those who don’t care about even more spoilers to a five-year-old game, the answers to those questions in order are:

  1. Because a computer convinced their boss it was a god like in Star Trek: The Original Series and it saw Aloy as a threat (see point 4)
  2. Because said computer was one of Gaia’s subordinate functions, specifically the failsafe designed to un-terraform everything if Gaia messed up so she could try again, and after a signal of unknown origin caused Gaia’s subordinate functions to become erratic self-aware intelligences it decided to wipe everything out by re-activating the old Faro Plague robots
  3. Because Hephaestus, Gaia’s subordinate function in charge of building all the terraforming robots, became self-aware from the same thing and began creating more hunter-killers in response to humans destroying his robots
  4. Because she’s “Motherless”; cloned by Gaia from Elisabet Sobeck’s DNA as a last-ditch effort to fix whatever corrupted her subordinate functions, believing that her creator would have the ingenuity to fix the problem (and also because she knew that fixing the problem would require getting past a bunch of automated DNA-locked doors that hopefully still had Sobeck on file as authorised personnel)

So that’s pretty much it. It’s a good game.

Thanks for that explaination Harry. I am in a better position to understand why this might be considered to be a good thing. Indeed, I saw the new game advertised on the side of a bus yesterday, having not heard of it previously

The LEGO Group and PlayStation, join forces to delight fans of both brands with the very first LEGO® set inspired by the world of Horizon Forbidden West. Working with acclaimed developer Guerrilla, the collaboration – recreates the authentic features within the Horizon Forbidden West videogame and transforms the experience into LEGO brick form for fans around the world. Designed as a build and display model, this 1,222-piece set is sure to invite builders into the 31st century and encourage imaginations to flow freely through the process of building out the Horizon universe.

This LEGO set for adults will take builders into an adventure world through Aloy, a fierce machine hunter and the Tallneck, the iconic and awe-inspiring machine Aloy uses to explore nearby areas in her mission to restore order and balance in Horizon Forbidden West. Included in this set is a brand-new headpiece for Aloy, the Watcher machine that comes with a choice of blue, yellow or red eyes and her bow and brick-built spear, alongside the authentic Tallneck machine, with a smooth, disc-shaped head and long slim legs to add striking features within the model. Fans can finish their build by adding the beautiful landscape details like the brick-built birch tree, tall grass and a rusty stoplight, completing the centerpiece for its display moment.

“Getting to team up with Guerrilla was truly remarkable” says Isaac Snyder, Designer at the LEGO Group. “The Guerrilla team is incredibly passionate about the world of Horizon Forbidden West and were a huge help in ensuring we were able to create an authentic representation in LEGO form. Thanks to our close collaboration we were able to include references to all the most iconic aspects of Horizon Forbidden West, from incredible machines, mysterious ruins, unique tribes , and stunning scenery. There is a huge amount of mutual respect between the design teams and everyone involved was beyond excited to see this model come to life! Our hope is that everyone building this model has as much fun as we did designing it.”

The buildable Horizon Tallneck model has 1222 pieces, measures over 34 cm (13.5 in.) high, 23 cm (9 in.) wide and 17 cm (6.5 in.) deep and will be available from May 2022 on LEGO.com, LEGO Brand Retail Stores, and major retailers globally for 79.99 EUR/ 79.99 USD / 69.99 GBP / 129.99 AUD / 99.99 CAD

I wouldn’t be too concerned about not recognizing the subject material: I suspect you aren’t the target market. But for those people who routinely find themselves getting lost exploring worlds in a gaming environment, this is for them. Just as those movie properties are for people who love those franchises. And with the investment to get a high-end game title released these days, I can understand why a tie-in LEGO model might fit nicely into the range of gear available for Fans.

BTW Special thanks to Harry for providing the explanation of the world in which the game is set.

What do you think of this forthcoming set? Have you previously explored the world of Horizon? Does this set capture your imagination? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time,

Play Well.

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