Horizon Zero Dawn has been thrown back to the low-polygon world of the original PlayStation, in a fan demake that reimagines Aloy’s post-apocalyptic adventuring in the graphical style of the retro console.
Created by Redditor ZeoNyph (opens in new tab), the minute-long video gives us a glimpse of what Horizon Zero Dawn (opens in new tab) might have looked like if it had been released in the mid-'90s. The game's graphics have been massively downgraded with plenty of low-resolution textures and blocky environments you’d usually see on a CRT monitor. Aloy’s character model is still recognizable, though, with her braided red hair and bow.
The video is pretty short, showing a mockup main menu screen and a brief gameplay segment. Aloy starts by a campfire in a nod to the original game’s save system, before jumping her way up a cliff with some rudimentary platforming animations. There, she meets a Watcher who takes her out in a single hit – she must have had low health.
ZeoNyph says (opens in new tab) the demake’s style was inspired by the original Tomb Raider games, and it’s not hard to see the similarities between them. The environment, camera angles, graphical style, and draw distance all evoke Lara Croft’s original adventures. Even Aloy’s death animation bears a remarkable similarity to the way Lara flops to the floor like a ragdoll in the original 1996 release.
They also said the video had been uploaded in the painfully pixelated resolution of only 320x240 for “added authenticity”, although that doesn’t make it any easier on the eyes. We reckon Aloy's quick death is also a nod to the exceedingly high difficulty that characterizes many retro games.
The whole video was reportedly modeled, rendered, and textured using the rendering software Blender, so don’t expect ZeoNyph to release a playable version of the demake. It’s essentially an animation, rather than an interactive game.
Converting triple-A games to the low-polygon graphical style of the PS1 has become something of a trend in recent years. FromSoftware’s PS4 (opens in new tab) action RPG Bloodborne recently received the demake treatment (opens in new tab) and was released for free on PC (opens in new tab) after a year of development.