"In You All Things”: biblical influences on story, gameplay, and aesthetics in Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn

Rebekah Dyer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

This article considers several instances of biblical reception in the science-fiction role-playing game Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games/Sony, 2017). The game’s characterisation of technology, science, and religion has led some commentators to understand Horizon Zero Dawn as presenting a firm rejection of religious narratives in favour of scientific perspectives. However, closer examination of the game’s biblical influences reveals that Horizon Zero Dawn employs religious ideas of the past and present to articulate its vision of a post apocalyptic future. The integration of biblical material into the story, aesthetics, and gameplay of Horizon Zero Dawn provides multi-layered interactions with specific characters, images, and ideas from the Bible. The game engages with the narrative of David and Goliath, the plague imagery of the Exodus narrative, and New Testament apocalyptic imagery in order to tell a story of ecological collapse, global apocalypse, and technological re- creation. Investigation of its biblical influences demonstrates that Horizon Zero Dawn embraces religious narratives insofar as they may be integrated into the game’s discussion of human responsibility, environmental sustainability, and the existential concerns of its post-apocalyptic scenario.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)20–43
Number of pages24
JournalJournal for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Biblical reception
  • Video games
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Guerrilla Games
  • Science fiction
  • Apocalyptic
  • Post-apocalyptic
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Biblical imagery
  • Creation and re-creation
  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • David and Goliath
  • Jesus
  • Revelation
  • Biblical plagues
  • Environmental ethics
  • Religion in video games
  • Storytelling in video games
  • Mythology
  • Myth-making

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