Post-Apocalyptic Nonhuman Characters in Horizon: Zero Dawn: Animal Machines, Posthumans, and AIBased Deities
Horizon: Zero Dawn (2017) is a science fiction video game that lends itself to exploration of emergent fields of knowledge by means of a fragmentary narrative and twisted representations of animals and robots. This article aims to apply posthumanism and animal studies together to examine the extent to which representations of the nonhuman both submit to and defy human(ist) statements on the human-animal divide. Human beings are presented as constructed identities following a postmodern narrative structure which allows players to reflect on the borders of human, animal, and machine alike. A powerful feminine posthuman protagonist, born from a machine in a matriarchal society, leads this quest for knowledge and identity, regarding empathy as the key to understanding the world she inhabits.