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The official PlayStation blog has a post describing the origins of Horizon Zero Dawn's protagonist, Aloy the Hunter. We get glimpses of the character's journey from an early idea to her current state. We learn about things like finding the right voice and creating a compelling backstory for something that began as just one piece of concept art among many. Here are a couple of paragraphs:
Character and Consequence
Of course, even with all of these important elements, there’s still one part which is vital to forging Aloy’s steely personality — you. The narrative driven flashpoints let you define Aloy by choosing her reaction to particular events. Essentially, you’re emoting through her, which can affect certain elements by the end of the game. So, choose wisely…
One of the first flashpoints is deciding how to react to Bast, a young boy who injuries Aloy with a rock during her formative years as an outcast. You can decide whether to retaliate with your own stone, discard your primitive missile, or disarm Bast from throwing another rock.
And although Guerrilla has noted that most people seem to go for the last option, the team was not so quick to turn the other cheek.
“When it came to Bast, the thing which came most naturally to me was to whip the rock back at his head,” laughs John.
Managing Director, Hermen Hulst, agrees: “I’ve tried all the choices Aloy has to make through the game, but I admit I disliked the young Bast so much that I was actually harsh on him!” he chuckles. “I accepted the consequences of my actions!”
While not the main antagonist of the story, there’s clearly an important role for Bast which will be revealed as you play. And appropriately, just as Aloy is immediately likeable, Bast’s nasty qualities help create a classic contrast to heighten her charm, as noted by Art Director Jan-Bart van Beek: “When my girlfriend played that part of the game she immediately said that Bast was like Malfoy from the Harry Potter books,” he laughs. “I didn’t realize, but then said that I can kinda see that! There’s something instantly dislikeable about him.”