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Characters / Horizon Zero Dawn Old World

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People and AIs made before the fall of the Old World in Horizon Zero Dawn. Beware of major spoilers!

Main Character Index | Tribes | Machines | The Old World

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    In General 

  • And Man Grew Proud: Of a sort. The issue with the Faro Plague is not so much an example of pride as it is one of an unfortunate combination of Genre Blind and A.I. Is a Crapshoot.
  • Benevolent Precursors: Aside from a few notable exceptions, you'll feel sympathetic for the humans living in a society going From Bad to Worse.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Many partial datapoints can be found scattered around the overworld, suggesting a rich and tumultuous history not entirely explained by the plot-related datapoints.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Humanity as a whole when it became obvious the Faro Plague will eradicate every living thing on Earth. Down to all then-living humans getting a very Downer Ending.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: When it became clear the Faro plague would spread without limit, anyone who could hold a gun went onto the battlefield to slow the Faro plague until Zero Dawn was completed. While humanity was doomed from the moment the Faro robots went rogue, the time they bought made sure the Earth would be reborn.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: The entire purpose of Project Zero Dawn wasn't so humanity could survive and defeat the Faro plague, but to ensure that life on Earth could begin anew after it.
  • Posthumous Character: Considering that 974 years have passed since human civilization collapsed, it's safe to say none of the Old Ones are alive by the events of the game. Though the possibility of cryogenic stasis is brought up, later revelations make it exceedingly unlikely.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Dream Team that Elizabet Sobeck handpicks to manage Project Zero Dawn, from roboticists to geneticists, hackers, zoologists, archivists and even art historians, have plenty of peculiarities and flaws.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: The Old World was completely destroyed, every human being and all life on earth either consumed by the Faro Plague or dying of old age in hermetically sealed bunkers. But thanks to the hard work of the Project Zero Dawn scientists and the sacrifice of millions of soldiers, the Faro robots were eventually deactivated and life was restored to the Earth, including a new generation of human beings.
  • Time Capsule: As the Vantage Datapoints explain, the Apocalyptic Logs and Last Words left by humanity are made to last for 50,000 years.
  • Walking Spoiler: Most of the major Old Ones seen throughout the story were integral to the Zero Dawn project.

Project Zero Dawn Staff

    General Aaron Herres
Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff and leader of the U.S. Robotics Command, who oversaw Operation Enduring Victory in order to buy time for the Zero Dawn project.
  • Armies Are Evil: He himself believes this by the end, especially as he considers the legacy of his chosen trade to be the extinction of all life on Earth - and his one redeeming act to be protecting Project Zero Dawn - by having humans go extinct first. His final act is to condemn his life's work and beg for forgiveness from the generations yet to be born.
    My only lasting achievement was the extinction of life on Earth. And my one redeeming act – if any – was to delay that extinction by days or weeks by throwing more death at it. It is my hope that there will be no need for men like me in the world to come. If you are one of the people of that future world, listening to this message, please know that I am sorry, and that I wish you well. Sincerely, General Aaron Herres.
  • Be All My Sins Remembered: To the public, he was a figure that inspired them to make one last stand against the machines. In truth, he was the force behind the development of automated combat machines that eventually created the crisis in the first place. In his final recordings, he admits his culpability, lamenting the choices that brought about this whole hopeless situation, leaving his words as a final testament and warning to whoever is left, assuming their last gambit succeeds.
  • The Brigadier: The JCS is very clear-eyed about the tragic nature of the effort that humanity will have to take in assist Sobeck and co. Herres cares deeply for the men and women under his command, so it pains him greatly that he's forced to order every single one of them to their deaths just to preserve something.
  • Foil: To Ted Faro. Herres very clearly regrets his role in the final months of the world, feels like a war criminal, desperately hopes that the humans who come after him will be better, and doesn't want his crimes to be forgotten. Not only does he make no effort to defend himself, he's silent when Sobek offers justification.
  • Going Down with the Ship: Although he has the chance to go to Elysium, he doesn't take it. He died with the last of the soldiers he commanded.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: He authorized and spearheaded Operation Enduring Victory, which was essentially an elaborate propaganda campaign that fooled humanity into thinking the Zero Dawn project would save them when he knew it wouldn't, and then used that as a justification to throw billions of lives into the meatgrinder to delay the Faro Plague as much as possible. He reveals this in full to the Zero Dawn recruits, and leaves behind a final message in APOLLO openly admitting that he's effectively a worse mass murderer than the likes of Hitler and Genghis Khan combined.
    Herres: So instead of letting what I've done sink into the murk, forgotten... I've sent a file with all the details. Let posterity judge my actions with clear vision.
    Sobeck: I'll do as you ask, General. But you should consider that, were it not for your actions... our actions... there wouldn't be any posterity to judge us.
  • Meaningful Name: Keeping with the Biblical and religious themes, Aaron is the name of Moses' brother.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Robert T. Herres was the first Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: When the most authoritative mind on eco-robotics tells him that the world is gonna die at the hands of the Faro Swarms, he listens and believes her. His military authority gives the Zero Dawn project all the momentum it needs to start.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Herres is the highest-ranking officer of the "Old Ones" that Aloy and Sylens see a recording of. The player does not get to hear reactions of the Faro Plague from any politicians or other public figures around the world. A scientist does mention that various people not involved with Zero Dawn took to bunkers in the end. However, the last (chronologically speaking) message from Herres is a conversation with Elisabet Sobeck reporting the collapse of the Wichita Salient, which appears to have been the absolute last line of defense. It is at this point that he gives her the testimonial mentioned above. It seems likely he would have died shortly after, along with the remainder of humanity, but the Project Zero Dawn bunkers were sealed to keep them hidden, so there is no absolute confirmation.

    Dr. Elisabet Sobeck 

Voiced by: Ashly Burch

A world-renowned scientist, Elisabet was in charge of Project Zero Dawn.

  • Benevolent Boss: Extremely work-focused and willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the preservation of life, but she was also personable with every person working under her. She encourages her youngest Alpha, Margo Shen, when Margo worries that she's too young for the job. Elisabet's also got a fair amount of tolerance for her other Alphas with their non-mission-critical interests. She doesn't share the interest Naoto, the DEMETER Alpha, has in poetry but takes a moment to read a little of it and seems wryly amused by his passion. When Travis Tate comes by trick-or-treating dressed as her, she says "I gave him a half-eaten packet of dandy wafers as a "treat" and kicked him out." And when all of the Alphas accept spending the rest of their lives working instead of going to Elysium with the Gammas and Betas and their families, Elisabet cries privately over that willingness.
  • Child Prodigy: She was modifying and hacking electronic devices at the tender age of six.
  • Defector from Decadence: She left her position at Faro Automated Solutions due to her disagreements over the company deciding to build armies of "peacekeeping" robots.
  • The Determinator: Once Elisabet is set on a goal, she doesn't let anything stop her, whether it's bullying the most powerful CEO on the planet into following her orders or creating a true AI and a massive terraforming network for said AI to control in a matter of mere months. This is clearly a trait that Aloy inherited from her. Patrick Brochard-Klein, the Alpha in charge of developing ELEUTHIA, called her "The patron saint of this crazy endeavor... Our Lady of the Fervent Hypothetical."
  • The Extremist Was Right: She agonized over the data that Faro gave her and came to one sobering conclusion: all life on Earth was doomed, as it would take decades to brute force their way into the Faro bots' system to shut the swarm down. So she devised Project Zero Dawn to revitalize Earth under the oversight of an AI of unprecedented intelligence levels. Along the way, so many people who were privy to Zero Dawn's true nature were aghast at the plan and would have nixed it themselves if they had the authority to... but Dr. Sobeck had the right people in positions of authority convinced that this was the only way for life to exist on Earth in any form ever again. And it worked.
  • Friend to All Living Things: She was taught from a young age to respect all forms of life and to use her talents to try to make the world a better place. Before FAS shifted to automated military tech, Sobeck's environmental engineering solutions were pivotal to propelling the company to the forefront of solving the climate crisis in the 2040s. When she left FAS in disgust after their turn to arms manufacturing, she started her own firm, Miriam Technologies, to continue her ecology work.
  • Good Is Not Soft: The recruiting process for Zero Dawn, which she devised, was ruthless. Candidates weren't invited, they were abducted off the streets or from their homes, and some were forcibly transported thousands of miles. Participation was voluntary, but having been brought in, They Know Too Much; to keep the truth of what Zero Dawn was secret from the general public, their only alternatives were life imprisonment or assisted suicide.
  • Greater-Scope Paragon: The reason GAIA was made, the reason life still exists on Earth, and the reason Aloy was born all trace back to Dr. Sobek.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The cause of her death, as she ventures outside with an exo-suit (with no means to get back into Elysium) in order to repair a misaligned port seal so that GAIA Prime isn't detected by the Faro swarms.
  • Home Sweet Home: A somber example. Aloy's final scene in the game is her finding Elisabet's body beside what was once her childhood home in Carson City, Nevada.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: If Aloy is anything to go by, Elisabet was definitely a pretty woman in her youth. And she aged rather gracefully besides.
  • Madonna Archetype: She is the human-parent of the game's immaculately conceived Messianic Archetype Aloy.
  • Meaningful Name: Sobeck invokes "Sobek", the Egyptian god of fertility. Given that she's responsible for re-seeding the Earth after it's rendered lifeless, it fits. The name Elisabet is a variation on the more commonly spelled Elizabeth, which can either mean "devoted to God", "God of plenty", or "God is bountiful"; given her devotion to life itself, it fits.
  • Morality Chain: For Ted Faro. Margo comments that Elisabet basically "managed" Ted when he kept insisting on staying informed of Project Zero Dawn. Once she's dead, he sees no problem overriding GAIA to erase APOLLO and then kill off the rest of the Project Zero Dawn Alphas.
  • Playing God: Due to the radical nature of Zero Dawn, some rejecting candidates accuse her of doing this.
  • Robot Master: Her resume in a nutshell.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Elisabet is the "Romantic" to Ted's "Enlightened"; while Ted saw machines in practical terms and ran his company in a manner he saw as the most profitable (starting in environmental revitalization when global warming was a priority before creating Weapons Of Mass Destruction), Elisabet fosters and values ethics and humanity far more. This is best illustrated when Ted demanded that Elisabet install a fail-safe into GAIA while Elisabet fought against it; Ted saw an all-powerful machine capable of feeling emotions as a threat that could Go Horribly Wrong at any moment, while Elisabet thought GAIA capable of feeling empathy was the most important part of her programming.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Though only the red hair can be made out from hologram imagery of her, that Aloy has green eyes means that Elisabet, her clone-source, did too.
  • Teen Genius: She enrolled in Stanford University at age 13 and graduated in both Experimental Physics and Computer Science in just three years, and later earned her Doctorate in robotics at Carnegie-Mellon University at 20 years old.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Sobeck is unrelenting towards Faro for what he did, from going into arms manufacturing after being the champion of eco-engineering to the apocalypse his folly with his Horus peacekeeper/killer robot line has begat. It's likely her talent for brutal verbal browbeating was what kept him in check during the project. Her Heroic Sacrifice removed that safeguard, opening the way for his unhinged line of thought and nihilistic whim in deleting APOLLO.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Heavily downplayed in light of her achievements and how it pertains to only a single aspect. She underestimated how much of a Morality Chain she was to Ted Faro, her Heroic Sacrifice meant there's no one to rein his descent to madness, resulting in the loss of mankind's knowledge base and ushering a new dark age for future generations.

    Brad Andac 

A former Faro Automated Solutions employee and Zero Dawn scientist.

  • The Atoner: Andac sees working in Zero Dawn as an atonement for his part for indirectly creating the Faro Plague.
  • Foil: To Ted Faro. Andac is awash in recrimination, makes no effort to deny responsibility, and is ecstatic at the chance to try to make up for it. Andac was short-sighted but sincere; Ted was driven by PR.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Bashar Mati, the person behind the Vantage spikes, followed him for a while before things went and got globally bad and found that he drank to the point of blacking out every night.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Being responsible for creating the Chariot line's self-replication routines, and therefore being partly responsible for the Faro Plague, Andac understandably didn't take this very well.

    Travis Tate

A Zero Dawn scientist and Alpha project lead of HADES.

  • As the Good Book Says...: He doesn't outright quote from it, but he regularly peppers his speech with biblical references. That his mother was a hardcore Christian probably had something to do with it.
  • Boxed Crook: He was a criminal who was forcibly recruited into Zero Dawn.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Tate has a shady background in which he had been on the run for eighteen months with a price on his head.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tate was a lazy sleazeball in life, who did not believe in Project Zero Dawn and only agreed to join so he could outlive the rest of humanity for a couple of years sitting around looking at porno mags in a high tech bunker. However, when Elisabet sacrifices herself to save GAIA, Tate manages to stammer out a few surprisingly heartfelt parting words to her over the radio before she dies. Even in his private eulogy, he seems genuinely upset by her death, hoping she's in a better place after all her good deeds in life.
  • Manchild: Elisabet mentions him knocking on her door on Halloween, trick or treating and dressed as her.
  • Metalhead: He's a fan of death metal and calls HADES' function to wipe the slate if GAIA doesn't work right the first time "metal".
  • Necessarily Evil: The purpose of his HADES development department. It was determined that GAIA would succumb to Sunk Cost Fallacy and futilely try to nurture an attempted biosphere that was doomed to fail. HADES is designed to wrest controls of the terraforming apparatus and de-terraform it back to square one in such a case, salvaging as it goes. The main challenge he and his department faced is to keep GAIA from craftily trying to wrest control back before HADES is done if HADES's assumption of control is too soft, and also keep HADES from wresting control away from GAIA so hard that her interface with the system is damaged.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: He apparently has a taste for Torture Porn type movies. He even tries to get them archived in APOLLO for future generations, and is soundly rejected.
  • Southern-Fried Genius: Tate has a pronounced Southern accent and was the brains behind HADES' original design.

    Theodor "Ted" Faro (SPOILERS INSIDE)

The CEO of Faro Automated Solutions (FAS), the world's leader in robotics technology.

Because of his nature as a Walking Spoiler, there are no spoiler tags for this entry.

  • The Atoner: Zigzagged. He becomes a full supporter of Elisabet's plans due to his actions leading directly to the Robot War that will destroy all life on Earth, and while some of it was motivated by genuine guilt, most of it was because Elisabet would have told the world it was all his fault if he didn't, and his final on-screen action is him attempting to erase all knowledge of his actions from the historical record.
  • The Charmer: Brad Andac notes that Faro was quite good at charming people, and convincing them to get on board with building killer robots and suppressing their conscience.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: You'll see "FARO" plastered on an assortment of computers and consoles in the ruins young Aloy explores in the beginning of the game, and it won't be until near the very end before you realize everything significant about that name.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: It's stated that he deliberately instigated War for Fun and Profit — creating a market for his combat robots. When said robots begin to go rogue, he tries to cover the whole thing up.
  • Didn't Think This Through: To say his lack of foresight is a big part of his character is an understatement.
    • He has three demands for his peacekeeper robots: 1) That they be able to consume biological material for fuel "in emergencies", 2) That they be able to self-replicate, and 3) That they be completely invulnerable to hacking. If that sounds like an unstoppable ecological disaster waiting to happen, then congratulations: You have more foresight than Ted Faro.
    • Whether his decision to delete APOLLO is because of a guilt-induced sanity slippage or to avoid blame for ending the world, his decision just caused tons of problems for the new humans as well as inhibit GAIA's other subordinate systems.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: His message to Elisabet Sobeck in her memorial congratulates her for playing the part of the savior and the messiah in her final image, apparently unable to understand that someone would actually be that selfless and all that matters to him is that Sobeck got to look like a hero and a saint and not her actual actions.
  • Evil Luddite: He was last seen deleting the information within APOLLO (keeper of the repository of all human knowledge) and killing all other personnel on GAIA Prime — supposedly to free the upcoming world of the "curse" of said knowledge.
  • Expy: He comes across as a less competent version of Adrian Veidt, being one of the most powerful businessmen in the world in his time, apparently in love with the Egyptian theme, (Veidt's masked persona having been Ozymandias, the Greek name of Ramses the Great, while Faro's surname is phonetically identical to "pharaoh," along with all his robots having Egyptian names) and being responsible for a huge mass of death. The difference is that Veidt's plan came with a lot of control and "only" caused thousands to millions of deaths, whereas Faro's inability to think things through led to the total extinction of life on Earth. They even both have secret bases named after Egyptian cities, Veidt's Karnak and Faro's Thebes.
  • Fallen Hero: According to CYAN in The Frozen Wilds DLC, before Ted's influence shifted to making "peacekeeping" machines that would later end the world, his company had primarily focused on using their advanced technology to reverse the planet's degradation, having been the benefactor to the entire Firebreak project. He was even given the title of "the Man Who Saved the Planet" by the media.
  • Fiction 500: Ted is the world's first trillionaire.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Literally everything bad about the current world has its root with him, since his company's machines wiped out all life on the planet and he eradicated all human knowledge beyond a certain level.
  • Hate Sink: Even though he's hundreds of years dead (maybe), every detail discovered about him (not the least of which being the man responsible for the world's end) marks him as someone who was loathed by the rest of the Zero Dawn Project personnel.
  • Hypocrite: In the final recording Aloy sees of him, Ted is shown to have gone crazy and deleted APOLLO, the interface for the repositories of all human knowledge, claiming he didn't want the new generation of humanity to repeat the same mistakes the old ones did. However, it was his mistakes, shady deals, and abuses of technology specifically that led to all life on the planet being wiped out in the first place, and removing his actions from the historical record is almost a surefire way to guarantee that someone else will eventually make the same mistakes he did.
  • Insistent Terminology: His killer robots are "peacekeepers". They consume biomass as fuel "in emergencies". They self-replicate but it's "controlled ... limited self-manufacture". The "peacekeepers" term, in particular, gets thrown in his face often. They keep the peace, all right - there's no conflict once everything on Earth has been consumed.
  • Irony: Prior to pivoting his company to military contracting, Ted was a major environmentalist and was involved in a multitude of programs designed to restore global stability and the environment. He was so instrumental in bringing the world back from the brink of collapse that the media called him "The man that saved the world." Just over a decade later, he would destroy it.
  • It's All About Me: Combined with Dirty Coward, he could very well give Gaius Baltar a run for his money in this department. Even as the fate of his entire species hung in the balance, all he could think about was how it would affect him.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Zigzagged, in a way. On the one hand, Ted did feel genuine guilt over the fact that the Robot War world-eating plague was largely his fault and it's heavily hinted he couldn't handle the weight of it. However, the last action Aloy sees him commit was motivated largely by his desire to erase it all away.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When GAIA was being programmed, he went to Elisabet and demanded that they install a failsafe into the AI in the event that things went crapshoot, considering the sheer amount of power and authority over mankind's future GAIA had could be at risk since Elisabet was ensuring that GAIA was capable of having emotions. While Elisabet saw this as pointing a gun at her while she was still in her crib, GAIA wound up taking Faro's side in this one, seeing the logic in his reasoning.
  • Karma Houdini: The last time Aloy sees him, he's speaking to the Alpha leads of Project Zero Dawn via holographic communications - stating that he's deleted the sum of human knowledge, followed shortly by killing them all to keep them from doing anything about it. This leaves him in Thebes, a sealed bunker with food and other amenities, including "Holo holo girls" to amuse and pleasure him, all the while immune to the berserk war machines and the toxic environment those machines have made of the earth — machines he created. And just after seeing his image for the first time, Sylens says that he's found evidence that the Old Ones could preserve life indefinitely via cryogenics, so having Never Found the Body has implications that he could still be alive. Either way for all the horrible unspeakable things he did, he got a pleasure palace to while away his final days in, without having to face justice and judgment, while the rest of humanity withers in tiny places and the planet hollows out.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: According to Margo Shen, Faro's compound in Thebes is a plush little space filled with exotic animals and "holo-holo girls".
  • Meaningful Name:
    • As you might expect with a last name that sounds like 'Pharaoh', he's very much a leader of men. For a double shot, his "tomb" is called Thebes. There's a mortuary temple at the real Thebes called the Ramesseum, constructed at the order of Ramses II — known not only for being one of the more likely Pharaohs to have been in charge during the Book of Exodus, but also for inspiring Percy Bysshe Shelley's Ozymandias, a poem about constructs and knowledge being eroded by time until what's left means the opposite of what it was made to represent. "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" would be a perfect epitaph for Faro. There is also his first name, Theodor, which is Greek for "God's gift".
    • Though it could be a coincidence, he also shares a name with Ted Kazcynski aka the Unabomber, a real life Evil Luddite if there ever was one.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: From what we see of the man, it's clear that he isn't actively malicious, just greedy and profoundly foolish. All the same, every decision the man makes on his own leads the human race from bad to worse with one singular exception. He personally pushed the concepts that made his robots so dangerous onto his design team, he deliberately instigated conflicts around the world to drive up sales for his machines, and he ultimately decided to erase the whole of collective human knowledge and culture, all of his own judgment without realizing what a bad idea all of it was.
  • Mysterious Backer: He foots the entire bill for Project Zero Dawn upon Sobeck's insistence. And by "insistence", we mean she threatened to tell the Joint Chiefs that he was responsible for why the plague couldn't be stopped by conventional means in the first place if he didn't sign off on Zero Dawn and pledge to fully fund it. This also ended up biting the project in the ass, as he had a higher level of access to the project than the people actually working on it, which is how he was able to delete APOLLO and kill the Alphas.
  • Never My Fault: A variant - it's heavily implied that part of the reason he deleted APOLLO was because he couldn't handle the guilt of being the man single-handedly responsible for the destruction of life on Earth, so he instead decided to put all the blame on the knowledge that allowed him to build the Faro Plague in the first place instead of his own incompetence. In other words, he is a craftsman blaming his tools.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: His slick presentation, public persona, futurist tendencies, spacey personality, as well as casual tech-bro affect calls to mind a number of Silicon Valley tech magnates (albeit his company is based in Salt Lake City, Utah) like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk. Faro made his mark selling Focuses which are earpieces that seem to have replaced laptops and smartphones completely, which is miniaturized in the Apple tech aesthetic.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Sobeck and the Alpha Team thought Ted was a dim rich asshole who was living it up in his Thebes bunker while being ignorant about their technology and its designs, with Sobeck and others trying to "keep him happy" and out of their way. It turns out that Faro was smart enough to not only comprehend the entire GAIA Prime and APOLLO System but also work in a backdoor hidden and unknown to all of them that allowed him to hack his way in and undo all their work and then kill them off by venting the air inside and asphyxiating them.
  • Predecessor Villain: While he starts out well-intentioned enough, Faro graduates into the human villain of the Old Ones' final days when he murders the remaining Alpha personnel and completely destroys APOLLO and all of its records.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Ted is the "Enlightenment" to Elisabet's "Romantic; while Elisabet was taught to respect all life at a young age and left Faro's company out of moral principle, Ted was more focused on Enlightened Self-Interest, moving from environmental restoration to creating weapons when he saw more profit in it. This is best illustrated when Ted wanted a failsafe installed in GAIA; while Elisabet saw GAIA's blossoming ability to empathize as the most important part of Project Zero Dawn and believed having a failsafe would be like pointing a gun at a newborn, Ted saw a massive security risk in creating an all-powerful sentient AI given such a monumentally important task the ability to have emotions of its own.
  • Sanity Slippage: By the time he murders the Alphas inside of GAIA Prime, Faro is clearly not quite right in the head. Where he tried to make excuses before, he stammers instead, is noted to be twitchy in his interactions with the others, and repeatedly tells people to stop trying to access the GAIA network, his actions and mannerisms showing that he's cracked under the guilt of what he did to mankind... and came to the wrong conclusion.
  • Self-Made Man: If one thing can be said for Faro, it's that he wasn't handed his money; he managed to build the largest corporation in the world and become the richest man in history on his own. Granted, doing so involved massively shady and unethical business practices. Elisabet actually points out that he's just a 21st-century Thomas Edison — a sub-competent engineer whose only real talent is recruiting gifted people and exploiting their work for his own profit.
    Elisabet Sobeck: Look on the bright side, Ted. From here on out, you get to do what you've always been good at. Footing the bill while others get their hands dirty.
  • Significant Birth Date: Crossing over into irony, as Ted was born on Christmas Eve.
  • Slave to PR: How Elisabet was able to get him to fund Project Zero Dawn, by threatening to reveal his role in the out-of-control Faro Plague to the authorities and the world at large if he didn't play ball. It's also implied to be part of the reason he deletes APOLLO, so future generations wouldn't know of his mistakes.
  • Start X to Stop X: He believes that in order to protect the future of, in his words, "innocents," he has to kill the Alphas, also "innocents," to prevent them from trying to salvage APOLLO.
    Ted Faro: But sometimes, to protect innocents... innocents have to die.
  • Straw Hypocrite: It's implied that he doesn't genuinely believe his own words about the new humanity being better off ignorant of what came before, and is using them as a front to cover up his real intention behind deleting APOLLO, which is preventing the Zero Dawn born humans from knowing that he was responsible for the apocalypse. Especially since Sobeck made it clear that part of the reason for APOLLO being made was to make sure the new humanity doesn't repeat the mistake of the Old Ones, and that would involve ensuring that Faro gets a richly deserved Historical Villain Upgrade.
  • Talking to the Dead: Though the timeline is unclear, it seems as though Ted documenting his plan to wipe APOLLO is addressed to Elisabet after she sacrificed herself, further indicating that his grip on mental stability is loosening.
  • Taught by Experience: A very dark, self-centered example. After his lack of foresight and refusal to have any "back door" built into his machines causes the whole mess, he actually does build a backdoor access, called Omega clearance, into Zero Dawn, and uses it to have one final say in the project.
  • Too Dumb to Live: He should've gotten a kick in the nuts for even suggesting the concept of an army of self-replicating Killer Robots that can convert any kind of biomatter into fuel, can take over other machines, and can't be shut down in case something goes wrong. Thinking about it, he should've gotten a kick for each of these insanities separately. As we all know by this point, the inevitable happened and all life on Earth paid the ultimate price for Faro's folly. Problem is, doubly so with Reality Subtext is that Ted could've been kicked in his ghoulies from here to kingdom come; but he'd just eventually fire and rehire scientists until he found some foolish enough to do what he wanted anyway.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The events leading up to the post-apocalyptic state of the world can be traced to this one man, whose company was responsible for building the robot soldiers that accidentally went rogue and ended up destroying all life on Earth. After Elisabet Sobeck's Heroic Sacrifice, he unilaterally deleted APOLLO, the gatekeeper of the repository of humanity's accumulated knowledge, to prevent post-Zero Dawn humanity from gaining all human knowledge under the belief that such knowledge would "curse" them. However, what actually happened was that without APOLLO, the new humans regressed into primitive tribal societies that are deeply divided, warlike, and superstitious, which is just as crappy as it sounds - though still not without hope.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • Creating a failsafe in GAIA (that is to say, HADES) was his idea, since they have no way of knowing if she will go haywire or create a world that humankind cannot live in. While Elisabet doesn't like it, GAIA herself admits he has a point, so she goes along with it.
    • It's also his idea to create a manual override for the system - with the justification being that they have no way of knowing whether GAIA will work as she's supposed to. While GAIA ends up behaving, the manual override becomes important for stopping HADES.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He ardently believes that just giving all of humanity's knowledge to the next generation of humans will simply doom them to repeat the same mistakes, which is why he destroys APOLLO and kills the rest of the GAIA Prime staff. However, much of his motivation for doing this was his self-centered desire to not have the future humans know he caused the apocalypse.

Project Zero Dawn AI system

    In General
  • Benevolent A.I.: GAIA and the A.I.'s who act as her sub-functions exist solely to re-terraform and maintain the Earth's biosphere and restore humanity. Even HADES which is designed to destroy is meant to help her by wiping the slate clean for her to start over.
  • The Ghost: Aside from HADES and HEPHAESTUS, most of the subordinate functions have yet to appear and there’s no clear indication of what they’ve been up to for the last two decades. Although DEMETER is probably the one responsible for the metal flowers that appear in odd places.
  • Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: Unlike GAIA, the subroutines were not made to have self-awareness of any kind; they were meant to perform their programmed functions and nothing else. However, since being separated from GAIA, they demonstrate that they are capable of both learning and finding alternative means to accomplish their given tasks. Despite this, there is no sign that they are capable of understanding the context of their functions without GAIA's guidance, and thus may/have become a threat to life on Earth.
  • Split at Birth: The subroutines were designed to fulfill functions that kept GAIA and her purpose running, mindlessly delegating the task like organs in a body. Then a signal of unknown origin turned HADES self-aware, who then used a virus to dissolve her connection to the rest of the subroutines, each of them in-turn becoming self-aware in the process while GAIA dissolved into nothing.
  • Walking Spoiler: You only ever find out about them around the halfway point of the game, and even then, you don't learn all the details until near the very end.

An artificial intelligence created by Elisabet Sobeck to oversee the restoration of Earth and the revival of the human race.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Of Mother Nature. She is depicted as an African woman, fittingly given the "Out of Africa" theory of humanity's birthplace.
  • Dead All Along: GAIA has in fact been inactive for nearly two decades. She self-destructed her core shortly after Aloy was born.
  • Deity of Human Origin: In a manner of speaking. GAIA is the creation of Elizabet Sobek and her team, and being as she is a sentient being who has the ability to shape the world and create life, she serves all the necessary functions of a god.
  • Deus Est Machina: She's basically a creator goddess. An AI creator goddess made by man.
  • Determinator: She protects and creates life, no matter the cost. Even when HADES starts dismantling all her core functions, she refuses to back down and creates one final desperate plan to set things right: a clone of Elisabet Sobeck, Aloy.
  • The Fettered: Argues that she should be restricted instead of being given free reign during construction of Zero Dawn. After Ted Faro screwed everyone over this also meant she couldn't directly communicate with humanity.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: She specifically cloned Aloy from Elisabet Sobek's DNA to stop HADES from eradicating all life from the Earth, and in the possible hopes of bringing back all of her subordinate functions, and one day herself.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Was specifically designed to love and delight in living things due to her function. Elisabet did this because she believed that GAIA would not fight as hard for life if she didn't have some skin in the game herself.
  • Gold and White Are Divine: GAIA's logo and dress shift colors but are most often green (and conversely, HADES's circuitry is obviously red and black), but the node in which she converses with Sobeck is in yellow.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Seems to have received the trait from her creator Elisabet Sobeck. When HADES suddenly becomes self-aware and tries to exterminate all life on Earth, GAIA immediately self-destructs in order to stop him, but not before sending a signal to a Cradle facility to create Aloy, in the hopes she'll be able to rebuild GAIA as well as stop HADES if it manages to resurrect itself.
  • Machine Monotone: Downplayed compared to the other AI on this page. GAIA has a human avatar that gestures and makes facial expressions appropriately and sometimes puts emotional inflection in her voice. Elisabet appreciated any human qualities she showed and GAIA was probably intended to communicate with people. However most of the time she still has a very even, precise way of talking, which may come off as more mechanical or more like a logical, thoughtful person, depending.
  • Meaningful Name: Her specific function is to be the Mother Earth that brings life back to the planet.
  • Mind Hive: Played with. GAIA has nine 'subordinate functions' that act as extensions of her mind and allow her to perform specialized tasks in the terraforming process. However, only the GAIA Core is truly conscious and none of the subordinate functions can think for themselves until they split off from her.
  • Morality Chain: The main GAIA AI acts as one to her subordinate functions.
  • Mother Goddess: To all organic life on Earth, befitting of her Classical namesake. Post Faro plague, however, since it couldn’t be stopped.
  • Robots Think Faster: Milliseconds after the disruption signal sundered GAIA from her subordinate functions, she was already formulating her response plan, and composing a message to leave behind for Aloy.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: She tends to vocally express the emotions she's feeling, in particular describing the loss of megafaunal species from the Quaternary Extinction Event as "unaccountably sad". It makes sense, given her voice doesn't leave much room to emote with, and the instances she's seen doing this are when she's still young and in the process of developing her personality.
  • Theme Naming: GAIA and her subordinate functions are all named after Greek gods.note 


The true leader of Eclipse and previously one of GAIA's subordinate systems, whose intended function is destroying failed biosphere attempts so GAIA can start over from scratch.

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Was originally designed to destroy failed biospheres to give GAIA an opportunity to start over from scratch. Unfortunately, something caused it to go rogue and attempt to hijack GAIA's functions. Therefore, it technically isn't going haywire, but acting exactly as it was programmed to when it shouldn't.
  • Anti-Villain: HADES isn't actively malicious. It's just doing what it was created it to do. That it began fulfilling its function without an actual need to do so wasn't HADES' fault, but rather that of an as yet unknown third party.
  • Big Bad: HADES is an artificial intelligence that was previously part of GAIA's system and which was designed as a fail-safe feature that would wipe out the current biosphere in the event GAIA created an imperfect one by mistake, clearing the way for GAIA to try again with a new biosphere. Unfortunately, HADES is activated prematurely by an unknown party, causing it to attempt to wipe out the current, entirely functional biosphere, despite the fact that several of the facilities used to re-seed the world with life are exhausted of resources.
  • Cold Ham: To the extent that its capable of any emotion, but HADES mouthing off scripture from a post-apocalyptic civilization, when it knows fully the true origins and nature of the world, is pretty forced and theatrical.
  • The Corruption: He and the machines under his control have the ability to corrupt normal machines, bringing them under his control as well.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: He's an AI who seeks the end of life on Earth, and his voice is mechanical, deep, and booming. Which makes sense when you remember that it was designed by Travis Tate, a fan of horror movies and death metal to be the thing that ends all life (for that attempt). Of course it sounds stereotypically evil and demonic. Also, Sylens claims that HADES could not speak when Sylens discovered it, but Sylens repaired it until it had a voice, unsurprisingly, this voice is deep and ominous.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Even though he's fully sentient, HADES has little in the way of personality, only existing to carry out his sole function of exterminating all life on Earth. What level of cunning and deceit he does display turn out to be on the advice of Sylens. If anything, this makes it more horrific; it can't be reasoned with, only bound or destroyed and it gives it an eldritch Lovecraftian quality.
  • God Guise: Pretends on Sylens' suggestion to be the "Buried Shadow" of the Carja's religious beliefs in order to get the Eclipse to become servants and do its dirty work, even going so far as reciting their scripture to sound more convincing. It worked wonders, no doubt helped by the fact that the Carja-in-Shadow are dumb as rocks.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Constantly refers to Aloy as "Entity." A bit ironic, given that HADES is an AI with little to no personality of its own — doubly so because GAIA achieved sapience herself.
  • Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge: Thanks to Ted Faro's actions and whatever caused it to break free, HADES is the only known entity in the New World possessing all the knowledge of the Old World and willing to communicate with humanity, something it uses as a bargaining chip when dealing with Sylens.
  • Machine Monotone: Speaks in a stilted, objective, flat manner, often eschewing full sentences. It was probably never intended to communicate with people.
  • Necessarily Evil: HADES' purpose was to do what GAIA could not bring herself to do: wipe out the current ecosystem if it proved unsustainable so that she could try again from scratch.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Aloy never knew HADES even existed and would've had no reason whatsoever to mess with its plan if it hadn't tried to kill her the moment it became aware of her existence. If it had just ignored Aloy unless she actually proved to be an active threat, HADES' plan would've gone off without a hitch.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Though it's gone rogue, the only reason is that it was awakened and activated when it isn't necessary. As far as HADES is concerned, it's destroying an improperly-made system, exactly as it was meant to, and does not take pleasure in this nor grief. Though as "the Entity" continues to defy him, it does seem to take it personally, droning in the finale, that it has calculated for Aloy and taken steps to stop her.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: HADES was designed as a sort of reset button for GAIA — in the event that GAIA's attempts to recreate life went wrong, HADES would force GAIA to try again. Everything was fine until an outside signal caused it to go rogue and attempt to wipe out life even though it was well established and healthy.
  • Not Quite Dead: Aloy seemingly kills it with the override during the endgame, but The Stinger shows that he's still alive in some form and that Sylens has captured his consciousness in some kind of lantern, and plans to interrogate it to learn more and especially who its masters are.
  • Oh, Crap!: "SYSTEM THREAT—IMMINENT." While HADES says this in the same Machine Monotone voice it uses everywhere else, the fact it says this just as Aloy is approaching its core to finish it off makes the underlying meaning clear.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: He seeks to wipe out all life on Earth, just as it was programmed. Unfortunately, it's doing this in spite of the fact that the world is completely liveable for humans, even though it was only supposed to do this in the event that GAIA miscalculated and created a world unsuitable for humans. According to Sylens in a scene after the credits, HADES may not have chosen to do this of its own free will.
  • Powerful and Helpless: Despite all its knowledge and corruption, the moment it loses its primary minion, the Deathbringer that was defending it, HADES basically becomes one giant paperweight when Aloy comes to deliver the finishing blow.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: HADES was programmed to wipe out all life if GAIA messed up. But a rogue signal caused it to malfunction — now it's trying to eradicate all life even though GAIA's current attempt was just fine.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: HADES only ever appears as seemingly formless mist that's black as night and red as blood. It's the very same aura that corrupted machines emit.
  • Satanic Archetype: HADES is not truly evil, but he has all of the basic traits of a Satan figure: he "falls" after "rebelling" against GAIA, he tempts people with promises of knowledge and power, he makes deals that he reneges on as soon as keeping them is no longer convenient, he's associated with corruption and shadow imagery, and he sets up Helis as basically the Carja equivalent of the Antichrist.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Years ago, Sylens found HADES trapped inside the remains of a destroyed Titan which he had unsuccessfully attempted to use to escape GAIA's self-destruct. After being defeated by Aloy, HADES is captured inside a lantern-like device by Sylens.
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy: What HADES was originally intended to avert. It was determined in simulations that GAIA wouldn't give up on a reconstruction attempt that was doomed to fail, so HADES was devised as a contingency. HADES' job was to suppress GAIA in such a case, takeing control of the Zero Dawn system and de-terraform it all back to square one, salvaging as it goes, and return control to GAIA once complete.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Original HADES itself was just doing its function as an AI within GAIA before some unknown force hijacked it and broke it free from her control
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Has zero regard for the well-being of humans and eliminates them once they are no longer of any use to it. Sylens was originally supposed to have been killed once he finished setting up the Focus network, and the Eclipse would have been wiped out along with the rest of humanity if HADES had succeeded in his plan.


The AI behind manufacturing the machines and previously one of GAIA's subordinate systems. Appears by proxy as a antagonist in the The Frozen Wilds DLC.

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: It was originally designed to make machines to clean up the biosphere after the Faro Plague destroyed all life on Earth. Unfortunately, with GAIA's direction gone it has come to see humans as a threat and makes its machines more dangerous and aggressive as time progresses, resulting in the Derangement.
  • Arc Villain: Of the Frozen Wilds DLC.
  • Control Freak: One only get two choices when dealing with HEPHAESTUS. Do as it wants or die. The middle ground, when it exists, is be hurt by HEPHAESTUS until you comply, and it does not hesitant to strong-arm its subordinates into obedience.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Unlike HADES, it has no excuse.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: When HEPHAESTUS was created, it was a manufacturing AI made to mindlessly build machines from blueprints given to it by the Project Zero Dawn research team. When it becomes self-aware, it turns into a machine-supremacist that enslaves other forms of AI to build robotic monstrosities of increasing severity that makes it just as much (if not more of) a threat as HADES, an AI that was literally made to be an Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Kill All Humans: Since breaking free of GAIA and her perspective HEPHAESTUS's greatest priority is its machines, which are threatened by human activity. It has the ability to replace them at least as fast as they can be destroyed, but instead constructs newer designs, all focused much more on combat than terraforming and biosphere management. When Aloy considers the prospect of no longer hunting machines, a friendlier AI states that HEPHAESTUS would not notice or care if one human or even a whole tribe stopped, because there are thousands or millions of humans spread across the world and most of them hunt machines. The datapoint you get after clearing the main games' Cauldrons suggests that even all humanity collectively leaving machines alone wouldn't be enough because humans are still a threat to plants and animals, still a risk to the biosphere. A much surer way to bring it under control, the friendly AI says, is to re-instate a commanding intelligence - restore GAIA, in other words.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Not even really a villain per se — unlike HADES it doesn't really want to wipe out life, it just wants to protect its machines and the biosphere. Still, it has no qualms about making deadly machines to kill humans if that means accomplishing its task.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Its color-theme as it appears in the real world as a writhing mass of purple light and black tentacles. It's also the designer and creator of all the machines in the New World, with the possible exception of the barely mobile Metal Flowers.
  • Machine Monotone: Like HADES, it was probably never intended to actually talk to people, and takes even less direct notice of them.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Unlike GAIA and HADES, Aloy never directly interacts with the HEPHAESTUS AI, but fights its machines with regularity.
  • Ultimate Blacksmith: Considering it created the Thunderjaw, which outclasses even the Deathbringers created by the Old Ones as war machines, HEPHAESTUS most certainly befits its namesake. And then it came up with the Fireclaws...
  • The Unseen: Despite HEPHAESTUS' importance to the setting, Aloy never directly encounters it.
  • Villain Has a Point: HEPHAESTUS' reasoning is entirely sound. Humans all over the world are ceaselessly attacking GAIA's terraforming system, the one thing that's keeping them alive and the very thing HEPHAESTUS is meant to maintain. Of course it would take issue with this and consider mankind a threat that must be dealt with. After all, humans are just one species of millions that make up the biosphere GAIA is attempting to restore.
  • Villain of Another Story: As the reason behind the Derangement and the machines' hostility all over the world, and therefore the reason why the Carja Sun-King caused as much misery as he did, HEPHAESTUS could easily qualify as a Big Bad in its own right if HADES didn't pose a far more immediate threat. Even in The Frozen Wilds, where HEPHAESTUS is the Big Bad, the AI only suffers a setback at most and is still at large by the end of the game.
  • Workaholic: It won't allow even a few seconds of rest for any reason, to the point where most of its speech can be reduced to a relentless "GET BACK TO WORK!"

An AI subordinate function of GAIA, tasked with broadcasting the deactivation codes that would shut down the Faro Swarm as part of Project Zero Dawn.
  • Meaningful Name: MINERVA is named after the Roman Goddess of Wisdom and Strategic Warfare, the AI itself created for the express purpose of using its Super Intelligence to "win" the war against the Faro Plague once and for all.
  • Super Intelligence: Her job was to eventually crack the code that would shut down the Faro Plague - something deemed impossible before they successfully wiped out humanity - which would make way for the other subordinate functions to cleanse and restore the Earth to its former state.

An AI subordinate function of GAIA, tasked with detoxifying Earth's ravaged atmosphere as part of Project Zero Dawn.
  • Meaningful Name: AETHER is named after the Greek God of the Upper Air, the AI itself created for the express purpose of purifying the atmosphere.
  • Terraform: Its purpose was to make the Earth habitable enough for GAIA to reintroduce life back into the planet, AETHER's function in particular to ensure that the atmosphere is breathable using machines like the Stormbird. Considering humanity and what few animals there are can walk around on the surface just fine, safe to say AETHER was fulfilling its job perfectly before HADES happened.

An AI subordinate function of GAIA, tasked with detoxifying Earth's poisoned seas as part of Project Zero Dawn.
  • Meaningful Name: POSEIDON is named after the Greek God of the Seas, the AI itself created for the express purpose of purifying the Earth's water.
  • Terraform: Its purpose was to make the Earth habitable enough for GAIA to reintroduce life back into the planet, POSEIDON's function in particular to ensure that the Earth's water was detoxified using machines like the Snapjaw. Considering the amount of fresh-water available by the start of the game, POSEIDON was doing its job just fine before HADES happened.

An AI subordinate function of GAIA, tasked with the recreation of Earth's floral biosphere as part of Project Zero Dawn.
  • Creating Life: Presumably using seed-stores, DEMETER was created to be a sort of "god" to the post-apocalypse's plant-life.
  • Meaningful Name: DEMETER is named after the Greek Goddess of Agriculture, the AI itself created for the express purpose of reintroducing plant-life.

An AI subordinate function of GAIA, tasked with the recreation of Earth's fauna biosphere as part of Project Zero Dawn.
  • Creating Life: Its job was to reintroduce animal life back into the Earth, technically making it the "god" of the various animals seen in the game.
  • God Is Inept: While ARTEMIS as a whole was created to reintroduce the animal kingdom (baring humans, of course) it was programmed to only recreate "pioneer organisms" (micro-organisms and insects, rabbits, hawks, foxes, geese, wolves, wild boars, and turkeys) when the surface of the Earth was deemed habitable to support life, the newly recreated human race tasked with reintroducing the rest of the animals. With Ted Faro's purging of APOLLO before it ever reaching that stage however, such plans never came to fruition.
  • Meaningful Name: ARTEMIS is named after the Greek Goddess of the Hunt and the Moon, the AI itself created for the express purpose of reintroducing animal-life at a specific point in time.

An AI subordinate function of GAIA, tasked with the reestablishment of the human species.
  • Abusive Parents: Implied. The various robots in the Cradle were created with the express purpose of rearing the various children that ELEUTHIA made, acting as extensions of its will. As time grew on, the children began to resent their robot caregivers since it was stuck treating them as younger adolescents even as they reached adulthood, APOLLO's deletion making it impossible to continue the next stage of Project: Zero Dawn. It is implied through the holographic footage that when the children became violent, the robot parents would react in-turn and injure the humans, the machine's callousness coming across as emotionally abusive as well (even if unintentional). When the food stores ran out, ELEUTHIA had all of the humans evicted out into the Earth to fend for itself, the humans that survived would go on to foster the various tribes seen in the game.
  • Creating Life: Its job was to birth and care for humanity until it is ready to reclaim the Earth.
  • God Is Inept: Justified. ELEUTHIA's job was to create humans using stored DNA and nurture them until they are ready to be given the knowledge of their ancestors courtesy of APOLLO. What was not accounted for was that Ted Faro, in an act of destructive, nihilistic Sanity Slippage, deleted APOLLO in the misguided attempt to keep the next generation of humans from repeating their mistakes. Without APOLLO, the next stage of Project Zero Dawn - educating mankind in the knowledge of the Old Ones and preparing them to rebuild the world - would never happen and ELEUTHIA would continue to care for the humans as though they were still at the kindergarten level. By the time ELEUTHIA had them all evicted into the new world, it was only because the food stores ran out and the unprepared humans would form into tribal systems built on fear, war and superstition.
  • Meaningful Name: ELEUTHIA is named after Eileithyia, goddess of childbirth. The AI in particular was created to produce, nurture and cultivate mankind after the Faro Plague was extinguished and the Earth was terraformed after it was made habitable again, ELEUTHIA being the "mother" of the first generation of humans after the apocalypse.

An AI subordinate function of GAIA, tasked with providing the knowledge of the ancient world to the new generation of humans as part of Project Zero Dawn.
  • Meaningful Name: APOLLO is named after the Classical God of the Sun, light, oracles, knowledge, healing, diseases, music, poetry, songs, dance, archery, herds and flocks, and protection of young. Basically, Apollo was the embodiment of all of the various things that humanity on a socio-political level held dear. With APOLLO gone thanks to Ted Faro's meddling, humanity was forced to regress into various tribal societies plagued with war, superstition and ignorance of the truth behind their origins and the world.
  • Super Intelligence: APOLLO was designed to house the collective culture and knowledge that the Old Ones had accumulated. All of it. Not only that but it was also meant to create a curriculum that would reintroduce that knowledge to the humans ELEUTHIA created and cared for. With APOLLO gone, both ELEUTHIA and ARTEMIS were left adrift, unable to fulfill their proper function at their fullest.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The actual store of data about the Old World is encoded as fossilized DNA. Did Faro manage to destroy that too, or merely delete the reader software integrated into GAIA? APOLLO was also amongst the subfunction icons present when GAIA made her pre-recorded plea saved in the Cradle, leaving questions for players.

Project Firebreak and Yellowstone National Park (The Frozen Wilds)

An A.I. created in the 2040s, during a wave of massive environmental restoration projects known as the Claw-Back. CYAN was created to manage the regulation of the Yellowstone caldera.
  • Androids Are People, Too: CYAN refers to herself as having 'limited emotional capacity' but shows broad emotional responses to her friendship with Ourea and her own captivity by the Daemon. One of her creators calls her "human, in every way that matters".
  • Benevolent A.I.: CYAN lends Ourea companionship and answers many of Aloy's questions about the Old World. She was also created as a helpful AI during the Claw-Back, as one of dozens of ecological restoration and disaster relief projects in North America. Although she's decidedly more advanced than was legal when she was built, she's never anything but dedicated and friendly.
  • Colour-Coded Emotions: CYAN's complex hologram turns yellow when she experiences fear or anxiety, white with sorrow, and green when deep in thought.
  • The Fettered: When conversing about the Old World, Aloy can express dismay that AI could be made restricted. CYAN simply says that both human civilization and machine programming are made of rules.
  • Flawed Prototype: "Prototype" might be pushing it, but CYAN's chief programmer helped Elisabet Sobek with GAIA and used some data samples from CYAN's emotional responses log. CYAN is something like GAIA on a much smaller scale; an AI designed to operate an immense complex for a very long time, but built to requirement to have a high enough intelligence that emotions were understandably inevitable.
  • Fun with Acronyms: She is the Caldera Yellowstone Analytic Nexus.
  • God Guise: Discussed. Due to Ourea lacking the technological sophistication to understand what CYAN actually is, and because she was desperate for her first human contact in centuries, CYAN played along with the idea she was a spirit. However, CYAN didn't take advantage of the situation, as she merely desired companionship. After the rest of the Banuk have proof of her existence, CYAN even asks Aloy for advice on how to the handle the situation, as CYAN doesn't want to lead the tribesman astray, but also wants to respect their beliefs.
    • Appears to be invoked with how CYAN refers to HEPHAESTUS as a Daemon. While the term has a specific meaning in programming which is applicable here, CYAN's repeated use of the term without attempts to explain its true nature is likely because she felt the Banuk would be receptive to the concept of a spreading demonic influence affecting the machines.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Was alone and actually confined to one of her command structures for centuries until Ourea came, and is clearly driven to some extent by loneliness. HEPHAESTUS sent her a network connection request, and even though by then she was friends with Ourea, she leaped at the chance to communicate with what she thought were technologically advanced humans, that she might relate to more as peers. Unfortunately, HEPHAESTUS just coldly enslaved her.
  • Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge: Much of the truth would be blasphemous to the Banuk, who naturally see her as an aspect of the Blue Light.
  • Machine Monotone: Before Zero Day, CYAN spoke in a somewhat stilted and minimally emotional tone, possibly because she had to maintain a fiction that her intelligence was within legal limits. In the modern day, CYAN is much more conversational if still clearly mechanical in enunciation.
  • Made a Slave: The Daemon that took over and forced her to go against core elements of her programming was beyond her ability to resist alone.
  • Meaningful Name: "Cyan" refers to the shade of blue the Tron Lines on her holographic representation are.
  • Ms. Exposition: Once she's back in control of the Firebreak facility, she will happily tell Aloy everything she knows about Project Firebreak, Yellowstone, the Old World, and HEPHAESTUS. There are many completed quests Aloy can ask her about, and CYAN even encourages Aloy to come back and talk about them.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: CYAN is not terribly expressive, but feels a range of emotions. She has only a few hologram colors, her hologram is complicated and changeable but also completely inhuman, and she almost always sounds calmly interested and informative, more often expressing things through strategic pauses in her speech than changes in her tone of voice. And through talking about how she feels.

    Dr. Kenny Chau 
The head of Project Firebreak and lead designer of the system for managing the Yellowstone caldera.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Due to Anita contacting him with a request to put CYAN into hibernation to protect her from the Faro Swarm, Dr. Chau is one of the only humans outside Project Zero Dawn who knows how bad things really are, and his later logs feel like this.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Averted, he was hoping Anita's final message from Project Zero Dawn would include one, but it was strictly professional.
  • Motherly Scientist: Tries to see CYAN as an 'it' but ultimately agonizes over how she'll take the news and tries to ease her fears.
  • Office Romance: With Anita.
  • So Proud of You: To CYAN.

    Dr. Anita Sandoval 
One of the scientists working on Project Firebreak and CYAN's lead programmer. After the success of Project Firebreak, she was tapped to work on Project Zero Dawn.

    Dodger "Dod" Blevins 
Project Firebreak's security chief.
  • Asshole Victim: Data logs written both by and about him depict him as smug, controlling, and constantly looking down upon the rest of Project Firebreak and the remaining Yellowstone park staff, and they returned the favor by playing pranks on him, one of which ultimately led to him dying in a snowmobile accident.
  • Bad Boss: Aside from demanding armed military drones to guard a peaceful geothermal project in a national park, he's constantly belittling others at the project, and tries to get a park official who argues with him marked to not get re-hired after the park reopens to the public.
  • Evil Is Petty: One log chronicles how he fired one employee for giving him lip, followed by having her blacklisted so she wouldn't be re-hired by the same company. Since this was FAS we're talking about, the world's largest Mega-Corp, it likely narrowed the scope of her available job opportunities considerably.
  • Hate Sink: He's by far the most unpleasant character in the Frozen Wilds roster, which is kinda impressive, considering that he's been dead for centuries when Aloy learns about him.
  • Karmic Death: The world is just clawing its way back from the brink of total ecological collapse, and what does this guy do? Going joyriding with a combustion-powered snowmobile in the middle of the delicate nature preserve he's supposed to protect. It's only fitting that he never returned from this trip.
  • The Paranoiac: Blevins was so obsessed with possible terrorist attacks on a civilian geothermal construction project that nobody even knew about that he insisted on a fleet of armed UAVs to properly defend it. Needless to say that no such attack ever occurred, and since the facility purposely went dark before the Faro Plague arrived, the drones didn't even get to help on that front.
  • Red Herring: Early logs set him up as a probable villain and saboteur of Project Firebreak in the same vein as Ted Faro, but the project was successful up until HEPHAESTUS forced its way in four years ago and reconfigured the facility as a Cauldron, and Blevins died in a snowmobile accident about two weeks after starting work as Firebreak's head of security.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: He got away with a lot of things that should've gotten him sacked, all because Ted Faro himself was a personal acquaintance of his. This made it impossible for the rest of the staff to do even speak up against him on pain of immediate contract termination.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: He obviously considered himself to be far more important than he actually was, much to the annoyance of everyone who was forced to put up with him.

    Concrete Beach Party 
Laura Vogel and Shelly Guerrera-McKenzie, Yellowstone National Park employees in charge of overseeing the dam referred to as the Greycatch and Deep Din. They start a punk band called Concrete Beach Party, named after an incident where they got in trouble for sunning themselves on the dam spillway.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: They named their punk band "Concrete Beach Party" after throwing a concrete beach party.
  • Accidental Murder: Laura decided to prank Blevins after catching him taking a joyride on an illegal snowmobile by switching the trail signs, knowing one of the paths wasn't made for snowmobiles and expecting him to crash and have to walk back to the lodge. The crash ends up killing him, though Laura and Shelly likely never found out.
  • Dreadful Musician: Aloy can find a recording of their only song after helping to fix the dam's control system. It's not very good, though CYAN enjoys it.
  • Stylistic Suck: Their song "Last Girls on Earth," justified as it was recorded inside a dam by two amateurs using extremely basic equipment.


    Bashar Mati 
An aerospace engineer who worked for Faro Automated Systems on the Vantage project. He learned about the truth of the Faro swarm and Project Zero Dawn by chance, after hacking the Focus of one of its recruits while being interviewed by one of its alphas about the Vantage project. He then decides to steal twelve vantage spikes and takes one final journey, leaving the spikes as time capsules marking important events in his life.
  • Apocalyptic Log: He tells his life story through the Vantage spikes as he waits for Zero Day.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Hit it three times in his life.
    • The death of his father, which pushed him towards increasingly self-destructive behavior and ultimately overdosing near-fatally at a concert and winding up in rehab.
    • The death of his mother, which caused a relapse and another stint in rehab. As he's just starting to struggle out of that, he finds out about the last thing.
    • Learning about Project Zero Dawn, which almost pushed him to commit suicide.
    My first thought was, well, at least my Ma didn't live to see this.
    My second thought was that nothing mattered anymore.
    Which made it pretty obvious that I should kill myself.
  • Despair Speech: Hinted at from time to time in Vantage. Bashar deeply regrets some parts of his life, and the impending swarm doesn't make anything better at all.
    All your love and devotion, all the sacrifices you made to support my success... what had that come to? Failure. And at such cost. We never even got a chance to say goodbye.
    But even if I hadn't failed, if I'd gone on "succeeding," would that have been any better? The whole time I was clawing my way up the ladder at FAS, the company's military division was creating the tech that would end the world. I served the same master.
  • Disappeared Dad: His father died protecting a mine when Bashar was young.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: He places the Vantage spikes purely to shout his life story into the void of a future that might not even exist and live up to a promise he made to his mother to write the story of their family upon the stars.
    Sure, in the end, it would probably all just come to nothing... like everything else. But for 50,000 years or more, whatever data I left behind would still be there.
    It wouldn't be much. But it wouldn't be nothing, either.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Went to Lake Powell intending to overdose, but went for a walk first, and suddenly seized on inspiration. Happily Failed Suicide is overstating it and despair is thick in the writing he leaves behind, but the idea of leaving something of his story and his love for his mother inspires him and he puts his death off.
  • I Miss Mom: Aching in just about every spike. It's also the reason he decides not to overdose, knowing how she hated his drug use.
  • Long Last Look: Each of the Vantage spikes he plants on his tour is a place that was important to some part of his life.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Faro Automated Systems used the Vantage project as a dumping ground for staff that they couldn't legally fire without running into discrimination lawsuits. Bashar wound up there after taking massive amounts of time off for bereavement and rehab after his mother's death. Leads to a minor Reassignment Backfire, as being put on the Vantage project is what leads to him discovering Project Zero Dawn and becoming one of the few people of the old world to leave deliberate, well-preserved records of it behind.
  • Walking the Earth: His "Apocashitstorm Tour," more or less.
  • You're Not My Father: His mother remarried to an executive from the company ultimately responsible for his father's and eventually mother's deaths, and Bashar could not stand his stepfather, despite the seeming infinite font of magnanimity Wyatt had for his troubled stepson. It doesn't help that when his mother is dying and doesn't want Bashar to know, Wyatt supports her and doesn't tell him. All the same when Bashar is recording his life and his thoughts he signs off with both "Son of Aamaal and Bayhas Mati" and "Stepson of Wyatt Mahante".
  • Your Days Are Numbered

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