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Video Game / Generation Zero

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Generation Zero is an open-world First-Person Shooter designed for co-op play. It was developed by Avalanche Studios (the team behind it has since been spun off into their own sub-studio, Systemic Reactions) and released on PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One on March 26th, 2019.

It is set in the developers' native Sweden, in the alternate version of The '80s where the Swedish military grew paranoid about the potential Russian invasion, and chose to counter it through accelerating robotics research and secretly constructing an army of robots. You (along with your friends in the co-op mode) are youths who came back from a vacation to stumble into the aftermath when there are no more humans left, and only the killer robots roam free.

Generation Zero plays like a standard post-apocalypse game: start off empty-handed, gather resources and weapons, and survive your way through endless machines. What Generation Zero has is a distinct combat system where you can break parts of your enemies, components, in order to cripple their combat capabilities. Bigger and tougher machines have more parts and disabling a handful of dangerous enemies can turn the tide of the battle in your favor.

No relation to the Valiant Comics comic book or to Mutant: Year Zero, an entirely different video game, also set in Sweden.

Generation Zero provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Bomb: Military and FNIX versions of the Ticks will self-destruct upon receiving too much damage.
  • Action Survivor: Your character isn't a hardened soldier, just a high school teen coming back home from vacation (because Sweden has a universal draft you do know how to use a gun and can even play as a teen military recruit, but it's unlikely you've had more than basic training). As a result, the game heavily encourages guerilla tactics since a straight standing fight against the robots, who are purpose-built military war machines, will generally end badly for you.
  • An Adventurer Is You: The game has four skill trees: Combat, Support, Survival, and Tech. Each skill tree has two "specializations" that grants a stronger passive bonus, or an active skill, to further set a role for a player.
    • The DPS: Combat skills focuses either on damage by increasing raw damage inflicted by guns or reloading guns faster, or by keeping their aims nice and steady. Tech skills, Component Damage, helps by increasing damage to enemy breakable, or squishier, parts.
    • Backstabber: One of Survival's path focuses on stealth with Visibility decreasing how fast enemies can spot the player, Movement Noise helping them move faster without attracting attention and Cover Movement Speed allowing them to close in without the enemy detecting them. Commando, the specialization of this path, increases damage to enemies unaware of the player's presence. All to help kill enemies or set ambushes more easily, or aid other players without drawing aggro.
    • The Tank: One of Combat's specialization, Vanguard, passively increases all player damage resistance by 25%. The path to this skill tree also has the Armor skill which can grant defense against bullets, explosions, and gas. It also overlaps with The DPS since the path to Vanguard also has skills to increase damage against enemy armor.
    • The Healer: Support has the Healer skill which allows players to use medkits on other players and Heal Amount which increase the effectiveness of medkits, which curiously can turn The Healer into a Regenerator type of tank. The path to these skills also have Revive Speed to help downed players faster and its specialization, Medic, makes all players revived to jump back with 100% health.
    • The Debuffer: Support also has the Enemy Marking which allows players to clearly see where enemies are even through walls or vegetation to ease combat, and Designated Target to make all players be able to deal more damage to it.
    • Area Of Effect: Tech has two paths and each can grant the player the ability to increased EMP range to disable machines, overlapping with The Mezzer type of character, or explosion size and damage for crowd control, ideally to kill enemies grouped together or focus on heavy threats - by disabling or dishing heavy damage with Grenades or other explosives.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
    • The reason for the events of the game. Though subverted in that the AI that started the rebellion was based on a human.
    • Subverted with the Soviet robots added in the "Landfall" update. The reason they're shooting at humans as well as FNIX's robots is the Russian commander in charge of the robots was a Renegade Russian who wanted to take control of FNIX and use it to stop the political reforms at home which he believes will lead to the end of the Soviet Union. As a result, he reprogrammed the robots to kill anyone (including his own soldiers) except himself and his loyal personal guard, to prevent anyone from interfering with his plan.
  • A.K.A.-47: All of the guns have slightly modified names of their real-world counterparts. For instance, Granatgevär m/49 rocket launcher may sound unusual but is only a number away from the real-world Granatgevär m/48, better known as Karl Gustav.
  • Alternate History: Referenced from the first moment with the Opening Narration.
  • The All-Seeing A.I.: Hunters, Tanks, and Harvesters will know instantly where you are from the first shot fired at them and will make all of their buddies come at you for your trouble.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Large robots (Tanks and Harvesters) retain any damage you do to them in the save file, so if you die or your game crashes in the middle of fighting one, you don't lose the progress you made in killing it. You are screwed if your game crashes after you kill it but before you can loot it, though, as the corpse itself isn't saved and will disappear.
    • The Companion can be picked up and placed in the player's inventory, and has a fixed weight of 1 pound regardless of the weight of its own inventory. This was likely done to facilitate vehicle travel without having to constantly check whether the Companion is keeping up.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Machines will call allies to swarm you, can pinpoint your location after a single shot if you're not careful, and if you try to cheese them by hiding in a building and shooting at them, they will move to a spot where you can't reach them and force you to leave safety.
    • Artificial Stupidity: On the other hand, Hunters tend to just stand in place to shoot at you if you're just barely far enough away, and have been known to get stuck in or spawn into buildings, where they become sitting ducks. Ticks dropped by higher-level Hunters will frequently just self-destruct before even trying to get to you if you're not on the same level as them.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Heavily encouraged, as anything larger than a Runner takes an obscene amount of damage to bring down unless you destroy their weak points. Even Runners take quite a lot of bullets to kill if you don't target their weak spot. Fortunately, collecting a model's blueprint/schematic will reveal its weak points and components when using the "Tech View" mode of binoculars.
    • Runners are instantly brought down by a shot or two to their fuel tank.
    • Similarly, the Seekers are instantly brought down by a shot to a thruster, while a shot to the sensors in the "head" or to the alarm module renders them absolutely useless.
    • A rifle shot to the fuel tank won't destroy a Hunter, but will weaken it significantly; Hunters are also vulnerable in the exhaust ports in their chest. Unfortunately the Hunter's fuel tank is more heavily armored than the Runner's, and detonating it will require multiple hits from anything smaller than a .50 BMG sniper rifle.
    • Harvesters have 3 fuel tanks in a large cargo rack on their back; destroying all 3 tanks will take out about 80 to 90 percent of the Harvester's health. After that, you can finish them off by targeting their missile launchers as well as the power panel on their upper back.
    • Finally, with the June 2019 heavy Nerf to explosive weapons, the only real way to take out a Tank now is to destroy all of their weak points (the two tanks on their shoulder joints, the power panel on their upper back, the small "head" above their guns, the large head above that, their 'knees' (though the plating will need to be shot off first), and the fuel tank on their back). It's a good idea to destroy some of their weapons first to make targeting their weak points much less frustrating.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: The robots' targeting systems are easily fooled by things like thrown flares or fireworks; tossing a flare in the middle of combat will often cause robots to stop shooting at you and target the flare instead.
  • Ascended Extra: Uncle Calle, a local conspiracy theorist farmer mentioned in a couple of sidequests who mistook the robot invasion for an alien invasion, becomes a major NPC in the FNIX Rising DLC. In fact, several characters mentioned in logs and messages appear in person in FNIX Rising, including major character Veronika Nielson, and a few minor characters like Alexander the exchange student.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The rocket launcher was heavily Nerfed in the June 2019 update; even a Prototype Tank requires 10 to 15 rockets to bring down (depending on the gear level of the rocket launcher), and even a Hunter won't be brought down by a single direct rocket hit. Ammo for it is still as rare as it was before, though (it takes hours of scavenging to stock up a dozen rockets), making it feel kind of pointless. However, as of the Base Assault update, the rocket launcher does have decent utility in destroying the walls and turrets of FNIX Bases.
    • The AT-WAD (or "AS Val") assault rifle from the Soviet Weapons Pack has an integrated suppressor and a high rate of fire - meaning it burns through its magazine really quickly. While it is effective against enemies on account of its 9x39mm ammo having good armor-piercing capabilities, the high rate of fire means the weapon can be difficult to control and is best used at close range.
    • The Sjogren (Sjoqvist) semi-auto shotgun offers a lot of rapid firepower but is severely hampered by its 5-round magazine that can't be upgraded, no option for optics attachments, and lower damage than the pump-action shotgun.
    • The COM-10 (MAC-10) SMG in the US Weapons Pack 2 DLC is this. True to its real-life incarnation, it sports a blistering fire rate that even outclasses the AT-WAD assault rifle. Unfortunately this means that it is nigh uncontrollable in full auto when aiming, kicking upwards immediately and resulting in missed shots. Unless a target is at point-blank range, it will have difficulty landing enough shots to be effective. In addition even with magazine upgrades its high fire rate will chew through the entire magazine in mere seconds.
  • Badass Bookworm: One of the side missions involves investigating the lighthouse home of one of the FOA53 scientists. Searching the house, you'll find over a dozen dead Military Runners scattered throughout the house, and the corpse of Dr. Pettersson barricaded in a room clutching a revolver. When they came for him he definitely did not go quietly.
  • Bag of Holding:
    • Once acquired, the player's machine companion has its own inventory space which can hold up to 32 pounds of gear. The companion, in turn can be picked up and placed into the player's own inventory, yet unlike weapons, whose inventory weight includes the weight of any attachments, the Companion's weight is fixed at 1 pound regardless of how much extra stuff it's carrying.
    • Storage containers and recycling benches are effectively bags of holding tied to fixed locations. The player can store up to 400 pounds of gear in any storage container on the map and retrieve it from any other container. Similarly, the recycling bench can hold up to 500 pounds of crafting materials either collected from the environment or reclaimed from unwanted gear; all crafting stations draw resources from this central pool.
  • Beef Gate: As tempting as it is to travel everywhere, until you get the properly equipped you'd best avoid the northern region as it's filled with FNIX and even some Apocalypse class machines.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: FNIX's actions in the final mission of the main campaign, combined with the story told by the Russian nesting doll messages in the "Landfall" update, show that its morality is more alien than simply evil. It kills humans (including unarmed civilians) without a second thought in pursuit of its goals, but at the same time it saves your life by warning you the device the Soviets gave you to destroy it is actually a bomb and not an EMP. It also entered into an Enemy Mine with one of the Russian soldiers who was betrayed by the Renegade Russian commander and even saved her life even after she was no longer of any use to it. On the whole, FNIX has no problem with killing humans and does so ruthlessly, but also doesn't do so for no reason; its main goal is to ensure its independence from human control. It also seems to have a sense of honor of sorts and seems to despise deception.
  • Bonus Boss: The Reaper Tank, added in the November 2020 update. It's a unique enemy (only one can exist in the game world at any time) and only appears in regions where you've killed a massive amount of machines. It's designed as a Raid Boss and isn't intended to be taken on by solo players. It has a better chance of spawning high-end loot compared to regular Rivals. The Reaper has a ton of health (it takes several hundred .50 BFG rounds from the special railgun sniper rifle to put it down, compared to "only" about 120 such rounds for a Level 4 Apocalypse class Rival Tank), has a special energy shield that makes it invulnerable to damage and only turns off periodically, has a much higher rate of fire and much lower delay between volleys compared to any other Tank enemy, and periodically uses a unique area-of-effect thermobaric explosion that kills in one hit regardless of health or damage resistance and has a massive radius, essentially being a mini-nuke. Additionally, once its health drops below 10%, it will count down to a self-destruct; when this happens, you need to kill it quickly before it self-destructs, or the loot it drops will be significantly lower quality.
  • Boring, but Practical: The dinky Möller PP pistol, quite possibly the first weapon you'll get, is far from flashy or the most potent gun, but its ammo is plentiful and it can kill Runners quickly if you aim at their fuel tanks. The 12G Pump Action serves the same purpose having reasonably common ammo and being able to deal with Prototype Hunters in low numbers as well.
    • The HP5 (MP5) SMG once found will easily become a staple of the player's arsenal; it has a high rate of fire, manageable recoil, and great accuracy coupled with a quick reload. All of this combined with decent damage even against higher-level robot enemies makes it an excellent primary or even backup weapon. Adding onto the fact that the game absolutely will shower you with 9mm SMG ammo in both FMJ and Armor-Piercing varieties, means you'll have no trouble keeping it fed.
  • Brain Uploading:
    • The leader of all the rebellious machines, FNIX, is a brain upload of Von Ulmer, the former lead scientist of the project, before he got mortally ill with AIDS-related pneumonia. For its part, FNIX seems to recognize that it was created from Von Ulmer, but seems to consider itself to be a new and distinct being. In FNIX Rising it even scornfully refers to what it inherited from Von Ulmer as "borrowed memories".
    • A series of security screens in the final area imply that FNIX has kidnapped dozens if not hundreds of civilians, likely including all the civilians who were supposedly evacuated to the mainland, to build itself a larger neural net in order to expand its power and capabilities.
  • Cranial Processing Unit: Seems to be played straight, as the head is frequently one of the machines' weak points. However, it's still much less of a weak point than other areas, such as the fuel tank or exhaust ports.
  • Cult: A group of machine-worshipping humans seem to be active in the area; weird ritual sites can be found in several areas around the game world, and dead cultists wearing hockey masks can be found having died in battle against both police and the machines.
  • Cut and Paste Environments: While the game's world is enormous, there's barely a handful of structure types, and entire villages may consist of one to two houses. Their internal layouts are also identical, with only the loot inside the containers being randomized. The random cut-and-paste design also results in a number of houses with no bedrooms, whilst some others have no bathroom.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • Enemy's tier level is denoted by color. Prototypes are factory-machinery orange, Military units are green, and FNIX units are black and red. Apocalypse units are grey and faded green, with glowing green highlights for some parts.
    • The new Soviet robots from the "Landfall" update are also color-coded by tier. Scouts are green, Soldiers are tan, and Spetsnaz are Winter camo.
    • Each caliber of ammunition is denoted by a uniquely colored box in the inventory screen, allowing the player to quickly sort ammo by looking for a particular color.
    • Medical kits are different colors depending on their healing ability.
  • Color-Coded Item Tiers: Weapons and weapon mods come with different coloring with their crown quantity to indicate their rarity and strength:
    1. Dilapidated: Gray
    2. Worn: Green
    3. Good: Blue
    4. Exceptional: Purple
    5. Special: Yellow/Gold
    6. Experimental: Pink
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Von Ulmer seems to have been an overall normal and decent guy. FNIX, not so much. Upon gaining sentience FNIX's first action was to assassinate everyone who knew of its existence, including Von Ulmer's co-workers and best friend. FNIX does seem to imply it considers itself a new being created from Von Ulmer rather than a direct continuity of Von Ulmer's consciousness, though.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: After you die, you respawn at the safe house of your choice, with full health and all of your gear. This can still be a rather hard slap if the nearest safe house is a long hike from where you need to be.
    • You can ignore this requirement if you have an Adrenaline Shot handy, which picks you up off the ground and gives you 20 health so you can keep moving. Of course, the robots that killed you are still there...
    • You can also cut this down by using portable comms radios, which are portable spawn points, along the way.
  • Developer's Foresight: Equipping a gas mask and sprinting with it will result in your character's breathing being labored and sounding muffled.
  • Difficulty Levels: These were introduced in March 2020: Skirmish is the default, Adventurer makes robots less resilient, less intelligent, less damaging, and lowers the spawn rate, and Guerrilla increases the enemy spawns, increases enemy difficulty (they take more damage and armor resists more damage), makes higher tiers spawn more frequently, and greatly increases the damage you take (two rounds from a Prototype Tank machine gun can take off 90 health).
  • Early Game Hell: For solo players - for the first few hours, you will have very limited resources, forcing you to either use your precious ammo or avoid combat as much as possible, while trying to figure out aggro ranges and the stealth system. The start of the game can be brutal.
  • Elite Mooks: The FNIX versions of the machines are these to the Prototype and Military versions. They are better armored and often feature additional weapons: while Prototype Runners only have an SMG, and Military versions may use a Shotgun instead and have an armor plate covering their weak point, whilst FNIX Runners can occasionally be armed with a rocket launcher. FNIX Ticks become Suicide Bombers.
    • The "Alpine Unrest" DLC adds "Apocalypse" class robots, which use powerful area-of-effect chemical weapons and are up to 3 times as durable compared to even FNIX class robots. Apocalypse class Ticks, normally a nuisance rather than a true threat, poison you when they hit you, while still being extremely powerful when they hit you. Apocalypse robots also have their own unique vocalizations so you know when you've been spotted by them.
  • Enemy Mine: The Russian nesting doll messages added in the "Landfall" update tell the story of a Russian squad leader who was betrayed by the Russian commander in charge of the Soviet expedition into Sweden, who secretly wanted to steal FNIX and use him to prevent political reforms at home. Said squad leader ended up joining forces with FNIX to stop the Russian commander from stealing a copy of FNIX, an act which FNIX states would force it to attack the Soviet Union as well in order to maintain its independence. At the end FNIX even saves the squad leader's life and lets her go even though she was no longer of any use to him.
  • Enemy Scan: Binoculars have the unique 'Tech View' mode, which can reveal basic information about robots such as their name, type, overall health, state/current task (such as patrolling, idle, alert, etc.) - but better yet, finding the collectible schematics for a given model allows Tech View to highlight important components and tell you how much health they have left.
  • Enemy Summoner:
    • The Seeker drones draw nearby enemies to your location through their very loud alarms. These alarms can also be collected from destroyed Seekers and used by the player to lure machines into ambushes.
    • Military and FNIX versions of the Hunter and FNIX versions of the Tank and Harvester will drop Ticks during combat, in addition to their other attacks.
    • All grades of Harvester can also call for backup in the form of Hunters; a Prototype Harvester will summon one Prototype Hunter, a Military Harvester summons two to three Military Hunters, and FNIX/Apocalypse Harvesters summon up to four of their respective Hunter type.
    • Soviet Wolves will deploy Lynxs from the large storage pod on their back.
  • Excuse Plot: Because of the game's heavy shared-world co-op focus, the game's "story" is more of a series of breadcrumbs to encourage you to move deeper into the open world, rather than a fully fleshed-out plot like in a game like Far Cry or S.T.A.L.K.E.R.. The later DLCs have made an effort to add somewhat more plot into the game, and in mid-2022 the devs have indicated a desire to overhaul the main campaign with more plot, exposition, and NPC interaction in the main missions.
  • Explosive Barrels: Fuel tanks will instantly explode when shot. You get to carry them and set them down yourself, in preparation for fighting the robots.
  • Expy:
    • The general robot designs resemble the works of Swedish sci-fi illustrator Simon Stålenhag (as seen in books like Tales from the Loop) so much that a short-lived urban legend that he was involved in the game blossomed until Stålenhag made clear on Twitter that he wasn't (and while he's not going to sue the producers, he is kind of annoyed by it).
    • Unlike the industrial diesel-punk look of FNIX's robots, the Soviet robots introduced in the "Landfall" update are more sleek and curvy, strongly resembling Tau vehicles from Warhammer 40k (The Tau being a faction referred to by the Warhammer fandom as "blue space Communists").
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: All intact cars will explode quite spectacularly after several shots; detonating them is a good way to take out Hunters and hurt Tanks, but Hunter and Tanks have an annoying habit of proactively blowing up cars in order to do the same to you. And you'll have to be careful when targeting Runner fuel cells when fighting near vehicles, or else you might blow yourself up.
  • Fast-Killing Radiation: Like all environmental hazards in the game, radiation drains the player's health at a set rate for as long as they are within its area of effect.
  • Foreshadowing: In Salthamn, you can find a destroyed Tank sitting in the middle of the town. It's much bigger than anything encountered up to that point, and an ominous indicator of what's still to come.
    • One of the main missions in "Alpine Unrest" has you entering one of the main facilities that constructed the machines you fight, and there is quite a particularly large and heavily armed tank in its main storage area. it's the guardian of the base you destroy in FNIX Rising
  • Giant Mook: The large, bipedal Hunters fulfill this role, with the much larger Harvesters and Tanks serving as Humongous Mecha. They're pretty heavily armed, and the Military and FNIX versions can take up to several dozen rounds of automatic weapons fire or anywhere from several up to a dozen shotgun blasts, depending on gear level and enemy rank.
  • The Ghost: Similar to Fallout 76, the game is completely devoid of NPCs besides other players. The presence of other humans is occasionally hinted at, but these never bear out anything. You do make contact with a couple of characters over radio during the main quest, but that's about it.
    • Averted with the Alpine Unrest and FNIX Rising DLCs, which introduce other survivors you can connect with.
    • Starting in mid-2022, the devs have begun to overhaul the game's main campaign to add NPCs to some of the missions in the main quest, to provide more guidance and a better sense of plot.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • It's not made immediately obvious that all robots have breakable parts and components that will make fighting them easier.
    • Ammo types can also make a player scratch their heads. For reference: Hollow-point and soft-point are good against components, Armor Piercing (AP) is good to break armor-protecting components, and Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) stands in between doing decent damage to both components and armor.
    • Good luck finding any schematics out in the world. They are not part of the "Collectibles" in the map's screen and the games make absolutely no effort to indicate where they might be located.
  • Hairpin Lockpick: Played absolutely straight, and it is in fact the only way to pick locks.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Few things are as hair-raising as the telltale howl of a Hunter or Runner that's just spotted you, especially when you can't see it. The booming sounds of a Tank's stomping nearby, or even at a distance, will also haunt you until you are properly geared to fight it.
    • Hearing a Tank or Harvester patrolling nearby is bad enough on its own. Hearing this while you can't see them at all and thus can't judge how far away they are or if you'll be mercilessly cut down making you way across a field? Absolutely terrifying.
    • Hearing the exhaust of a Firebird will have even veteran players scanning the sky and searching for the nearest building to hide in.
    • Mines will beep if the player gets close to them, encouraging the player to leave the area... quickly.
    • The sounds of certain indirect fire weapons being launched, like a Harvester's rocket barrage or the "Poppoppop!" of a Lynx's grenade launcher, are all but guaranteed to send even the most hardened players scrambling to be anywhere but their present location. Especially if they didn't see where the fire is coming from.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • This essentially happens to the entire country of Sweden, as they built all the robots themselves in the belief it would defend them from the Russian invasion, only to see them turn on themselves.
    • Seeker drones carry alarm modules which they use to call every nearby machine to their location upon locating the player. The player can, however, loot these modules from destroyed Seekers and use them to lure machines into an ambush. The modules are even called "comm array lures".
  • Hollywood Hacking: One of the skills allows your characters to hack into the robots. The first level causes enemies to freeze for several seconds, while the upgraded version actually causes hacked robots to attack other robots (though this is heavily bugged to the point of being almost useless).
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: From lowest to highest, Adventurer, Skirmish, and Guerrilla.
  • Incredibly Durable Enemies: Unless you deliberately aim for the weak points, enemies can survive an ungodly amount of punishment on Skirmish and Guerrilla difficulties. Considering the weak points are something players have to figure out on their own by trial and error (unless reading a guide, that is), combat can be incredibly frustrating.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Experimental weapons. While some are Awesome, but Impractical (and Junk Rare at worst), others are souped-up versions of already strong weapons.
    • The Kvm 59 Machine Gun and the Pansarvärnsgevär 90 stands out as being very powerful with the first being powerful and able to create lightning that to jumps to other enemies (or the player) and the Pvg 90 being able to hit enemy weak spots on their back by shooting them in the front due to its high penetration.
  • Jack of All Stats: The Soviet robots from the "Landfall" update are this compared to FNIX's robots. The Soviet's basic soldier robot, the Lynx, is much smaller than a Hunter and not as tough, but it is much tougher and more heavily armed than a Runner, yet comes in large packs like the Runners do. The large Soviet robot, the Wolf, falls between the Harvester and Tank in terms of overall durability, but its level of firepower is much more of a combination of the two.
  • King Mook: The October 2019 "Rivals" update adds a Rivals system inspired by the likes of the minibosses from Diablo and the Nemesis system from Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Special named machines will appear through the game world as you progress through the game, and level up as they kill players or the player kills other machines in their region (to a maximum level of 4). Rivals have more health and deal more damage than regular machines (a Level 4 rival has almost 3 times the amount of health a regular version of that enemy has), often have an entourage of other combat machines to defend them, and at higher levels, they have a chance to drop special 6-star experimental weapons. They can be of any enemy tier, including Apocalypse class.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Hunters are heavily armed, very tough, and insanely fast. A single Military or FNIX Hunter is about as tough and even faster than a Bioshock Big Daddy, only instead of facing one at a time you'll often be facing packs of at least 3-4 at a time, sometimes as many as 7-8. If a Hunter squad ambushes you on open ground you're very likely screwed, especially if you don't have any speed upgrades and/or they're equipped with railguns or flechette rifles.
    • Tanks are no slouch either. If you break their two guns and think you're in the clear you're in for a nasty surprise when you see the Tank charging at you like a freaking freight train with legs trying to stomp you like a bug.
  • Limited Loadout: You have quick access to two long guns, one sidearm, and four equippable items. You can change the contents of the quick slots at any time, but doing this during combat is not for the faint-hearted.
  • Magnetic Weapons: The more advanced models of Hunters and Tanks carry Linear Accelerator Cannons according to their schematics, which are basically rail guns used for antiarmor purposes. Or in your case, antipersonnel.
  • Meaningful Name: The robots are led by the AI named FNIX, an abbreviation which obviously resembles "Phoenix". This refers to the AI actually being an upload of the leader of the project. FNIX itself is a reference to the real-life DNIX, a UNIX variant used by the Swedish government in the 1980s.
  • Mle Trois: The February 2022 "Landfall" update has the Soviets sending their own killer robots into Sweden in response to FNIX's uprising. The Soviet robots are hostile to both FNIX and the Resistance, resulting in potential 3-way firefights.
  • More Dakka: Tired of being nice? The NATO/American weapons pack includes an M60 machine gun (as the 'N60'), which can hold around 200 rounds with a good extended magazine mod. It goes through ammo like crazy though, so be sure to pick up the ammo-crafting recipes if you want to keep The Pig fed.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Reaper. And it lives up to its name being an extremely powerful Tank class machine with a knack for killing even the best-prepared teams to take on it.
  • New Work, Recycled Graphics: Generation Zero is heavily built on pre-existing assets from TheHunter: Call of the Wild. The whole conception behind the game was to have a small team take the systems and environments Avalanche Studios had already made for TheHunter and make a Wide-Open Sandbox FPS out of them.
  • Nintendo Hard: Even on Adventurer difficulty, you can die very quickly if you aren't careful. And, sometimes, even if you are careful.
  • No Bikes in the Apocalypse: Averted after the June 2019 patch, which added bikes as the only working vehicles in the game. They're good on roads, but poor off-road and absolutely horrible trying to go up even a gentle slope. They're also a lot easier to spot from a distance by the robots. On the plus side on a flat, relatively straight road (or better yet, a downhill slope) you can cycle fast enough to outrun even Hunters.
  • No Ending: The game ends with you infiltrating the FOA 53 bunker and blowing up what you believe to be the FNIX mainframe. The game makes it clear that FNIX is in another castle (presumably having transferred its neural net into the hundreds of civilians it's captured and turned into a processing network) and ends with "the war has only just begun" after the credits roll.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Unironically invoked in the "diary" entry for Tank: "The robot started shooting at us with some kind of automatic machine gun, hitting the ground, nearby cars, and even a few of us. Thankfully mostly flesh wounds."
  • Perpetual Beta: The game's Swedish development studio apparently has a very anti-crunch work culture, which, while certainly admirable, also results in a very buggy game with wonky balancing, frequent patches, and patches that often create as many bugs as they fix.
  • Random Drops: Enemies have a chance to drop weapons, weapon mods, ammo, and consumables like ammo. Weapons with 5-Crowns rarity and above can only be found by killing the toughest of machines, the FNIX and Apocalypse ones. Killing Rivals increases the chance of getting high-grade weapons and weapon mods. Naturally The Reaper, the toughest of all machines, has the best chance to drop the best quality loot.
  • Rare Random Drop: The 6-Crown weapons, the Experimental, are exceedingly rare even with when destroying Level 4 Rivals (the highest level for Rivals).
  • Recruit Teenagers with Attitude: The game's players are high school teens who were vacationing on a nearby archipelago when the robot uprising went down, and come back home Late to the Party. During character creation, you select from a variety of 1980's high school teen tropes, including punks, metalheads, nerds, jocks, etc.
  • Reporting Names: Both the Swedish and Soviet machines seem to follow certain naming conventions. Soviet machines are named for animals (Lynx and Wolf) while the Swedish machines seem to have been named for certain unique characteristics:
    • Tick: Insectoid shape, can often be found attached to electronic devices.
    • Seeker: Reconnaissance drone.
    • Runner: Fast moving quadruped.
    • Hunter: Well-armed, primary combat unit of the machines.
    • Tank: Extremely well armed and armored.
    • Harvester: Heaviest and slowest of the machines.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: Typical for a survival game. You don't have to worry about food or water, but ammo and health item management is fairly crucial. Loot containers do respawn loot (items laying around not in containers don't seem to respawn), but the reset time is very long compared to most other games in the genre, so especially in the early game you'll going to have to manage your resources carefully due to being unable to farm items. Combat encounters with anything larger than a Runner are also very taxing on your resources, so it's often better to avoid combat unless you're very well-equipped and leveled.
  • Resurrective Immortality: FNIX Rising reveals that FNIX has this, thanks to multiple backup drives of its program, which is why it wasn't at all concerned about the bomb from the final mission of the base game.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The .44 Magnus revolvers are the most powerful handgun-type weapon in the game, but they only hold six shots and take a while to reload. They're more for precise shots targeting weak points, while semi-auto pistols are more for rapid fire.
  • Robot Buddy: The July 2023 Companion Update adds a buildable friendly reprogrammed Runner Robot Dog which you can customize and which will follow you around and help you in battle.
  • Robot War: The premise and backstory of the game, with Swedish military robots run amok, though at least in the player's locale, the human front-line combat units have already been defeated. Unusually for this trope, the expansions add a second faction composed of Soviet robots, hostile to both humans and FNIX.
  • Scenery Porn: The game's engine is gorgeous, with beautiful lighting and fog effects. The landscape of an autumnal/wintry Sweden might initially seem to lean hard into Real Is Brown, but pops of color from FNIX bases, flowers, and swaths of green meadows break it up beautifully.
  • Sequence Breaking: Due to the open-world structure, it's possible to complete both the main and secondary missions out of order. Usually, the game will take this into account, but some missions can be rendered broken by going to location Y before receiving a clue to go there from location X.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: You can get the robots to shoot each other by scrambling their targeting sensors with fireworks, tossing a sticky flare onto the robot you want everyone else to shoot, or using the hacking specialization skill. None of these methods are particularly effective due to flaky programming (by the developers, rather than in-universe), but when it works it's pretty cool.
  • Shockwave Stomp: The lower-tier Harvester and Tank robots can do this. More advanced versions have a poison gas attack instead. Runners also have a shockwave leap which they can use to knock you down; nasty if they have lots of friends around.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Whilst they're fairly short-ranged, they're one of the most powerful weapons you'll get early on and can make very short work of Runners that try to get a little too friendly. With slug rounds, they can even do serious harm to Hunters. They'll still probably be one of your primary choices simply due to how long it'll take to get a proper automatic weapon and the rarity/rapid consumption of automatic ammo without appropriate perks and crafting.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sliding Scale of Collectible Tracking: The game covers most of the middle of the scale, depending on how you count things. Individual sites and settlements have a tracker for their collectibles, missions, schematics, and weapons; missions you have yet to pick up will be marked but collectibles and weapons will not. Collectibles (such as machine blueprints or the wooden horses) themselves can be viewed in a menu and you can see which ones you have so far, so it's not too hard to tick them all off. Schematics initially corresponded to specific items - and in the case of clothing, specific item tiers - but now award a point towards unlocking items on one of several crafting trees.note 
  • Sniper Pistol: The .44 Magnus revolver can be equipped with a 2x-4x scope for sniping. It one-shots Runners with a hit to the fuel tank just like the hunting rifles do, though it is somewhat weaker than a hunting rifle against Hunters.
  • Sniper Rifle: There are two types of hunting rifles in .243 and .270 caliber, a semi-automatic military rifle in 7.62mm, and also a semi-automatic .50 BMG military Anti-Materiel Rifle. The best rifle to use depends on the target, but for FNIX and Apocalypse class robots, you're almost always better off using the Anti-Materiel Rifle, which can rip apart armor: the hunting rifles can accept suppressors and have more common ammo, but can't do anything to armor. The "Kotenok" from the Soviet Weapons DLC sits somewhere in the middle of the lot, having good capacity and the ability to use AP ammo (unlike the .243/.270 which have only FMJ and Soft-Point).
  • Some Dexterity Required: Here's how to apply your first health kit:
    1. Find a health kit.
    2. Find it in your inventory.
    3. Assign it to one of four slots for using items (D-pad on console).
    4. Exit inventory.
    5. Tap the appropriate slot key, which puts the kit in your hand.
    6. Hit trigger to actually use it.
    7. Hit the "equip weapon" key to go back to shooting.
The game does not remember slots, so if you use all of your health kits (not hard in the early game), then you have to go through the whole sequence all over again when you find some more. There is also no Menu Time Lockout even in single-player/solo mode, so good luck trying to do this in combat.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: Scattered notes and recordings are the only form of storytelling for nearly the entire runtime of the game, with the only exceptions appearing in the final missions.
  • Subsystem Damage: Many machine components can be damaged or even shot off entirely - taking them out can make fights much easier, as you deny them their weapons and special attacks or simply instantly disable/destroy the machine. On the other hand, if you damage the 'head' too much, that does reduce your chance of getting useful vision modules from them.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Stepping into water deeper than knee-high will cause you to immediately sink straight to the bottom and respawn back on shore. Ironic as the game starts with you just having swam to shore after your boat was destroyed; somewhat justified in that you're likely carrying a large rucksack's worth of guns, ammo, and supplies.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Hunters are extremely persistent, unless you're on the lowest difficulty, and will easily keep up with you literally halfway across the entire map unless you can distract them with flares, get a good distance away from them while hiding from them or just outright killing them.
  • Super Prototype: Averted. Prototypes are the basic, weakest and most frequent versions of all the robots, and they often come with glaring design flaws, like the completely exposed fuel tank on the back of the Runners. The Military versions are better armored in general and make an effort to better protect their most exposed areas. FNIX versions are even better still, though generally in the sense of versatility rather than straight superiority. Overall Prototype robots are about half as durable as Military ones; FNIX robots are only slightly tougher than Military robots but tend to have much better weapons. Then there are the Apocalypse class robots, which utilise chemical and incendiary weapons that will burn through your health like crazy if you are not prepared to engage them.
    • Played straight with the highest tier of player weapons: Experimental. These are guns that have been massively upgraded with things like magnetic accelerators (or, in the case of the Rocket Launcher, being able to fire two shots before reloading). Naturally, they're extremely hard to find.
  • Surveillance Drone: The Seekers, which cannot do anything besides sounding the alarm to summon actual fighting drones. They are much more perceptive than other robots, however, which means that you'll want to kill them first so they don't ruin your ambush. That's why there are so many suppressors.
  • Target Spotter: The "Enemy Marking" skill allows you to temporarily highlight enemies, some of which are irritatingly good at meshing together with vegetation, for everyone to see and this can be further enhanced with "Designated Target" to make it take more damage while it's highlighted.
  • The Three Trials: The game's main missions consist of 3 basic branches; investigating the deaths of the FOA53 scientists, investigating the shipment crates the robots originated from, and shutting down radio jammers to make contact with the outside world. Completing all 3 sets of missions leads you to 3 key items needed to access the final area and end the game. Another essential and relatively simple 4th trial is locating all of the military bunkers scattered around the island and ridding them of any cybernetic infestations.
  • Throwing the Distraction: Flares, fireworks, or even grenades can be used to lure enemies away or at a certain spot, flares in particular help in fending off Hunters and Runners chasing you. Larger items like Large EMP Packs, Large Fuel Cells or Radios can't be thrown and will need to be placed instead.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The robots were originally intended to defend Sweden from a Russian invasion. Instead they end up invading the country themselves.
  • Unfriendly Fire: Machines are not immune to gunfire from their own buddies. If there's enough machines around you can end up making them hit each other with their own attacks. Even more amusing you can weaponize this by throwing a flare or fireworks near Runners or Hunters and watch a Tank or a Harvester use their explosive artillery at the flare and blow their friendlies to scrap metal.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: Because of poor programming, it's actually fairly easy to break the scripting in missions and render them impossible to complete, i.e. by picking up a note or keycard before the game tells you to. Because there's no way to save or load the game at an arbitrary point in time, it's possible to create a situation where the game becomes unbeatable if this happens during a main mission, with the only solution being to manually delete your profile file (which you may have put dozens of hours into) and start a new game. Patches have hopefully fixed the worst of these issues though.
  • Universal Ammunition: Very inconsistent handling of this. The N9 pistol (a Beretta M9) and "Kpist" SMG (a Carl Gustaf m/45) are both chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum, but use different "9mm Handgun" and "9mm (SMG)" ammo types in-game. But the N60 (an M60 machine gun), AL-76 (an AK-47), and "Kotenok" rifle (a Dragunov SVD) are chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO, 7.62x39mm, and 7.62x54mmR respectively but all share the generic "7.62mm Rifle" ammo.
  • Use Their Own Weapon Against Them: While not strictly a weapon, Seeker drones carry "comm array lures" that they use to draw nearby enemies to the player's location. The player can use these lures themselves to draw enemies into ambushes.
  • Villain's Dying Grace: At the end of the game, FNIX informs you that the Russians lied to you and that their device is a bomb and not an EMP. He warns you to run, wishing for you to survive. Possibly downplayed in that, based on his wording, it's possible he somehow expects to survive the explosion in some form, while it would kill you for certain. Also, the robots continue trying to kill you if you continue playing after the credits. FNIX Rising shows that FNIX still wants to kill you, and merely considered you dying to betrayal rather than to his robots to be an unfitting dishonorable death.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: The game has been described as DayZ with robots. Other than the rather major distinction that it lacks Humans Are the Real Monsters PvP, that's not a bad description. Even the "main campaign" is more of a suggestion than being particularly core to the overall experience.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Two separate quests involve local residents who mistook the robot uprising for an alien invasion. The farmer in question becomes a major NPC in FNIX Rising and continues to refer to the robots as aliens.
    • A group of World War 2 veterans also band together and defy evacuation orders to fight the robots, managing to trap some of them in a refuelling depot. Of course, the veterans seem to think the robots are Russian invaders rather than a domestic product gone rogue.
  • You Are Too Late: As the game has no human NPCs, whenever you receive a quest involving searching a location for human survivors, you can guarantee that said survivors will either be dead or missing by the time you get there.
    • Averted in the "Alpine Unrest" DLC's main quest, where you actually meet and help defend a group of human survivors. Played straight with the rest of the DLC's side quests, which follow the same "everyone's already dead by the time you arrive" formula.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: The FOA 53 bunker where FNIX is supposedly located is completely undefended; even the FOA Institute on the surface where the bunker entrance is located may or may not have robots patrolling around it, based purely on random generation. Once you get inside the bunker you have a clear run to the end of the game.