Horizon Forbidden West reveals an existential threat in Nemesis, which will need to build an army of machines like Specters to destroy Earth.
Horizon Forbidden West used its third act to reveal the true enemy of the franchise, and the foe who set the series in motion: a sentient AI called Nemesis. An amalgam of all the Far Zenith members’ intellect and emotions, Nemesis is on its way to Earth to destroy its creators, unaware of the events of Horizon Forbidden West that saw them wiped out. With such a vast intellect, Nemesis must create war machines akin to the Far Zenith Specters rather than the animal and megafauna machines from the Zero Dawn terraforming system.
Horizon Forbidden West introduced Far Zenith as primary antagonists to the story, with clues about their existence sprinkled through Horizon Zero Dawn and fleshed out in the sequel. With their arrival in Forbidden West, these powerful foes brought a new enemy type called Specters – nimble, fluid machines with different aesthetics compared to the machines found on Earth. Similar to the Chariot Line Corrupters, Specters are far more advanced and composed of nanotechnology developed by Far Zenith on Sirius. Thus, they should set a blueprint for the larger coming invasion.
Specters in Horizon Forbidden West
Specters are considered a Combat Class machine within the lore of Horizon Forbidden West, created on Sirius by Far Zenith using knowledge and technology that far exceeded that of humanity in the 21st century. Specters are covered in white-gold armor plating that can turn into weapons that gravitationally reattach to the host. It seems that, in part, their technology consists of nanotechnology, which makes them formidable foes.
They resemble the Chariot-line Corruptors from Faro Automated Solutions, yet are far more advanced with fluid dynamics and movement that create a sleek, other-worldly appearance. Their movements are more graceful and elegant, presumably due to their nanotechnology composition. Their eyes are two rectangular blue lights that help stand out against their white-gold armor plating, and they are unable to be overridden.
Aloy encounters Specters throughout her dealings with Far Zenith in Horizon Forbidden West, as the 11 surviving members of Far Zenith have the material to construct a printing matrix that produces them on Earth. Specters often act as servants for Far Zenith, though they are programmed with plenty of hostility and combat tactics that make them deadly if not dealt with. They are weak to Acid and Plasma weapons, but show strength toward Shock, Fire, and Purgewater ammo types.
Nemesis Can Build Machines from Far Zenith’s Bank of Intellect
Far Zenith used their printing matrix on Earth to create the elegant, futuristic-looking Specters. However, the vast knowledge gained from their time on Earth’s past and innovations on Sirius makes a perfect template for Nemesis to create an army of machines far deadlier than Specters – and even those of Zero Dawn. With Far Zenith capable of making shields that protect themselves from harm, Nemesis can easily protect any machine in the same way. These shields were also seen surrounding the Zenith base, meaning Nemesis could isolate itself from harm.
Since Specters resemble Corruptors, it’s more than likely Nemesis can build its machine types based on other robots that existed in the 21st century, which different corporations used for entertainment, war, and protection of resources. For example, the Chariot line’s Horus devices resembles a giant arthropod-like creature, not unlike the Reapers from Mass Effect. With such designs possible for other robot types, the machines that Nemesis constructs need to be unique, menacing, and possibly biomechanical in appearance.
Meanwhile, GAIA’s subordinate function HEPHAESTUS has grown more potent after being in the Zenith printing matrix, yet it lacks Nemesis’ collective upload from Far Zenith. No one knows how Hephaestus or GAIA will respond to Nemesis’ existential threat. Still, whatever is thrown at such a deadly AI, Nemesis has the ability and knowledge to potentially outweigh Hephaestus, GAIA, and their creations, creating deadly robots that can do more harm than even the Chariot line which ended the world.
Horizon Forbidden West is available now for PS4 and PS5.