Before I go any further, I want to issue a massive spoiler warning for the newly released Horizon Burning Shores. To get to the heart of the matter, I will spoil a major plot point of the DLC.
Let me begin by saying that I saw that ending coming from practically the start.
For those not in the know, Horizon Burning Shores ended with Aloy sharing a kiss with Seyka in an optional cutscene.
One colossal issue the DLC has faced since its release was a review bombing campaign. Many reviews were made by people who had never heard of the franchise before.
It is such a massive problem that Metacritic is reviewing their Moderation Practices. Let me repeat that in case you didn’t catch it. Homophobic hate has caused an entire review site to overhaul its policies.
Over what? Aloy finally having a human moment in this franchise? One moment that’s not filled with war, fighting, and hate–she’s dealt with more than enough hate in her lifetime. After all, she was cast out of her tribe when she was a baby. Almost no one would talk to her except for her adopted father.
Some made the argument that the ending ruined the character of Aloy. Why? Because she’s had male suitors? Because you didn’t see this coming?
I saw it coming in the last game. Several moments in Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West set up that kiss. They wove it into Aloy’s story.
I dug over the games. I saw it coming. Why? I would like to use examples from the games to share how this makes sense.
How it doesn’t change who Aloy is.
How it’s a fitting and touching moment where we see vulnerability in a character that’s not great at showing that side of herself.
There were two obvious clues. So, I present my findings to those of you who voted this DLC with 1 star over something you know nothing about, and to those who think this broke Aloy as a character, I present my findings.
- Horizon Forbidden West revealed that Elisabet Sobek was in a relationship with a woman.
Tilda van der Meer shares that she and Elisabet Sobek were lovers.
Aloy is a clone of Elisabet Sobek. She wasn’t born. Gaia made her in response to the threat that looming over the entire franchise.
Aloy is quite literally Sobek. If Sobek was gay or bisexual, it’s not much of a stretch that Aloy is as well.
- Aloy’s reaction to suitors was lukewarm at best and always uncomfortable.
Throughout this series, they’ve presented three suitors: Varl, Erend, and the Sun King. While Varl moved on, the other two are still pining for Aloy. She never returns the sentiment.
All of the reactions show her as clearly uncomfortable.
Any time a man shows interest, Aloy doesn’t know what to do. With Seyka, it was more natural and she actually flirted back throughout the DLC. While this wasn’t a side of Aloy we’d seen before, it was something that didn’t change who Aloy was. It was nice to see her receive affection and give some of her own in a different way than she had before.
That awkwardness that Aloy has with people isn’t there.
Who is Seyka?
Like Aloy, she cares for those close to her. She’s also a fan of adventure. She knows she can’t ask Aloy. Seyka is the best fit for Aloy.
If anything, that ending built upon and grew the idea of Aloy finding happiness. It gave Aloy another layer and made her that much more relatable.
Video games are art. Art expresses so much, including how we see the world. It helps us explore humanity. There are reasons why people turn to them to escape, to get away from the world around them, to explore themselves and the world. In video games, they hear and tell stories, explore worlds, and examine what it means to be human.
And Guerrilla explores what humanity means in this strange world with Horizon Burning Shores. Amid an adventure, they explore a bit more of Aloy’s humanity.
Yes, we get Aloy, the hero. But finally, we’re starting to get Aloy, the person. That was one of the greatest gifts we got from the DLC. We’ve had two games and one DLC of her solely being Aloy, the hero.
Think of what this moment meant for Aloy, who’s longed for connection since she was a baby. Yes. Finally, Aloy found someone she’s willing to share that with.
Horizon Burning Shores explores a girl who was hated for most of her life, then practically worshiped by the same people. Other parts of the world see her as a savior, a hero. That’s a lot of pressure on one so young.
Then, she finally meets someone who’s like, “You’re new, what’s up?” and we see it go from there. For once, she’s not the Savior of Meridian, the Champion of the Tenakth, the Anointed One, The Living Ancestor. Here in this DLC, for the first time, she gets a chance to explore who she is. These people don’t know her. They don’t know her past. She’s just Aloy.
I use the Horizon franchise (and other video games) to escape this world that seems overwhelmingly full of hate. Having that hate come into my fandom over an optional cutscene–over a kiss–bothers me. It’s a fitting end to the story; as I’ve stated above, and it fits in with the story that preceded it.
Aloy found someone that understands her. She found someone who makes her happy. Isn’t that what we want in a story?